Alonso’s day at Indy: ‘Faster, different and pure adrenaline’

Fernando Alonso came away from his first day of running at Indy with all boxes checked and glowing enthusiasm.

The driver of the #29 McLaren-Honda entered Andretti Autosport papaya machine completed his Rookie Orientation Programme before upping the pace and getting further acquainted with his mount and the environment.

Alonso set a fastest speed of 222.548mph, ending his day enthused and full of respect for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“The track is narrower than I thought,” the Spaniard  told the media.

“You watch the television and you see three cars alongside on the main straight – now I am in the car on the main straight and it’s hard to imagine how you can fit three cars there at speed.

“I knew that Marco [Andretti, who shook the car down in the morning] was flat out in Turn 1, so I said I will do Turn 1 flat out because I know that the car is able to do it.

“I arrived in Turn 1 and I was convinced that I was doing flat out, but the foot was not flat – it had its own life, it was not connected to my brain at that moment.

“On the second or third lap I was able to do it, but on the first lap it was definitely a very good feeling to be able to feel the respect of the place, the respect of the car, the respect of the speed.

“For any racing driver that feeling is pure adrenaline, so it was a good day.”

  • Alonso passes Indy rookie test with flying colors!

Alonso was surprised by the stark contrast which exists between Indycar and Formula 1 in one very basic area: the procedure of starting a car!

“They ask you if you are ready inside the car, you say yes, you switch on the car and you go,” he said.

“In Formula 1 it takes maybe six minutes to fire up the car, because they need to check, recheck, there is so much technology there.

“Many things slow down every run. Here, it’s more fun because you just switch on the engine and you race.”

The two-time world champion was prudent in his assessment of the car’s handling, offering little feedback to the Andretti Autosport crew given his current limited knowledge.

“The team was asking me about it, and I feel good, but I have no idea, no experience of when the circuit is good or bad, or when the circuit is fast or slow,” he said.

“The team has been very supportive, and now we have a lot more things to go through that will be more useful.

“There is still a long way to go but I’m happy with the first step.”

Alonso will resume his testing programme the day after the Spanish Grand Prix, on May 15, when he will take up residency at the Speedway for the remainder of the month, until the big day on Sunday, May 28.

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