Fernando Alonso not anxious about criticism in F1 paddock

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner described his McLaren counterpart Zak Brown as "barking mad" on Friday for agreeing to allow Fernando Alonso to miss the Monaco Grand Prix and race in the Indianapolis 500.

McLaren announced earlier in the week that the Spaniard, a double world champion, would miss the May 28 Monaco Grand Prix to compete at The Brickyard in the biggest event in USA open-wheel racing. Alonso, the two-time world champion, will race in the Indianapolis 500 on the same date instead of Monaco.

"And Zak has this problem. But I don't like to see him at the back of the grid anyway".

While it is now unclear if Alonso will face a grid penalty, the Spaniard is anticipating a hard race as the power unit will not have been tuned in at all. Turn 1 is a proper turn, it's not easy flat the whole way round.

"Would we let our drivers do it - no", he insisted.

Brown, an American former racer and marketing expert who was appointed McLaren's executive director previous year, defended himself as he sat next to Horner in a post-practice news conference.

McLaren has shown dismal performances in the last two races of the 2017 Formula One season. "I believe if a driver commits to a team.it's a bit like disappearing with another girlfriend half way through the year and then coming back, it doesn't seem the right thing to be doing".

"We said this reaction (in F1) would be normal because this weekend the media coverage is high because of Indy, the sponsors want to go, the TV wants to go, journalists want to go - so I think it's normal". "He's going to get some testing in, he is studying Indianapolis". He's very smart and that's what you need to be around Indianapolis. "I like Jenson, I still think he is one of the best drivers. his caliber is still higher than any other driver who could take that spot, for sure".

  • Julie Sanders