Alonso handed Indy 500 lifeline with Arrow McLaren SP

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Fernando Alonso will return to Indianapolis in 2020 with the Arrow McLaren SP team

Fernando Alonso

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Fernando Alonso will have another chance to complete motor racing’s Triple Crown in 2020 as he returns to the Indy 500 with Arrow McLaren SP.

Despite the ambassadorial partnership between Alonso and McLaren having come to an end, he will rejoin the outfit 12 months on from the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 2019 race.

It will mean that the McLaren team will run three cars, with Alonso joining the team’s young stable of full-time IndyCar drivers, Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew.

Last year, Alonso was expected to have a second chance at winning the Indy 500 after a semi-successful debut in 2017 that ultimately ended in retirement.

His McLaren-run team failed to qualify for the 2019 race though following a number of errors in planning and execution, missing the qualifying cut-off on ‘Bump Day’.

Alonso said that the goal of returning to the famous race was at the forefront of his plans in motor racing after excursions in rally raids with Toyota and a debut in the Dakar Rally earlier this year.

“I am a racer and the Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world. I love the incredible fans who make it so special for all of us drivers and make me want to come back,” Alonso said of the announcement.

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“I have maximum respect for this race and everyone who competes in it and all I want to do is race against them and give my best, as always.”

The Spaniard had been expected to be a part of the Andretti Autosport effort, however, a last minute veto by Honda, engine provider to the Andretti team, nixed the deal and left the Spaniard without a seat.

Despite this, the two-time Formula 1 world champion maintained that he will be competing with his first choice team.

“It was important for me to explore my options for this race but Arrow McLaren SP has always been at the top.

“I have a special relationship with McLaren; we’ve been through a lot together and that creates a bond, a loyalty that is strong.

“But more than that, I am impressed with how the new organisation and operation is developing into a strong package with the Chevrolet partnership. The team has experienced, well-qualified people and great resources, and I’m confident we can be competitive.

“I’m focused and excited to begin our preparations. It will also be great to work with Oliver and Pato, two fantastic young talents for the future who are growing all the time.”