As The Office’s Michael Scott once said: How the turn tables…
Just a few days ago, Fernando Alonso had the best seat on the Indy 500 grid with Andretti Autosport, now he’s scrambling for another drive — all thanks to his old “friends” at Honda.
In vetoing his race seat, the Japanese company has pulled-off the sort of long-simmering revenge plot you’d expect from a Game of Thrones character, finally getting the Spaniard back for the four years of derision it had to suffer at his hands in its rocky marriage with McLaren, even if most of his criticism was warranted.
Indeed, Alonso wasn’t saying anything you or I wasn’t thinking at the time, but he made the mistake of thinking he could publicly bash them at every opportunity and get away with it, just because he is one of the biggest names in all of motorsport.
The thing is, for as much as Honda is a machine-like behemoth whose first priority is money, it is still at the end of the day people behind all their billions, and people can hold grudges.
From their perspective, Alonso was going above-and-beyond to drag their name through the mud, so naturally, they saw no need to do Alonso such a massive favour — with the added bonus that this gives him a heaping helping of the humiliation they would’ve felt previously.
Compounding the issue for Alonso, all the other good seats are already occupied, meaning his only choice now is a bunch of lower-rung Chevy-powered teams. The sort of teams that make you wonder if he would be better-off skipping the race entirely than risk even further embarrassment.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that this gives him an opening in which to pursue other opportunities. For instance, who wouldn’t like to see him try a WRC car? Just saying — the Rally de Portugal happens to occupy the same weekend…
That said, I think this is just further proof of why his F1 career is over, at least if he wants to come back to a title-contending team. I’m just speculating, but if Andretti had really wanted him, they probably could’ve fought harder, but that’s the thing: even if he was the best driver available, there are always other drivers good enough, ones that come with half the baggage. He may be an all-time great, but at 38, he simply isn’t worth the headache.