It’s a race back in time for Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya…
The 35-year-old Spanish Formula One racer and the 41-year-old Colombian IndyCar Series driver will roll back the years and battle together once again at the Indy 500 on May 28.
Alonso is missing the Monaco Grand Prix to drive at the Brickyard, which will see him race against a number of familiar faces — including Montoya, who also made his Formula One debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.
Despite spells with Williams and McLaren, Montoya never replicated Alonso’s title-winning success in F1 and had to make do with seven grand prix victories.
Montoya came into F1 having won the Indy 500 and CART championship in 2000 and has won the prestigious oval race more recently, in 2015. Alonso holds the Colombian in high regard from their days together in F1.
“I take Juan Pablo as one of the best drivers in the world, one of the most talented drivers I ever competed against,” Alonso said. “So to come here and drive together in the super speedway will be a massive thing for me.
“Hopefully I can learn as much as I can… I’m watching a lot of his onboard cameras because I think he’s one of the best out there. So really looking forward to talk to him and have some dinners with him at Indy because any tips would be welcome for him.”
Montoya says the chance to race Alonso, the 2005 and 2006 world champion, again was something he would not have expected at this stage of the Spaniard’s career.
“If you would have told me I was going to win a race ever against Alonso, it would be an endurance race or something, not in Indy to be honest,” Montoya said. “I think it’s great. I think having Fernando is going to be a really good day for motorsports, not only for IndyCar, but I think the attention overall for seeing Fernando and myself and everybody running Indy is going to be really big.”
Montoya says Alonso will have a steep learning curve if he wants to get to grips with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in time for the race.
“The biggest challenge is going to be first he has never done a race that is that long, and the traffic. He is going to have to learn and understand the traffic. I think if he is patient enough through the week and builds to it, I think he will be fine.
“He is a really good driver. He has really good teammates. People have run at Indy before and run well. There is no reason why he shouldn’t run well.”