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Mark Webber: Alonso asked me to join him at Indy 500

Webber claims that Alonso asked him last November to come and join him at the Indianapolis 500, but the Australian was happy hanging up his helmet.
Mark Webber has revealed that Fernando Alonso asked him to come and race at the Indianapolis 500, but the ex-Red Bull Formula 1 driver had no interest in entering an oval event.

Alonso shocked the motorsport world by announcing his entry to the 2017 Indy 500 last month, opting to skip the Monaco Grand Prix as part of his bid for the Triple Crown of Motorsport that also features Le Mans.

Webber is one of the few drivers in recent years to attempt two legs of the Triple Crown, having won at Monaco twice in F1. The Australian failed to win at Le Mans despite running close with Porsche in recent years before announcing his retirement from racing at the end of last year.

"I would have liked to of course won Le Mans, I went very close. Led every year I was there, pretty fast as well in certain years and it didn't line up for us. But I wasn't interested in Indy," Webber said when asked by crash.net if he'd considered chasing the Triple Crown.

"I wasn't overly interested to go there. I have absolute respect, my heroes like Rick Mears and Mario and Al Unser, these guys, Roger Penske, Dario's a good friend of mine, Scott Dixon, Will Power. I have maximum respect for those guys but it's something I didn't want, I never really wanted to go and see.

"I think I would do well in oval racing. Rocky, who was Sebastian Vettel's engineer at Red Bull, he said 'you would go really well on ovals'. He did a lot of work with Sebastien Bourdais at Newman/Haas, and he said 'look Mark, you would be perfect for ovals'. I said 'thanks, but I'm probably not going to try'."

Webber admitted that had he won Le Mans, he would have faced more pressure to enter the '500 as he would have completed two legs of the Triple Crown, but revealed that Alonso raised the idea over the Bahrain Grand PRix weekend.

"That's a close shave because if I did get to the next step, I had pressure," Webber said. "Maybe it's good I stayed on the second step. Then I would have a bit more pressure.

"Fernando still asked me to maybe try to do Indy, in Bahrain, yeah."

Speaking about Alonso's decision to enter the '500, Webber was full of praise for the Spaniard, respecting his call.

"Really hats off to him to give it a go, born out of the frustration of his current situation clearly in Formula 1," Webber said. "He would not be doing it if he was winning races in F1, we know that. Never a driver has had so much press with no results in F1 this year.

"This year it's been a disaster campaign for him. I just wish him all the best and hope he has a good run over there, and let's see."

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