A former F1 chief Norbert Haug has questioned McLaren’s decision to tackle the Indy 500 with Fernando Alonso next month.
For many years, Haug was the head of Mercedes’ F1 programme, including in 2007 when Alonso raced for the works team McLaren.
So as McLaren and Alonso now head to Indianapolis amid the deep Honda crisis, he said: “My experience is that homemade problems are not remedied by the construction of a new one.
“Without experience, to make your Indycar debut on the high speed oval I think is a suboptimal idea,” said Haug.
“Ok, a rookie won there last year and perhaps Alonso will too — but will he then return to formula one more motivated than before, to run at the back again?
“For Indy, Alonso’s start is a coup, but at 35 with no oval experience and 385kph, I think it’s not the best and safest winning combination. I keep my fingers crossed,” he added.
McLaren team figures have suggested Alonso needed the Indy 500 challenge to keep his competitive fire alive, but others think the Spaniard could still quit F1 at the end of the year.
“I don’t think so,” Haug said.
“Alonso is a racer through and through, but he was often at the wrong team at the wrong time, as he is now with McLaren-Honda while his former team Ferrari wins.
“He has made mistakes,” he concluded.