Fernando Alonso has completed his fist runs on the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway home of the Indy 500. At the wheel of the Andretti Autosport ran car, Alonso acquitted himself quite well. His team boss, Michael Andretti was very pleased.
“He did perfect, everything that he was supposed to do – got through all three phases [of ROP] so now we can go play a little bit,” said Andretti.
“He’s looking at data right now… so he can see what’s on the data compared to what he’s feeling out on the track.
“He gets it; he’s one of the best in the world and you can see why.
“He watched what he was doing with his line, he was changing it up lap after lap to get a feel.
“He had a little bit of understeer and he adjusted his line for the understeer, so, you know… he’s the real deal.
“He was experimenting. One time I thought he was a little low but then the next lap he got it back up there a little bit, so it was good.”
The rookie program eases them into the speeds they will experience during the race so Alonso had to do 10 laps at 205-210mph, 15 laps at 210-215mph, and then 15 laps between 215mph and 220mph. He averaged 219.654.
It’s a bit different than Formula 1 if you are new to Indycar. They don’t care about lap times but average speeds…which, of course, means better lap times. Alonso said:
“It was probably a little bit difficult in the beginning to reach the minimum [speed], but then on the next stages it felt good.
“Now hopefully we can put some laps in and start feeling the car – at the moment the car is driving myself, I am not driving the car.
“I do feel more comfortable, just because with 30 laps, 40 laps in the pocket you can fine tune the lines, which gear to use in which corner.
“At the moment everything looks good, but now starts the real thing.”
The issue of slower speeds is that the cars are more difficult to drive at those speeds but it’s good practice because in traffic, speed can get scrubbed off and it’s important to know how to drive in those conditions.
The IMS streamed the event live and it was also on NBC Sports. The host, not sure who he is, kept speaking in terms that Alonso was like a new kid coming up through the ranks. It was a bit grating and even Michael Andretti recognized that this guy is a serious driver and was even adjusting in real-time his lines at finding the fastest way around the track. He’s no rookie and he knows what a race does regardless of the track.
Hat Tip: Autosport