Defending IndyCar champion Scott Dixon hopes Fernando Alonso’s success in different categories will open up more opportunities for drivers to cross series in future.
Alonso attempted the Indy 500 while still a Formula 1 driver in 2017 and last year combined his McLaren drive with a full World Endurance Championship program, winning at Le Mans. After being part of the winning Wayne Taylor Racing entry at the Rolex 24 with Kamui Kobayashi, Renger Van Der Zande and Jordan Taylor (left to right, above), Alonso will again compete in this year’s Indy 500 and Dixon says the combination of added interest and good results could convince other team bosses to allow more crossovers in future.
“I think it’s cool — I think it’s huge for the sport,” Dixon told RACER. “Obviously as a driver you just want to be on an even footing and race against the best. From day to day that can change; it’s constantly a moving target.
“It’s very beneficial to IndyCar racing. We all know what a huge talent Fernando is and what he’s achieved and I think going back to the crossovers that he’s been doing and chasing some of these marquee events is cool to see, because in our current sport that’s just typically not allowed.
“Contractually it’s very tough. I know in my situation alone with Chip (Ganassi) it gets tough. But that opens a lot more eyes and maybe allows it to somewhat be OK. It’s great to get to race Fernando, him stepping out of his comfort zone is really cool to see too and what he’s achieved so far has been really cool.”
Dixon’s name was referenced by Zak Brown during 2018 when talking about drivers that could do the opposite to Alonso and switch from IndyCar to F1 successfully, but he believes the way young drivers are prepared for seats in bigger teams closes off some options for those in other categories.
“Obviously it’s nice to hear. It is tricky, I feel like motor racing — not just Formula 1 — in general through most of the top series is very political. It’s kind of hard, and then also you have the manufacturer fight too. It’s probably half of F1’s problem now, that they have these lines of talent coming through that really block out any crossover or even drivers going to different teams or manufacturers.
“So it’s always been difficult but I would say right now it’s probably more difficult, (but) with what Fernando’s been doing with crossover from series to series has definitely helped and kind of probably opened some eyes to where things can go. So that’s a positive.
“For me, I’m very thankful. I love doing what I do, I’m grateful and really enjoy what I’m doing. So for me there’s been no disappointment from the decisions we’ve made.”