During Fernando Alonso’s one-month stint as an IndyCar driver for the Indianapolis 500, the Spaniard had a much more cheerful demeanor than he does in the Formula One paddock. Many assumed it was because he was back in a competitive car again, but apparently it had to do with a lot more than what he was driving.
Following Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, Felipe Massa revealed in his column for Motorsport.com that Alonso told him that drivers in the American single-seater series have a greater sense of camaraderie than in F1. Massa brought up Alonso’s comments while discussing what he considers a lack of respect among the sport’s young drivers.
“I spoke with Fernando Alonso on race morning during the drivers’ parade, and he told me that in IndyCar he found a greater group spirit among drivers,” Massa wrote.
The Brazilian noted when he gets lapped by the leaders — as he did in the closing stages in Austria — he tries to let them by without compromising their races, something he said less experienced drivers don’t always do. In IndyCar, by contrast, racing in traffic without crashing is a necessary part of the game.
“Some of the motivation for that may come because of the greater danger the drivers in that championship encounter when they go out on track,” Massa said, via Motorsport.com, “but I think, in the end, it is a question of respect — and I see that the new generation of drivers in F1 have a little less of it.”
Massa did admit that not every young F1 pilot has this problem, likely referring to his former teammate Valtteri Bottas and/or Daniel Ricciardo. Given that Alonso is running out of options in F1, if the dynamic in IndyCar is as markedly different as he reportedly claims it is, moving to the United States to race might start to look pretty appealing.
Thumbnail photo via Honda Racing