Alonso completes first Indy test

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

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So the Alonso McLaren Honda ended up 15-20 mph off the pace, at least he will feel at home ;)




Not really, 222.5 is respectable for a first day. He’ll want to see 230 to be competitive, and be able to pull that 222-225 in race conditions. But weather is always a factor on the lap speed.

John The Race Fan

They never fully trimmed the car out for speed runs. That will come in the upcoming practice sessions.
The team took advantage of the time to simulate other details he could expect to encounter. For example, they simulated a run going yellow, so he can get accustomed to slowing the car up and how the car handles at SC speed (100mph vs 220mph).
They worked on some pit entry maneuvers and fine-tuning some details of the car while they had the chance.

The Captain

Alonso-2 Birds-0

I also really enjoyed in his presser ‘I was able to back off a bit and turn a little, I saved a life today’.

John The Race Fan

That announcer was Kevin Lee. He’s also a pit reporter for NBCSN’s IndyCar coverage and the weekly Trackside radio show in Indianapolis (and on podcast). In the booth, he had Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, J.Douglas Boles, Zak Brown, and others that I’m neglecting to mention at various times. If you didn’t see Alonso’s press conference at the end of the day, it is outright gold. The questions, even from the somewhat hick-sounding local press were intelligent and thoughtful, if delivered with a bit of a hayseed twang. And Alonso was as forthright as he was able. And it was all… Read more »


The press room was full of a variety of journos – the local tv guys like Dave Calabro (also the track announcer) definitely aren’t in the hick category. But there was I think a guy from the Columbus Dispatch which may have been Columbus, IN or OH – and yea he had an accent. The local media are well versed in speaking to race drivers from all over, so not an issue there. I did like the question about the lower tech of the IndyCar vs the bleeding edge F1 car. One of the guys you saw was Robin Miller,… Read more »

John The Race Fan

I’ve been around enough to recognize Miller & Calabro. Columbus Dispatch is out of Columbus, OH. That may have been the journo with the rural accent. I wasn’t keeping track. The interview was great in its entirety. There wasn’t anyone there asking superfluous and/or speculative questions. Never mind that Fred looked to have had a hell of a lot of fun, and was excited to convey that. I’m sure he’s going to be talking about how cool it is doing 220mph+ laps in the paddock this weekend to a captivated audience. It’s also important to point out that IMS was… Read more »

Guy Fawkes

Alonso looked really good on his first day, but I assumed he would. What everyone seems to be overlooking is that Andretti MS isn’t having exactly the best season thus far. Pretty good at St. Petersburg, abysmal at Long Beach, a mixed bag at Alabama and abysmal again at Phoenix. While it would thrill me to no end to see Alonso have a great finish at Indy, I don’t hold out a lot of hope. Once again he’s going to be a victim of Honda’s lack of pace.

John The Race Fan

I respectfully disagree.
The only Chevy team with pace is Penske. Add ECR into the mix on ovals.

In addition, Andretti’s preparation for Indianapolis is on par with perennial favorites Ganassi & Penske. Andretti will have pace at Indianapolis, regardless of their pace any other race of the season. The 500 is important for every team, and they put more focus, attention and preparation toward that one race.
For good reason.

If Alonso suffers anything, it will be simply experience at the unique beast that is the Indianapolis 500.

John The Race Fan

For those who haven’t see the carnage:


I love his helmet design. Classic.