Spanish racing driver Fernando Alonso is in the hunt for motorsport's coveted Triple Crown, and that means he'll return to the Indianapolis 500 in 2019. The race is scheduled for May 26.
McLaren and Alonso made the announcement on Saturday.
The Triple Crown consists of a win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Monaco Grand Prix, and Indy 500. Alonso has two of the three with two Monaco Grand Prix wins under his belt, and a victory with Toyota at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans. The latter finally realized Toyota's dreams of a Le Mans victory after many years of heartbreak. Alonso entered the 2017 Indy 500 but despite leading at some points had to retire from the race after engine troubles.
Alonso plans to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2018 season. He's spent 17 years in F1 and has a decorated resume as his tenure comes to a close. He's secured 32 wins, 22 pole positions and 97 podiums to date.
The Spaniard will drive for McLaren at next year's Indy 500 under the McLaren Racing banner. The manufacturer is also a three-time Indy winner with victories in 1972, 1974, and 1976. McLaren will not, however, field a full IndyCar season, team principal Zak Brown said. Alonso said he and the team realize it's a tough race with a field of incredible drivers, but he's determined to win.
"I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there," he said after he recalled his disappointment in 2017.
With a shift in focus to IndyCar, Alonso could become only the second racer to ever secure a coveted Triple Crown. The late Graham Hill, a two-time F1 champion, secured the first Triple Crown with a victory at Le Mans in 1972.