The Teasing Of The Masses

Surprisingly, a lot of people had their bubble burst last week when Fernando Alonso announced he would not be racing the entire IndyCar season in 2019. I hate to say “I told you so” (OK…I don’t really hate it), but if you go back and read a post I wrote in August – I never thought he was going to do anything other than a few select races along with another shot at the Indianapolis 500.

So many people were so convinced that Alonso and McLaren were going to come along and breathe new life into the IndyCar series, that they were connecting all of these imaginary dots. While I never thought Alonso was going to run the full slate next season, I did think that McLaren was going to have some type of full-time presence next season. But Zak Brown confirmed late last week that McLaren was simply not ready to attack IndyCar for 2019. It was only about a day or so later that Alonso casually mentioned that he was never really considering running the entire season for next year.

I had a good friend in college, who had fallen for a girl who was drop-dead gorgeous. She was first a majorette, and then a cheerleader at Tennessee. She came from a wealthy family and could date whomever she wanted, whenever she wanted – and usually did. She was absolutely stunning, and I can see why he fell for her.

My friend was a good guy with probably above average looks, but there was nothing special about him that really made him stand out as “a catch”. He was constantly asking her out, and she would say yes about 20% of the time. The other 80%, she was either dating the captain of the football team or someone with Ken-doll looks whose Daddy owned half of Knoxville.

When she would go out with my friend, he would be ecstatic and convince himself that this was finally the time that he was going to win out over all the other guys that were always waiting at her doorstep. Over the course of a couple of years, he was certain that they would eventually marry and live happily ever after.

You already know how this played out. She toyed with him over that time as if it was her hobby. Every time that he was at a new low, she would resurface and suggest they get back together – only to find a new way to dump him again and send him to an even lower new low. In all other aspects of his life, this guy had it all together – but when it came to this one girl, his judgment was always impaired.

After getting kicked around by her for over half of his college career, he finally summoned up the courage to ignore her when she was in one of her flirtatious moods. Over time, he met someone that was a much better fit for him and married her. We live in different states now and are not as close as we used to be, but according to his Facebook posts – they are still happily married and now have kids of their own that are married.

What about the girl you ask? Well, the vengeful side of me would like to say that karma made things right and she ended up with what she deserved after playing him for a fool. However, I did a little Facebook stalking and checked her out. At age 60, she looks like she’s 35 and could still pass for a model. She appears to have married a good-looking guy with a good job and a bank account that can suit her. She and her husband appear to live in a mansion, have a mountain home and a beach house that recently survived unscathed through Hurricane Michael. It appears that some people are destined to live a charmed life, no matter what they do – but then, I digress.

So am I seriously comparing Fernando Alonso to the gorgeous majorette/cheerleader that liked to play with people’s emotions, whenever she was bored? Well, partially.

I don’t think Alonso has been leading on IndyCar just so he can build his self-esteem and feel good about himself. He has accomplished more in the last twelve years than most of us will accomplish in ten lifetimes. Some consider him one of the greatest in a small handful of drivers in history. He has two World Championships to his credit and has a bank account that could rival a small country. If he doesn’t feel good about himself already, he has some undisclosed issues. However, I do think that he finds humor in the way that IndyCar fans, beat writers and bloggers have been tripping over themselves in coming up with all types of different scenarios.

How much ink (bandwidth) has been devoted to what Fernando Alonso will do for 2019? The Honda/McLaren feud has been dissected so many times that I feel like I’m more familiar with that divorce than the one I went through twenty-two years ago. Talk about lack of karma; but I digress again.

Alonso has been placed at Andretti Autosport by many. But if McLaren was part of the deal, Andretti would have to switch to Chevy. Then, Andretti was going to have a direct partnership with Harding Racing. Harding would keep their Chevy engines so that McLaren could join Andretti through Harding. McLaren was also reportedly looking around at other teams. It was all mind-boggling, but it was certainly good fodder for an offseason that wasn’t going to see a whole lot of movement of drivers between teams.

But now the cat is out of the bag. Not to pat myself on the back too much, but it is going to play out pretty much like I predicted. But I predicted that Alonso would run the Indianapolis 500 along with a few select races, perhaps Long Beach, Road America and some other classic tracks.

Although Alonso and McLaren have ruled out the possibility of fulltime runs in IndyCar for 2019, both have mentioned the Indianapolis 500 for next year. But nowhere did I read where other IndyCar races were being considered. Neither party said anything about not running selected races, but no one mentioned running them either.

If I had to guess what Fernando Alonso and/or McLaren do next year as it relates to IndyCar; based on what I heard last week – I would guess that the Indianapolis 500 is the only IndyCar race either party runs. However, if you listened to Trackside last night – you heard Kevin Lee say that he doesn’t even think that Alonso will be in the 2019 "500". Personally, I disagree. I think Alonso will be at Indianapolis next May. Alonso is very interested in the World Endurance Championship, and McLaren has woes of its own with their Formula one team. As much as we would like to think that IndyCar should take precedent over any other form of racing, not everyone sees it that way.

I don’t have any ill will toward Alonso for not running the full IndyCar season next year. At this point in his career, he has earned the right to pick and choose whatever form of racing he wants to try. But I do think he could have been a little more forthcoming with his intentions. He knew long ago that he was not going to run the full IndyCar season. He also knew full well that the American fans and media were having a field day trying to come up with the most likely scenario as to where he would be running this full season they were so certain of.

Instead, he acted coy when asked his intentions and talked in riddles as he teased IndyCar fans on social media. His actions weren’t near as mean-spirited as my college friend’s so-called dream girl, who kept teasing him and tempting him to come back just to see how much he would take. But he got a lot of fans worked up over something he knew wasn’t going to happen – not this year, at least. That is what I call a teasing of the masses, and it is not an admirable thing.

George Phillips

14 Responses to “The Teasing Of The Masses”

  1. BrandonWright77 Says:

    I got the impression that if McLaren had been able to put a team together for this season he would have taken part in a few races and the 500 but I didn’t ever really think a full season was in the cards for 2019. I don’t really believe him that he was never interested in it, he probably was open to some races but once Macca backed out he didn’t want to look like he was bothered by it. I like to think he will eventually do a full season or two but I think he’ll wait until he checks a few other things off his list before doing it.

  2. I never thought oil could make me wanna check out a woman 16 yrs older than me. You’re a talented man George Phillips! Haha. Great post!

  3. So a guy who makes $30+ million a year wants to come to Indycar as a buy-a-ride or maybe make a couple of hundred thou a year? I think not.

    He’s only coming as a possible feather-in-the cap career opportunity at Indy or he’s not coming at all.

    I think about Rosberg after his early retirement …… you couldn’t shoot the smile off his face. He has nothing to prove to anyone.

  4. So a guy who makes $30+ million a year wants to come to Indycar as a buy-a-ride or maybe make a couple of hundred thou a year? I think not.

    He’s only coming as a possible feather-in-the cap career opportunity at Indy or he’s not coming at all.

    I think about Rosberg after his early retirement …… you couldn’t shoot the smile off his face. He has nothing to prove to anyone.

  5. billytheskink Says:

    I don’t think the dots were imaginary, but they sure never did get connected. Some of that was Alonso sitting on the fence, but I think much of the reason for his indecision was that he was waiting to see what McLaren and/or current IndyCar teams that may well have been interested in employing him were going to be able to do/offer. I never thought Alonso was toying with fans and media, he wasn’t seeking questions about his future in IndyCar or otherwise.

    Like so many things in racing, folks don’t confirm or deny until they can do so with 100% certainty. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened here.

  6. James T Suel Says:

    I don’t think he was stringing anyone along, The press has a love affair with this whole thing. I do believe he do the 500.

    • I agree with you and Billy. I never expected Fernando to sign up for the whole year unless it was an excellent offer. I do think he will race the 500 in 2019 and I hope he does well again.

  7. A nanosecond is the amount of time between when you tell a woman what you are going to do and when she says no. If Alonso is married or has a girlfriend, this could apply.

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