This Alonso development of "player power" is quite interesting.
Honestly, in this instance I think they had no choice but to let him do this. To stretch it into your Neymar analogy, it would be like if Barcelona had started each game for the last 3 seasons with 9 players. Plus F1, as much as it's about the cars, a champion driver is a rare commodity, I'm not surprised they want to keep him sweet after the cars they've put him through.
And as much as the indy series does seem to be an F1 cast-offs paradise (as evidenced by 'reliable finisher' Max Chilton being a few laps from victory, eventually taken by Takuma Sato, a 40-year-old who's best-ever F1 finish was 3rd)
, it is one part of the prestigious 'triple crown' (awarded to a driver who has won Monaco GP + Indy 500 + Le Mans 24hr, only one driver has ever completed it)
, which is obviously what Alonso's aiming for.
It was fun hearing the ignorance of the American commentators before the race though, it was pretty much "Well he's a double world champion but does he know how to do a restart?"