Alonso: “I prefer to be here, even 34th, than being at home”

A gutted Fernando Alonso, who has failed to qualify for the 103rd Running of the Indy 500, nonetheless believes it was better to try and fail than not try at all, and suggested he intends to return for a third attempt.

Alonso: “I prefer to be here, even 34th, than being at home”

The former Formula 1 star’s McLaren-Chevrolet was bumped from the grid by Kyle Kaiser’s Juncos Racing-Chevy, and was asked by the media if he would try again to add the Indy 500 to his victories in the Monaco GP and Le Mans.

“I don't know; right now I think it's difficult to make any promise,” he replied. “It's just too soon to make decisions. I don't know even what I will do after next month Le Mans 24 hours and finish my program in the World Endurance Championship.

“I wanted to have 2020 open because I don't know exactly what opportunities may come for me for next year in terms of racing. So… until I know the program for next year, I cannot promise or have any idea in my mind.

“But as I always say, I would be more than happy to race here again in the future and to win the triple crown, which is still a target or different target. You know, maybe I race different series with different challenges, maybe next year, as well, completely out of my comfort zone again. This type of challenge… they can bring you a lot of success and you can be part of the history of the sport or you can be really disappointed.

“Today is one of those, but I prefer to be here than to be like millions and millions of other people, at home watching TV. I prefer to try.”

He later returned to this theme of endeavor, adding: “In terms of motorsport in general, to be here and at least try, it deserves some credit. Obviously we are all disappointed, and we will try to do better next time. But it's that kind of things that you learn. I said before, I prefer to be here, even 34th, than being at home like last year.”

“I tried my best, every attempt”

Asked if he could explain his failure to qualify, Alonso said he spared nothing in terms of effort and that the car simply wasn’t quick enough.

“I think it's a combination of things,” he stated. “We were not fast, not only today; I think the whole event, we were struggling a little bit.

“But these four laps in qualifying especially are four laps where you are flat [on the throttle]. There is not really anything big that you need to drive. As long as you don't lift, it's more or less the speed on the car that put you in one position or another – or the time of the day. But we had multiple attempts yesterday and different times. We should be okay if the car was quick enough, but we didn't manage to achieve that.

“You know, I tried my best, every attempt. I drove with a loose car and didn't lift off. I drove with an understeer car, I didn't lift off. I drove with a rear puncture – I only lift off in the last lap because I could not make the corner.

“And today we went out with an experiment that we did overnight,” he said, referring to the Andretti Autosport setups and shocks/dampers. “We changed everything on the car because we thought that maybe we need something… different to go into the race with some confidence. Because… even if we were qualifying today, we were not maybe in the right philosophy to race next Sunday. We went out not knowing what the car will do in Turn 1, but we’re still flat. So we tried.”

Still proud

Alonso returned to the theme of he and McLaren enjoying diversity, as he answered a question about the positives he might be able to take away from this year’s Indy 500 project.

“I think there are always things that you learn and things that you improve for next time you're here, the next challenge – not only in the Indy 500 but as a driver. I still feel proud.

“Obviously I'm disappointed now because we will not be in the race, but as I said, even for McLaren, they will be a bit thin in the next day or next two days, and then everyone will forget. But the next two days it will be maybe hard for the team. I feel it’s unfair a little bit if things goes on that way. We didn't do the job. We were not quick enough. Simple. The others, they did better. We congratulate them.

“But at the same time, I think McLaren is the only team in motorsport that won the Indy 500, won the Le Mans 24 hours, won the Formula 1 championship. You can only do that if you try. If you stay only in one series and you concentrate there for all your history or your organization is only racing in one series, maybe you can succeed, you can have good seasons, bad seasons. But you are in that small world.”

shares
comments
De Ferran apologizes for McLaren failure at Indy

Previous article

De Ferran apologizes for McLaren failure at Indy

Next article

McLaren has "no excuses" for Alonso's Indy 500 failure

McLaren has "no excuses" for Alonso's Indy 500 failure
Load comments
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
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021