TRIPLE CROWN MONTH?
INDY 500, LE MANS 24HRS AND THE MONACO GP IN THE SPACE OF FOUR WEEKS...
I have an idea (dangerous I know).
The Indy 500, Le Mans 24 hours and Monaco Grand Prix - or the Triple Crown as they are known - should be held in the same month. The month of May could become the greatest motorsport spectacle of the year and we would all have a great time.
I'm sure most would agree that Fernando Alonso's venture across the pond to take part in the Indy 500 earlier this year was a success by all accounts. Alonso reminded the world of his class, more people from Europe and America tuned in to watch the great event (myself included), and F1/IndyCar relations were given a much needed boost. I think it would be hard to find many losers out of this.
With the U.S Grand Prix approaching it will certainly be interesting to see how Alonso is received, considering how popular he became during his American adventure. I hope that Chase Carey is paying full attention to how Fernando is welcomed this weekend. He knows that the U.S market is crucial and is one that - in my view - Formula 1 has failed to fully crack yet.
Alonso turned a few heads at Indy earlier this year
For the most part, this is due to Mr Ecclestone, who refused to give any other motorsport a glimmer of recognition. The fact that the Indy 500 and U.S Grand Prix at Indy were never tied together shows the lack of forward thinking on Bernie's part. Formula 1 has certainly become very closed and isolated over the years and I think this is definitely something that Liberty Media are trying hard to change.
We now live in a new age of Formula 1 ownership. So it is high time that the sport shared the love and joined forces with the two other pinnacle events of the motor racing calendar. The Triple Crown is an unofficial honour. A recognition of class and a mark of respect but nothing more. There are few men or women who have even managed to race in Le Mans, the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix, let alone win all three of them. But why must it be unofficial? And why must it made so difficult to participate?
Let's make it a landmark event. Drivers and teams could start off with Round 1 of the Triple Crown with the Indy 500 at the beginning of the month, fighting at over 200mph for that milk prize they all desire at the Brickyard. (Indy also should go first because it requires the most amount of build up.) Then a two week period where drivers and teams can prepare for the longest race on the planet at Le Mans - Round 2 takes 24hrs to complete. Finally, a week later we have the jewel in the Formula 1 crown and the third and final round; the Monaco Grand Prix. By the end of May we could have a Triple Crown Champion.
Hulkenberg won at Le Mans in 2015
Now, not everyone has to try and be Alonso and aim to win all three events. Many teams and drivers only can afford to do one category of racing which is totally fair. A crossover would definitely be welcome, but even if there wasn't, a month with the three greatest motor racing events all taking place is a mouth watering thought! If someone like Alonso, Hamilton, Will Power or Montoya want a shot at the Triple Crown, they should be able to compete at all three events should they choose and not be stuck having to do just one.
It gives Formula 1 an opportunity to try and tap into that wider American market, as well as a chance to showcase the Monaco GP to an even bigger audience. Similarly, IndyCar can showcase it's prestigious event to the European viewers and promote the series beyond the U.S. Le Mans too can only benefit, especially considering it has recently lost another LMP1 manufacturer. TV companies from all over the world would surely jump on board - an opportunity to market to a new audience would not be taken lightly.
Could anyone emulate Graham Hill?
I am sure that there are some real logistical complications for those who choose to do all three, but these could be sorted I'm sure. The lack of LMP1 cars is also an issue, and Formula 1 would need to find a cheaper Formula so that outside entries could compete. In my view this should happen anyway though. IndyCar is perhaps the only one kitted out for this idea currently, but things can - and should - change.
There is certainly a golden opportunity to make the Triple Crown the memorable sporting event that it deserves to be. Let's please make it happen. I've made myself far too excited by writing this article for starters.