F1 driver Fernando Alonso preparing for Indy 500

That's what makes the news that McLaren and Andretti Autosport have teamed up to campaign a Honda-powered entry in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil for two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso so stunning.

"We've seen a few comments by him trying to have some self-gratification about his performance. They always have been", Hamilton told the BBC.

Free practice at the famed Brickyard takes place on the Monday after the Formula One race at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"There is not a defined plan yet", he admitted, "it's still on-going, so I can not answer 100 per cent sure what will be there".

The McLaren driver will race at Indy instead of competing in the Monaco Grand Prix, and it was the fact he will miss a race that came as the biggest surprise to other drivers on the F1 grid.

British racing legend Graham Hill is the only driver to so far achieve the feat, back in the 1960s.

"On the planes I will try and look at some videos and races from the last years".

Monaco is the slowest race on the calendar but also the most glamorous and one that packs in the sponsors. I would have never done it if I had to miss a race for it, especially Monaco.

Alonso will be the first Formula One world champion to drive as an Indy 500 rookie since Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet both in 1993. He then discovered Alonso was serious.

Speaking about the decision of selecting Alonso's replacement, McLaren executive director Zak Brown refused to mention names but said conversations are being held.

And the team themselves, who could be forced to replace Alonso permanently at the end of the season when his contract expires, appear delighted to have such an experienced pair of hands to call upon.

On top of that, he is bringing his two big auto sponsors in McLaren and Honda with him (in a way, at least). "That's quite a compelling combination". "Probably on Monday after the race I will do the seat fitting, and then I will fly to Russian Federation [for the grand prix]".

"I realize we won't have a realistic chance of repeating my 2009 victory, but I think we'll have a opportunity to score world championship points", said Button, who will race alongside teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.

"As a driver, if you want to be considered the best, you need to be able to drive all kind of cars in all different series", said the 35-year-old Alonso, who has twice won in Monaco and hasn't competed at Le Mans. McLaren hasn't made it official yet, but Button would make sense. But at the very least, we'll get to see Alonso chase the next step in that Triple Crown dream.

Alonso said the plan was hatched with Brown in Australia, with the American initially making the suggestion in jest.

  • Salvatore Jensen