Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

F1 star Fernando Alonso gets taste of Indianapolis oval

F1 star Fernando Alonso gets taste of Indianapolis oval

Fernando Alonso has been cleared to take part in the qualifying session for the Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500) after the Spaniard completed his initiation test on Wednesday at the Brickyard. He waited patiently for his turn behind the wheel while Marco Andretti ran several laps to get the vehicle set up. Alonso said after the test. I think he'll leave today pretty confident. "We need to be always ready to set up the auto for whatever conditions we have there".

Fortunately, Alonso's test has gone well so far, as he quickly knocked out the required rookie practice laps this morning.

The Indianapolis 500 is set for Sunday, May 28.

Alonso told Top Gear Magazine: "It's one of my ambitions to win the Triple Crown, which has been achieved by only one driver in the history of motorsport: Graham Hill". He has not won at Le Mans.

"I see the same spark in Alonso". Alonso found out the hard way when the blue sky turned grey, temperatures dropped into the low 50s Fahrenheit and the gusts picked up. You have the first impression of how it's going to be.

After flying straight to Indianapolis from Sochi, Alonso went through the motions to meet the ROP demands with his fastest first-run lap being clocked at an average of 209 miles per hour, before putting his foot down.

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For Alonso, this next month comes after a surreal two-month journey of travel since preseason testing for the Formula 1 season began in his native Spain in early March. They vanished in a puff and crew members eventually cleaned the remains off the auto. "I saw one bird approaching Turn 3 in the penultimate run, and I just lift off (the accelerator) and avoid the bird. I hoped one day to race here in May".

Just like the McLaren-Honda MCL32 that he drives in Formula 1 2017, Alonso's IndyCar machine will carry a papaya orange livery, the Woking-based team having embraced the return to its iconic former colour this year. He's the first formula 1 driver to do so since Jim Clark in 1965.

Alonso will race in a auto run by Andretti Autosport, originally meant for Stefan Wilson.

"So these are the things that we need to hopefully learn in the first days of free practice and, as I said many times, I'm with the best team possible for that". If I could choose, I would prefer to see him in Monaco.

Yet Alonso made it look easy.

"It was great. He did flawless. Now we can go play a little bit", Michael Andretti said. "He's the real deal. But I think he will have the speed, he will have the auto - and rookies have won before". The Spaniard, who is missing the Monaco Grand Prix to compete, will drive an McLaren/Andretti Autosport entry with the number 29 on his vehicle. Now hopefully we can put some laps and start feeling a little bit of the auto. One of the reasons I joined is that I knew we were in a rebuilding period, I knew it was going to be pain in the short term - and it's a little bit more pain than we expected - but this is going to make victory when we get there that much sweeter.

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