The hot and thrilling Bahrain weekend Grand Prix, Things are beginning to become even more interesting, with the pole position of Valtteri Bottas and the increasing fight for the title between Mercedes and Ferrari, the attention focused towards Mclaren Honda’s performance, still poor, but that unexpected announcement from the team that Fernando Alonso will race in the Indy 500! In fact, according to the team announcement, the Woking based team, helped by team Andretti, will be on the Indianapolis circuit grid with Alonso, who obviously will miss the Monaco Grand Prix, held on the same weekend. To the joy of many enthusiastic fans all over the world, he will be replaced for the Monaco race by the comeback kid Jenson Button. For sure this move is an incredible marketing one. Everybody will gain something from that, Indy car will have a double F1 world champion on the grid, which will no doubt attract many of Alonso’s and F1 fans to the world-famous race, the Monaco race will have a refreshing moment seeing Jenson Button on the grid, the 2009 world champion, who is missed by all the paddock,. Both teams but mostly Mclaren will have a very big audience focused on them. So, yes, it’s all so promising. But there are some questions that come to my mind and maybe to yours too? We start with Fernando: will he test the Indycar before the race weekend? If yes, when and where? It’s clear that Indy car is very different from an F1 car and the kind of race too. Not forgetting all the different rules the Indy car series has. Can Fernando learn so many things in only one month? It will be very interesting to follow how Alonso will arrive at the Indy 500, I am curious. What about Jenson Button? You may think he will have an easier job to do. No way!! F1 has changed a lot since he left. A very different car will await him in Monaco. So I may have the same questions for him. Will he test the car before the Grand Prix? if yes, where and when? Anyway, for Jenson it will be a sort of homecoming. (He lives in Monaco!) He won’t have difficulties learning the circuit or the rules. But I really hope he will find a better car. Unfortunately, Mclaren Honda is still struggling with their chronic problems. Alonso will start from 15th place on the grid, an engine change due to a failure didn’t allow to the Spaniard to take part to the Q2. So, Alonso will compare the in best and the worst of a great motorsport brand: Honda. It will be interesting and maybe it will remind many people how strong Honda is in racing, as they showed for many years in the US series. Fernando will race in the elite, in the delta Honda racing. This makes me very happy: giving Honda the right value it deserves. With F1 the world is receiving the wrong message of what Honda is. Anyway, it seems all the world is waiting for the Mclaren Honda renaissance. Maybe the Indy 500 and Monaco Grand Prix could be a turning point for Mclaren Honda, for Alonso and for Button. Each of them has to demonstrate and gain something, Or more simply, all will remain the same, and the most important races of the year on the two sides of the world will be the only two bright stars in a dark night. We’ll see. For now, we keep all the emotions and vibes waiting for those moments and we wait for the answers we need.
Massimo Trapanese, F1 correspondent