On Sunday Fernando Alonso went for glory in untested waters of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indianapolis 500, often shortened to Indy 500, is quiet different from Formula 1, where he has plied his trade for over a decade. Alonso’s Indy 500 debut was an impressive one but ended in no fairy tale win. Instead, the happy ending was as realistic as it gets in the world of racing as his Honda engine gave away in the middle of the race and he had to retire. Alonso did say that while he couldn’t finish the race, he was
What is Indy 500?
The Indianapolis 500 is an annual race that is held in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway situated in North East USA. It is billed as the ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ and is often considered one of the most prestigious title to win in the world of motorsport. The inaugural race was in the year 1911. The Indy 500 was initially a part of the FIA World Championship, which is now synonymous with the Formula 1 championship. The Indy 500 is one of the three races that comprise the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which also includes the Monaco GP and 24 hours of Le Mans.
How is it different from Formula 1?
At first glance, the cars driven by an Indy 500 and F1 racer would look similar, if not identical. But a closer look would reveal that the two are totally different animals. Apart from the other differences, an F1 car is faster and heavier than an Indy car and have vastly different engines that run on different fuels. While F1 race tracks can have varying number of turns, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an oval racing circuit. Most importantly, Indy 500 is held once a year, unlike the Formula 1 in which each Grand Prix is part of a larger World Championship that runs all year long.
What was Alonso fighting for?
Had he won on Sunday, Alonso would have won the second leg of the Triple Crown. Thus far, only former British great Graham Hill has won all three races. The only active driver to have won two is Juan Pablo Montoya. Alonso has already won the Monaco GP. This was hence his chance at taking a shot at something not many in the motor sport attempt.