The British driver that made Alonso's Indy 500 deal possible

Fernando Alonso's Indy 500 deal has shocked motorsport... but it took a selfless gesture from another driver to make it happen.
The British driver that made Alonso's Indy 500 deal possible

Stefan Wilson has received praised after being identified as the critical factor in ensuring Fernando Alonso could make his Indianapolis 500 debut this year after volunteering to give up his confirmed seat for the two-time F1 champion.

McLaren and Honda stunned the motorsport industry today by announcing Alonso will compete in the 101st running of the iconic Indy 500 with the Honda-backed Andretti Autosport team, the team even going as far as allowing him to miss the Monaco Grand Prix to make the deal happen.

However, it has since emerged that it comes at the expense of Wilson's spot on the grid, just days after the 27 year-old inked a deal in an Andretti Autosport-supported car to compete.

Speaking to American publication Racer, Mark Miles - President of Indianapolis Motor Speedway IndyCar owners Hulman & Company - revealed McLaren CEO Zak Brown approached him about the prospect of finding a spot for Alonso, with the ball rolling quickly.

However, after discovering there were no Honda-powered cars immediately available, Wilson was personally approached.

"I got a call from Zak and he wondered if we could put a Honda deal together so Fernando could run in this year's Indy 500. I said we would move heaven and earth to make that happen

"I contacted four Honda teams and he contacted one, but we couldn't find an engine. And then we got lucky.

"As much as he wanted to run the Speedway this year, he was looking out for the greater good of IndyCar. Quite a gesture.

"The heroes of this story are Alonso, Zak, Michael and Stefan. And I think it's going to be a pretty cool story, and another great month of May."

Wilson made his Indy 500 debut last year, less than a year after the tragic death of his brother Justin Wilson, who died competing in the IndyCar Series at the Pocono Speedway. It is understood, Wilson will receive assurances to compete in 2018 as a result of his actions.

In the meantime, Wilson took to Twitter to show few hard feelings... and he is likely to have made himself a very popular man in the Honda camp right now.

Alonso will race in McLaren-Honda branding, marking McLaren's first Indy 500 appearance since 1979.

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