Fernando Alonso, Motorsportâ€™s Disruptive Force
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I was never a fan of Fernando Alonso. This was probably because of my allegiance to Michael Schumacher. However, these days it is difficult to not be a fan of Alonso. In fact, it would be foolish to dislike him. His sheer perseverance to attain glory in Motorsport and not just Formula 1 is heartening to witness.
His recent exploits at the 101st Indianapolis 500 almost overshadowed Formula 1, the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, Ferrariâ€™s much-awaited 1-2 finish and Sebastian Vettelâ€™s snatching of victory from Kimi Raikkonen. Alonso failed to win the race (thanks to Honda, again!), but he certainly won over hearts of the organisers of the Indy 500, the drivers, new fans and of course all those critics in Formula 1.
Taking a leaf from Alonsoâ€™s Indy 500 campaign, I really hope heâ€™s inspired the current and new generation of drivers to explore dual programs such as him (of course, their teams need to agree). Has Alonsoâ€™s quest for the â€˜Triple Crown of Motorsportâ€™ brought this glory back in the eyes of drivers, fans and sponsors alike? It would be a treat to see racers from different series attempt to win this crown in the time to come. On that note, would Formula 1 be willing to accept outsiders with as much as Indy accepted Alonso? Would Alonsoâ€™s move to the Indy be allowed during the Ecclestone era?
Alonsoâ€™s disruption is already visible. The FIA has publicly stated that they will meet with the different series organisers and try work a calendar with as few date clashes as possible. There are 52 weekends in the year, out of which 32-36 weekends are used by most series to organize their races. Now it might be impossible to have no clash whatsoever, but keeping the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans on different dates should be easy.
Takuma Sato, a Formula 1 discard, became the first-ever Japanese driver to win the Indianapolis 500. Max Chilton, another Formula 1 discard, was leading the race till very close to the finish. However, the fact that theyâ€™re discarded drivers from Formula 1 doesnâ€™t imply anything about the current level of talent competing in the Indy 500, Mr. Hamilton. Instead of downplaying the talent, Hamilton could do well by planning to participate himself. The race is contested in America, after all!
The Indy 500 awarded $2.5 million to Sato for his victory – $12,500 for every lap he raced!
Formula 1 and Indianapolis 500 â€“ Exchange Of Ideas?
The Indy 500 might be regarded as the â€˜fastest raceâ€™ on earth, but thereâ€™s much learning that Formula 1 and Indy could gain from the other. Indy could surely package itself better on television. As for Formula 1, here are a few things that we could surely learn:
- Rotating car cameras â€“ they offered a fantastic perspective of the wheel-to-wheel action and the crashes
- Pit timing on the carâ€™s engine cover. This offered the fans on track the timing each driver took in the pits. If this technology does get integrated in Formula 1, Force India will have further trouble making space by adjusting sponsor logos on their already overcrowded car
- No DRS
- Same team, different car colours â€“ each driverâ€™s car had a unique identity!
- Honda engine â€“ this one is for Alonso, but this would be Satoâ€™s engine, of course
In our Firstpost Pole Position video, we discuss if Ferrari meddled with the order of their 1-2 finish in Monaco. Was it a genuine attempt to make Vettel win, or was it a strategy mistake? A Mercedes no-show on the podium, other than Nico Rosberg, who made his debut. Lewis Hamilton shouldâ€™ve joined Rosberg, if only! Haasâ€™ double points finish, Sainzâ€™s strong 6th place, Force Indiaâ€™s no-score and Buttonâ€™s mixed bag of a comeback, followed by wondering why weâ€™ve not seen Max Verstappen shine in the 6 races concluded this season.