Alonso: Too early to judge if McLaren-Chevrolet is competitive

Fernando Alonso says that running only 29 laps of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Wednesday’s test meant he’s unable to judge whether the McLaren-Chevrolet package will be competitive.

Alonso: Too early to judge if McLaren-Chevrolet is competitive

Bad weather ruined the scheduling at IMS, which was supposed to allow two hours for full-time 2019 NTT IndyCar Series entries and oval veterans to test, followed by two hours for rookies and veteran refreshers, then three hours for all participants.

However, barely 15mins into the opening session, the caution flew for rain, and the track remained down for over four hours. When action resumed, the veterans got around 90mins, the rookies and when the rain returned in the evening, the refreshers had received a similar amount of track time, and the final ‘combined’ session had been canned.

However, Alonso missed the first 45mins of the rookie and refreshers period due to an electrical problem and the abbreviated session meant that he and others still need to complete their refresher course.

Alonso needs to turn 10 more laps at 215-plus mph, while Helio Castroneves, JR Hildebrand and Oriol Servia need to turn two, three and eight laps respectively. All four will be permitted to do so on the opening day of Indy 500 practice on Tuesday, May 14.

“It's great to be back," said Alonso. "Every time you enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway it's a great feeling. Even though we were unlucky with the weather and also had some issues with the car, we still got in some laps and the adrenaline driving around here is unique, so I feel happy.

“As a team the plan for today was to build speed step by step and complete all the right checks. With every run we were discovering new things, but at the end of the day, it was a very short time on the track, so it is difficult to say if I feel we have a competitive car.

“More track time is all we need and I'm sure we will recover those laps in May.

“This time the Indy 500 feels different for me, I know the race, I know the length and we should be a bit more ready especially on the emotional side. Now it's just about making sure the car is fast. We have two weeks and a lot of work to do, but I'm confident we'll keep moving in the right direction.”

Alonso, whose only previous experience of racing the Indy’s iconic oval came in 2017 with a McLaren-backed Andretti Autosport entry, said that McLaren entering this year fully under its own banner – albeit with a technical alliance with Carlin – was a tougher proposition.

“Basically I think it’s a bit of a challenge, no doubt,” he said. “I think we have to do everything by ourselves, not only in terms of setup-wise, on the technical side: it's also on the operational side, on the strategy, tire management, the comfort side in terms of precision, steering wheel grip – basic things that they were ready with at Andretti. You save a lot of time.

“Yeah, basically it's a bigger challenge. But it could be a bigger reward, as well! I think some of the philosophy or directions that McLaren may go in the next month, maybe now is a little bit different. With Andretti we just followed what we knew was working. In a way it was easier.

“But maybe now we can discover new things. That's our hope.”

shares
comments
Herta leads rookies, Alonso gets first Indy laps of 2019

Previous article

Herta leads rookies, Alonso gets first Indy laps of 2019

Next article

IndyCar brings forward cockpit protection debut

IndyCar brings forward cockpit protection debut
Load comments
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021