(CNN) - It's been a busy few weeks for Fernando Alonso
- Author: Julie Sanders May 29, 2017,
May 29, 2017, 21:53
It wasn't until 2008 victor Scott Dixon turned in the best qualifying effort in 21 years to win the pole that the spotlight briefly shifted to someone else.
Fernando Alonso's Indy 500 adventure could herald McLaren's return to IndyCar racing and kick start talk about bringing Formula One back to the Brickyard, McLaren executive director Zak Brown said on Wednesday.
The multiple-title winning team hasn't scored a podium since its switched to Honda power in 2015 and is now without points so far in 2017, but has maintained a high profile in recent weeks as a result of the team's decision to make a one-off Indy 500 bid with Alonso at the wheel. The last time a pole-sitter won the race was 2009, when Brazilian Helio Castroneves did it, and he is also the last back-to-back victor (2001 and 2002).
Alonso has said from the beginning of this adventure that he's here to win, not just to race, and he has put extra time into running simulators and watching videos of past races as preparation. Rossi shocked nearly everybody and won last year's 100th running of the race.
Alonso, the twice Formula One world champion who is skipping the Monaco Grand Prix to chase Indy 500 glory, has provided a captivating storyline that has dominated the build-up to Monday's (NZ time) race.
In between Dixon and Rossi on the betting board at online gambling sites are seven drivers, including four former champs. Two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso is the other "rookie" in this year's 500 field.
Indeed, the run-up to the 101st running of the Indy 500 has seen a full-fledged case of Alomania and has come at the expense of many other aspects surrounding Sundays race.
"I'd like to do (the) Le Mans (24 Hours endurance race) one day", Button said.
The much-anticipated Indy race falls on Memorial Day weekend - a special day in the calendar here where people honour and remember veterans. "I've driven this auto for about 65 laps now so there's more to come". I would say it wasn't the right direction, but we're smarter from it now.
"I'm making history", said the longtime Penske driver. "You can win it with speed and talent like (Juan Pablo) Montoya did in 2015 or you can have a little bit of luck - like (Alexander) Rossi did a year ago when it goes well with the fuel". But I am up for anything, and I still feel like I can deliver here.
"You don't expect that to happen, especially here". I have to find that extra bit of confidence but it is hard because you think you'll lock up under braking that late. He will start outside the front row in the 33-car grid after qualifying at 231.487 miles per hour.
"Probably that formula that we have in Formula 1 would never work here because it's too complex to understand all the technology that is around the cars, but probably the fans out here, they don't care about what we have inside the engine cover".
I know this is a race that everyone has a chance to win; this is an unpredictable race, he said. I think 100 per cent. "We have new owners of Formula One, (U.S. -based) Liberty Media, and I think they have some good plans to build interest here".
Formula One's new American owners Liberty Media have promised more interaction with fans at circuits and through social media.