Fernando Alonso and Andretti Autosport were set to announce their Indy 500 partnership near the end of last week. That announcement never came.
And it will never come.
In the 11th hour, the home office of Honda in Japan killed the deal. Honda Performance Development here in the states reached out to the home office for final clearance to announce the deal only to be denied. Collectively killing his deal with Andretti and putting his 2020 Indy 500 campaign in jeopardy.
Time To Find A Chevy
If the two-time World Champion is going to run at Indianapolis in May it will have to be in a Chevy. Unfortunately for Fred, there aren’t many competitive Chevy seats available. In a weird twist of fate his former employer McLaren, who he just separated from, might be his best and only competitive shot for 2020.
Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports traditionally runs three cars at the speedway. McLaren CEO Zak Brown said the team is open to running three cars again this season as the newly renamed Arrow McLaren SP team takes to the track. That third seat is Alonso’s best shot even after McLaren’s embarrassing debacle in 2019 at the Indy 500.
Ed Carpenter Racing and Penske are the two other competitive Chevy teams Alonso’s name has been thrown towards. The biggest issue with that is both teams have already filled all their seats.
Grudge Game Respects Grudge Game
Honda’s apparent hatred for Alonso stems from the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix where the Spaniard called referred to the F1 engine as a GP2 engine. Honda took that as the ultimate slap in the face. Their driver calling their engine subpar at their home Grand Prix.
So Honda sat on that. Alonso ran the 2017 Indy 500 for Andretti with a Honda engine which blew up as he was pressing to make his move. When Alonso came back to the speedway in 2019 he did it with McLaren and Chevy.
It appeared as if the burned bridges between Alonso and Honda had been extinguished. Crossbeams appeared to get replaced, a new road was laid and the ribbon was set to be cut. Then at the last second Honda went all IRA on the deal and blew up the bridge.
A five-year grudge and Honda got their revenge. You almost have to respect it.
If Alonso can’t put together a deal with McLaren there’s a strong chance we don’t see him in Indianapolis when May rolls around.
Alonso is coming to win. Running mid-pack with Juncos, DRR, or Foyt isn’t appealing.