As the Formula One 2017 season gears up for the seventh race of the calendar year in Canada next week, the racing fraternity welcomes back Fernando Alonso as he makes his return after an underwhelming Indy 500 experience.
Abysmal showings in recent campaigns in F1 have forced Alonso to consider his options, and he took a chance by taking the seat at the McLaren branded car for the Andretti Autosport team in his Indianapolis 500 debut last week.
Leading the race for a total of 27 laps at the America-based circuit, the Spanish ace was looking set for an impressive finish when an engine failure compelled him to retire on lap 179 of 200.
However, he cherishes the new experience of his career and heads back to Formula One, which he still considers to be his 'day job'.
Alonso insists F1 remains his primary focus and he is even aiming for his third world title in the sport, having won back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006 with Renault.
Speaking to Daily Mail, the former champion said: "My first priority is Formula One and to win my third world championship.
"My second priority was to enjoy the experience of Indy 500, and I managed to do that."
The only issue of McLaren not being able to rival its peers is due to the lack of competitiveness in the cars while the drivers are helpless if the cars do not perform at the paramount level, according to Alonso.
"I’m happy but for one thing. The only thing missing is being competitive. It is all you can ask for as a driver and it is frustrating when you do not have that."
His contract with the UK-based outfit lasts 'till the end of this year and no further talks of an extension have taken place.
At 35, time is limited for Alonso to realise his dream of winning the highest honour as speculations of a possible switch to Red Bull, Mercedes, or Ferrari beyond this term begin to take momentum.
Experts believe Montreal's Gilles Villeneuve Circuit will offer fast straights and low-speed corners which would still hinder McLaren and they would continue to struggle for pace and reliability.
Being compared to a legend like Michael Schumacher early in his career, Alonso has fallen off the pace in the last few seasons and has not won a single race since 2013, raising questions of his team selections over the years.
Despite the criticism, the double world champion is hopeful of the future.
"I read that people are sad. They want to see me at the front more, winning more. But when I went to Indy it was a totally different environment and the people still respected me a lot. They expected something to happen on the track.
"I made each move from one team to another because I felt it was right in my heart. And if you go back 17 or 18 years, I was travelling in my dad’s van to go-kart races in Italy. I could have been working in a supermarket at home in Oviedo. And now I come to America and the people follow me everywhere.
"I don’t agree with, 'What a shame. Alonso should have done this or that'. I have won 97 podiums and two titles. I think I’m doing OK."
Seeing his Indy 500 car taking its place in his museum in Spain, Alonso made a short trip to his home in Switzerland before leaving for the Canadian Grand Prix, expecting a commendable display having not finished a race in the top ten this year.
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