Fernando Alonso says NASCAR's Daytona 500 is an "iconic race" that has some appeal – just a day after he appeared in a social media video clip with seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
The video hinted that the two drivers might be involved in a car-swapping PR exercise of the type undertaken by Lewis Hamilton and Tony Stewart, and by Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon.
The difference on this occasion is that Alonso could in theory be available to compete at Daytona in February, even if he also commits to a full IndyCar season alongside his WEC commitments with Toyota.
McLaren team principal Zak Brown is well connected in the NASCAR world, notably with Johnson's Hendrick team.
"Well, it's one of those iconic races that definitely they are great," Alonso said when asked by Motorsport.com if he was interested in a one-off appearance at Daytona.
"And they are very important in motorsport. There is appeal in all these kind of events."
Asked if he saw NASCAR as the next chapter in his career, he said: "Not really. I mean it's definitely another series that is attractive. As all the motorsport series, they have their good things, their bad things, their appeal sometimes.
"And we know NASCAR is one of the great series in motorsport.
"Obviously, I have never tested the car, I have zero information about the championship, the rules. So it's a very difficult thing to judge. But yeah, let's see what will happen there."
Alonso insisted his recent IndyCar road course testing with the Andretti team would not have an impact on his decision on what to do in 2019.
"No, not really, what I will do next year is more based on how it makes me feel happy, and trying to make something special – as I said many times, being the best driver in the world, of motorsport, not only F1.
"I'm checking a couple of things, and hopefully by October or something like that, in one month's time, I hope to get everything done, and say to you."
He said that the amount of preparation required to succeed in a new discipline would play a part in his thinking.
"Well it's not only what appeals to me. It's also what are the best things in motorsport. Some of them, they are not maybe ready, or I'm not prepared to do those things, and I need to consider how much preparation and dedication I need to put into those new things to be ready and competitive.
"If I feel I can be ready and competitive, I will accept the challenge. If I see it as too difficult I will postpone the challenge for later on. But it's something that I need to consider in a wider range."
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz
Jack Roush confirms that Trevor Bayne will not return in 2019
Analysis: Where the contenders stand entering NASCAR's playoffs
Alonso admits Daytona 500 has "appeal"
- Formula 1