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Gearing up? Alonso completes IndyCar test with Andretti Autosport
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Posted By: Editor   |  06 Sep 2018   |  11:38 am GMT  |  123 comments

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso completed his first IndyCar test outing on a road course, taking one of the Andretti Autosport cars around Barber Motorsports Park.

With Alonso confirming last month that he will not be competing in Formula One next season, he has been heavily linked with a move to the United States to compete in the 2019 IndyCar Series.

His performance in the 2017 Indy 500 caught the attention of the world – much as Nigel Mansell’s move there did 25 years earlier and Alonso is expected to try again to win Indy to go with his Monaco GP, F1 championship and Le Mans 24hrs crowns.

This is the Spaniard’s first test since that announcement, and he took the wheel of one of Carlos Munoz’s cars to attempt a non-oval course for the first time, having only previously competed at the Indy 500.

Speaking after the test session, Alonso said he was pleased to have tested in a variety of weather conditions.

“It was a good day, a fun day. I love to test new cars and to test the IndyCar on a road course is something special,” said Alonso.

“I’ve been lucky enough to test it in wet conditions, in intermediate conditions and in dry conditions, so overall I had a good feeling on every type of track.

“The weather was good for us today – a little bit of wind in the afternoon but overall a positive day.”

He was then asked to compare driving an IndyCar on an oval to driving on a road course, given that this was his first time testing on the latter.

“Probably my instinct will tell me [I prefer the] road course, because it’s what I’ve been used to doing all my life, but the Indy 500 was an amazing experience, so 50/50.

“I think I love the way the car feels on a road course, but I love the way you compete on ovals, timing the tows, traffic and all the overtaking manoeuvres I think are a little bit easy on the ovals, so in terms of track action I loved the Indy 500.”

He added that a road course test was something that he had wanted to do for some time, with several potential dates being given as test day options following his Indy 500 exploits.

“It was something that I was looking for last year already. I had some options to test the car on a road course after the Indy 500.

“We didn’t find the time but this year it’s definitely happened now and I’m happy for this. I love being behind a steering wheel, and definitely a new car, a new experience, learning a lot of things from the team, the engineers, everyone, so a happy day.”

Having previously won the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an Indy 500 victory is the last thing remaining on the quest to achieve the ‘triple crown of motorsport’.

With Alonso being unable to compete at the forefront of Formula One, and McLaren anticipating that their return to the top will be a lengthy one, he’s taken the opportunity to seek other racing thrills.

IndyCar are known to be very keen to have McLaren involved in Alonso’s efforts in the United States, as they were behind the scenes during his Indy 500 effort in 2017, but with Zak Briwn’s team under pressure to get their house in order in F1 the extent of their involvement in any Alonso IndyCar entry is not yet known.

By: Luke Murphy

Title Image: IndyCar

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1

Just been confirmed that Kimi is going back to Sauber for two years?! Why?

2

He’s not good enough anymore to race for Ferari and he stil wants to make a bit of money.

3

I have a theory that Kimi will now play wingman as part of this deal. But conspiracy theory apart, if Ferrari are properly using Sauber as a B team then Kimi is slready intergrated into the programme. So test parts and run new engines on the Sauber. Kimi can give some good feed back in “ drive that car like a Ferrari”. If I am right and it works then look to Bottas moving to Force ( whatever it is called) Now ignoring my cynicism Kimi will also be great PR for the brand.

4

Help develop the car i assume but dont be surprised if Sauber move a few places up the gri next year Alfa Romeo arent putting there name on the car to sit at the back of the grid the deal was just done a bit late last year to have a big influence on this years car

5

You know – I was wrong. I think Alonso actually – finally got it right. I wish him all the best. Andretti (Michael) is definitely not the best choice but its a start. Alonso will actually be racing next year – the thing that he wants to do most.

At least in Indy car they still race like racers ( even if most of them are not really that good) – not like these pansies we keep watching in F1 with their halos and their stewards dishing out penalties every time one of them complains that he overtook me…..hard and he hit me and broke my car.

MAx is right – they are killing racing in F1. I would not be surprised if more racers moved over to Indy in the near future.

6

Circuits such as Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI), Barber (Leeds, AL) and Laguna Seca (Monterey, CA) will make Tilke tracks resemble child’s play with the known straight and hard braking. Barber doesn’t have anything faster than 260 kph, but there’s a reason the Alabama Roller Coaster has fast become one of the most popular circuits. That’s a good 70 kph slower than many F1 tracks, but who needs raw speed when you have challenging turns and undulations that make it a well-renowned circuit?

And of course Road America is one of the best from the climb at the start through the Moraine Sweep and up the Corvette Bridge through Hurry Downs, the Carousel, Kink, and Canada Corner.

Remember when he made his Indy 500 announcement he did it at Barber. There was even an interview with NBCSN’s Diffey and Bell, and Townsend Bell had previously substituted for Will Buxton, who was on bereavement leave, for F1 broadcasts, with interviews and code that left some fans puzzled when, during an interview with Nico Rosberg, he called Kimi Raikkonen “the other red car,” when in reality he was playing mind games with driver code.

Also note how INDYCAR has full safety gear in three recovery vehicles, and circuits often bring their own recovery vehicles. The time it takes for them to reach an incident (less than 30 seconds) is a testament to the modern Corvette-derived V8’s with over 300 horsepower. Even TOCA purchased a Ford diesel pickup for recovery after seeing INDYCAR’s petrol powered utes.

7

Alexander Rossi said that when he switched from F1 to indycar he was blown away by how much more challenging the road courses are in indycar compared to what he experienced in F1.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: F1 tracks have become too sanitised, too safe and too vanilla.

8

Luke, lots of Indycar forums out there……

9

Indeed Tim, I enjoy them all, including this forum.

Still, it would be better if f1 circuits weren’t so artificial and sanitised, don’t you think?

10

Tim, I never said that mistakes are never punished. It’s just that they’re not punished often enough.

Also please note how Vet was caught out by the old school part of the track. If the same thing had happened to him 2 or 3 corner previously on the newer track he would have simply gone for a drive down an aircraft runway and rejoined with barely a bead of sweat to show for it.

11

Luke, haven’t you just proved my point that mistakes are still ounished in F1? Like I said, in both series some tracks are good, some are not so good.

12

TimW, By less sanitised I don’t mean mean death-inducing. I mean more organic and without 3 kilometre car park runoffs, so that errors are punished more often and there is a lot less margin for error. Kind of like what happened to Vet at hockenheim earlier this year.

13

Luke, not really. Indycar has some good tracks, and some not so good, just like F1. If by sanitised you mean more dangerous, then that makes even less sense.

14

Dear Lord, please let Alonso win the Indy 500 and hence achieve the goal of his lifetime with winning the triple crown, so we can all move on with our lives and never have to hear about it ever again! Amen

15

it’d be a smart move for alonso to convince raikkonen an a few others on their way out, to join him in indycar rather than do it alone.

16

I agree – if only because I’m likely to be swapping from F1 to Indycar next year and it wouldn’t hurt to have more familiar names to cheer on.

Sadly I suspect Kimi will retire if he looses his Ferrari drive – I can’t see him being bothered with full-time racing after F1, which will be a sad loss for us all.

17

Kimi will be in Ferrari or they will be toast in 2018 and 2019

18

Interesting podcast Bernie comments on Alonso and what makes a great driver.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mE9p9tRm67M

19

He does also say that Donald Trump is the best thing to happen to the world recently. Bernie’s opinions are Bernie’s opinions.

20

Hope SO much that Fernando goes for a full season. It would be fantastic to watch.

Thanks to Indycar being brilliantly run, I’ve watched the entire season so far on YouTube. For free. And it’s been a fantastic season too.

Did anyone see Dixon’s utterly miraculous escape from the mega start accident in Portland. So much respect for the guy.

Hoping Rossi wins though!

21

Yes I did!

Some drivers seem to have a natural talent for always being there or there-abouts…

…from my limited experience of Indycar Dixon seems to be one – maybe not the fastest, but a consistent front-runner no-matter what.

22

I’m not a fan, I’m behind Rossi in Indycar, but my god, he’s just very very good indeed. Blown away with how he dealt with that accident. To keep the car running in the midst of that accident was fantastic. And then to pull it into the result he got… so much respect for the guy.

23

I’m with you on this TE. Indy is just brilliant. Less drama queen action than F1 and good honest down to earth racing. Saw Dixon’s crash as well. I have however been watching F! for 42 years since my Dad took me to the British GP at Brands Hatch to watch my then hero as a 13 year old win. It was quite something. The Dixon crash could have been horrific. I’m for Dixon or Power to win although if Fernando has a full season there I will shift allegiance

24

David, Agreed. I’ve really enjoyed this season, if Alonso is there next season it’s going to be fantastic.

25

It was a miracle escape for Dixon. No fault of his, just got caught up in it.

I’m still sad about Wickens’ injury. I hope he can make a full recovery, but he had two spinal fractures (one in his neck, and one in his torso), broke both legs, and one arm.

https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4813504

All those years in Europe, in single seaters and then tin tops, and nothing. Then first year in Indycar, and of course at an oval, he suffers potentially life-altering injuries.

They need to figure out a way where if a car rides up, that they can keep it hugged against that wall, and ride it out, instead of hitting posts that put a lot of force through the car before pitching it into a tight spin.

Any of the 4 still in it would be deserving. All four are on 3 wins apiece (no one else has more than 1). Rossi had those ballsy overtakes in the 500, but my money would be on Dixon. He’s just always there.

26

KRB, agree entirely. Every single time they ride up and hit the fence posts it’s a monumental accident. I guess they need some sort of flush transparent screen. But that would cost too much so the drivers have to put up with this huge risk.

Robert’s accident was absolutely catastrophic and honestly, I’m amazed he came out of it at all. The news on his injuries isn’t great though is it. Plus they still don’t know the full extent of his back injury. Here’s hoping for good news.

He’d had a really fantastic rookie season and it was such a shame to see it (and potentially his career) end that way.

I think you’re right, Dixon will do it, he always does! But yep, I’m cheering for Rossi. His passes and display of huge balls at the end of the 500 were really something.

27

Think it best for McLaren to leave this well alone. Get Fernando into one of the top teams – Penske, Ganassi or Andretti.

Can see him pursuing this for a while, until that 500 victory comes. Definitely no forgone conclusion. If he has the car and the team, and gives it enough time, he can do it….

Maybe jump out of Toyota at the end of the season (next year) after the next Le Mans? Maybe he will have 2 of those too, by then? Focus on Indy Car.

Would be good to see him back in F1 at some point, though….

28

Would love to see Fernando in a Penske up against Will Power.

29

The Triple Crown of motorsport, eh.

That got me thinking, what’s the Triple Crown of Tin Tops.

Nurburgring, Bathurst & Spa?

…………………..Oh, Fernando. Are you still here?

30

Mick, Daytona?

31

TimW,

Yeah, you’re probably right. I forgot about Daytona.

I was trying to think of places one might need something special, but turning right on a flat track & left on the banking for 24 hours would need something special.

So, obviously, the Tin Top Triple Crown needs 4 races… & I bet nobody has or will win all 4.

32

Maybe the Daytona 500?

33

Ha, and Pikes Peak!

34

I think not…

35
Tornillo Amarillo

Sorry out of topic, but RB academy drivers are getting seats out of RB teams against other teams’ academies… Is JA going to analyse that?

36

Fernando is the greatest driver of the modern era. He can drive the wheels off anything. No-one on the grid could achieve whet he is in Motorsport in general. Hoping the no 29 car has a full season at Indycar, wining the championship AND the Indy 500.

37

No, he’s overrated, has always been. The first time he didn’t have a #1 driver contract he got beat, by a rookie… I never understood what people rate about him, hes a myth, nothing more

38

Fernando is the greatest driver of the modern era

Then why can’t he get a decent ride in F1? The teams spend hundreds of millions each year to try and go quicker – they could have Alonso for a fraction of that, yet they all passed. Surely it would be a no brainer if he really is such a hot shoe.

Either the teams have all missed something which you have spotted or your conclusion is wide of the mark.

39

Yes I know. Lewis Lewis Lewis!!

40

David, shall we count how many Lewis comments you leave?

41

@David

Did I mention Lewis ? I’m more than happy to take responsibility for something I did , but I won’t be held responsible for your imagination.

42

No, it’s not like that. He was in the right team for hos 2 WDCs (obviously). Move to McLaren was inspired (he only lost WDC by one point).

He nearly won with Ferrari (in 2010 & 2012). They were on the way down when he left, and McLaren were back with Honda.

The problem is (as we’ve only just found out, this year) McLaren were actually going down too (with the chassis). They were tricked into thinking the problem was Honda, which it was. But, that was only half the trouble.

By then, he had burnt his bridges with Ferrari and has a reputation for being difficult. Politically correct teams don’t like his rants, which, interestingly, McLaren don’t seem to mind.

In hindsight, McLaren should have stuck with Mercedes. They would have known their chassis problems earlier, and, the turn-around would be earlier.

But, I do believe that Fernando would probably have been WDC if he had been in a Ferrari last year. He does not make hot-headed errors in wheel-to-wheel stuff (well not like Seb V anyway)!

43

They don’t get that being a great driver is not just the on-track stuff. Alonso’s main problem is that he wasn’t prepared to go up against another driver on equal terms. He left after 2007; didn’t like that Ferrari brought back Kimi, so left. By the time he was willing to, it was too late.

https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/news/f1/mph-why-kimis-second-chance-ferrari-could-soon-end

An interesting article. Ferrari know the level that Alonso was at, and are in some doubt if Vettel is near or at that same level. As usual, MPH’s entries in the comments section are illuminating as well.

44

What are you talking about? Alonso beat KR without any problems. Alonso’s problem wasn’t with his teammates, but with the team management. I see Alonso the same as others see Kimi in respect that he says what’s on his mind. Kimi does it with media and his race engineer, but Alonso did it with his team management and that is what burnt his bridges. No team want to be embarassed like that, so they kept clear of Alonso.

All this doesn’t mean he was wrong in what he was saying, just how he said it.

Also, all you guys here and me, we only know 20% maybe of what’s happening behind the scenes or how good a car is and etc. Other team bosses, engineers, other drivers, etc, they are the ones that know a lot more than us or the media, so when these people rate Alonso so high, maybe ask yourself why they do it.

You can quickly form your biased opinion, but take into account what the media, team bosses, other drivers and engineers say about that person in terms of talent. That’s what we’re talking about here, the talent of driving a car, not their ability to get along with everyone.

Yes, getting along with everyone is important to keep the atmosphere within a team good, to motivate people, but that’s not a driver’s task, his task is to drive the wheels of the car and that’s what Alonso has been doing all his life.

45

MPH’s entries in the comments section

I always like MH’s replies – he’s endlessly patient, even with some quite rude comments , and always explains his reasoning.

46

Ooh but he’s turned down every conceivably job there might be. A presidency, Secretary-General of the UN and some jobs that only existed during the samurai era.

But they all had to apologize not knowing anything about this, even the long lost samurai. And so they did the saying goes, by email:)

47

Ummm…really?

2 F1 titles. There are two active drivers that each have more.

An Indy 500 start. He’s tied with lots of drivers you’ve never heard of for this one.

A LeMans 24 win. No competition. Had it been while Audi and/or Porsche were still competing…

Tell me what I’ve missed.

48

2 near misses with McLaren and Ferrari (2007, 2010 & 2012).

To jump straight in at Indy and perform so well, is no mean feat….

5 team mates at Toyota. It is generally reckoned Fernando won it for his car in his relentless stint (can’t remember which one it was).

The 2 stand out drivers of this generation are Fernando and Lewis (pity FA could not get on with him and McLaren in 2007).

It’s not all about the stats….

He’s seen off successive team mates (only Lewis could hold a candle to him, and maybe on occasion Jenson).

He has mastered starts, and often has the car higher by the end of the first lap. And, what about 2012? How on earth did he get that junk Ferrari to a near WDC?)

Tell me what I’ve missed?

49

@Richard Mortimer

And despite all of his undoubted ability, he still cannot get a decent seat in F1. He must be a massive PIA if that over rides a teams desire to hire the best .

Tell me what I’ve missed .

50

I always figured driving a Indy car on a tight street circuit would be a real pig

compared to a F1 car. . . Alonso will probably not even notice!

Hey Luke . . wake up!

51

I’m really worried about this. Indy Cars are dangerous on certain ovals. They need a halo more than F1 does or something.

I would hate to see Alonso hurt or worse.

52

Any chance he’ll go for good next week.

I mean really who cares.

The only thing to say is that he’ll rub the yanks up sooner or later.

53

Has been said before … I have great respect for the Andretti’s and what they have achieved. Alonso please, please focus on your skill set and put Gorrilla tape over your mouth.

54

I said recently that I hoped he wouldn’t go to Andretti’s, cause I like them, but I also stated that he needs to duct tape his mouth.

What a joyous thing that somebody agrees with me.

55

Why don’t you buy him out? Oh wait, you can’t afford to.

56

Welcome to America!

58

Exactly!

59

LOL

60

sigh.

61

Some how i will prefer if he does not go to Indy… Its cos he is a natural F1 type driver and those Ovals are just too dangerous and he hasnt been racing really on them.

I wish him luck in anycase and God’s protection

62

Sorry James for the off-topic. Whats going on at Ferrari in regards to the Kimi-Leclerc situation? It would be interesting to know some insight. It looks quite political in terms of different executives want different drivers. Also Kimi is driving quite well could habe been on pole at least in Hungary, Spa not just in Monza this year. Has that changed the set-up with Vettel etc. All seems to be very interesting…

63

How come I am losing all respect for Alonso?

64

only you would know

65

&david

Out of interest, do you believe Alonsos conduct over the years deserves respect?

67

@David

At all times , no reservations ?

68

Biggest failure of Liberty is to not retain a talent like Alonso, and loose him to a competitive series from US, which is the market Liberty is trying to crack.

69

HE DOESN’T WANT TO FIGHT IN THE MIDFIELD.

RBR have their own academy drivers, Mercedes and Ferrari have better drivers.

70

“Mercedes and Ferrari have better drivers.”

If this statement wasn’t so ridiculous it would be amusing.

71

@david

Amusing or not , Ferrari and Mercedes clearly don’t want him. So they must believe their driver line up is better off without him – or they’d have snapped him up , no?

72

Is that actually a fail or could it be great promotion??? Say if he comes into indy and is by far the best driver then it could show to the American audience how far ahead the drivers are in F1 than indy… Nah of course that was a silly suggestion, Americans will take that as a personal insult and will try and boycott the sport… Maybe you are right

73

Damn you coin! Why must you have 2 sides?

On one side, I just don’t like Alonso. I don’t like his ethics, style, approach.

On the other side, is there a driver on the grid from whom team bosses, teams and drivers can learn more? He did so much around the paddock, there is a lesson to be learned from his presence here for anyone involved in F1. What to do. What not to do.

One thing is beyond doubt, he may not have the WDCs, but he pulled fat coin out of F1. Is that what keeps him happy at night? Hey, people have all kinds of addictions.

I still say that he’s leaving because McLaren no longer has the Honda money to pay for this relationship. Alonso figures he may as well go for glory at this point.

To me, even if he scores this triple crown, he will always have that Singapore 2008 trophy on his shelf. To me, the filthiest darkest trophy in F1 history.

74

There you go again. What evidence is there that Fernando had anything to do with that 2008 moment. You are just blinded by your fanboy worship me thinks.

75

David, zero chance Fernando didn’t know about it.

76

Sebee

It’s dubious alright, but, what is Fernando’s involvement in Singapore 2008? Flav and Pat Symonds carried the can. On top of that, he won the next race in Japan fair and square. I think you are just prejudiced…

Surely, Michael’s 1994 title was more tainted?

77

Wow, Sebee, I can’t believe that you actually don’t like Alonso. Been reading your posts here for years and would have never suspected that.

78

LOL

79

A tainted trophy for sure. What are the other contenders? Adelaide 94? Japan 89? You are right that Singapore 08 is not a ‘win’ Alonso should be proud of.

80

Driver clashes are immediately in a different category.

– They are dirty, but they are not cheating.

– They are clear, and can be punished immediately

– They are clear to the other competitor, who can decide

2008 Singapore is a fraud. A conspiracy. A manipulation of pieces, and most importantly an ultimatum and bribery. “Do this Jr. or your won’t be in F1 next year.” Oh, the filth!

81

All true + Japan 1990. Even Ron Dennis was miffed at Ayrton for that!

What about Jerez 1997? (Which Michael did not get away with) and Monaco? (parking his car in the barrier to stop Fernando getting pole) or Nico R doing the same thing?

82

What did he do around the paddock?

83

Wield his power!

Hypnotise people to do whatever he demanded and pay him bags of money for doing so.

84

Are you talking about Hamilton here. I’m a little confused.

85

@Sebee

I’m not sure how you arrived at your conclusions or indeed, quite where I fit into them. All I was doing was pointing out that David has mentioned Hamilton more than once in this thread despite him not being the topic of conversation.

86

I think I see what david is doing here C63.

He’s saying that I shouldn’t just paint Alonso with that brush. He’s saying that all WDCs demand big money, status, preferential treatment, have diva demands and want things done their way.

And he would be right to point that out.

All WDCs have made such demands.

What’s really funny is that fans grab onto them like there is something in it for them. When clearly such fan worship does nothing but misplace fan emotional attachment, waste fan time and energy and most likely costs fan’s money on merchandise…so that others know who the worshipers are. Money which goes directly to the worshiped of ours, as offering.

When you give it some thought, it is really funny.

87

There you go – on about Lewis again when he hadn’t been mentioned.

88

Come on he’ll give it back. He said he don’t want trophys he doesn’t deserve. He’s such a honest guy, would you not take his words seriously?

89

Great driver that he is, and I’m pleased he’s trying different racing series, I am getting more than tired by his self proclamations of greatness. None of the top guys are blessed with modesty, but Alonso is blessed with a lack of self awareness about his boasting that is on a very different level.

90

“I put this victory in a higher level than any other victory in Le Mans.” – F. Alonso

91

alonso can get his own f1 team if he wants, instead chooses to chase the useless triple crown. i thought f1 drivers were only about proving they were the best up against the best rather than beating substandard drivers at will. he enjoyed a media hype the first around. i’m not sure anyone will be interested this time.

92

Yeah, every top-F1 driver can get his own team! Really?

Brabham sold his. McLaren died before he could, and Ron Dennis made it great! Surtees lost his. Hill’s never really got going. Fittipaldi lost his. Prost lost his. Amon’s? what a joke! Stewart sold his to Ford (and it plummeted).

No, please Fernando, don’t go down that road. The triple crown is not useless to him. Plus, the real triple crown – WDC, WEC and Indy championship no-one has done, ever. Think he is actually more likely to get that! Brilliant….

93

First Moto gp and now Indy. Is this site going to be like McLaren? No F1 priority.

Hope this is not a sign of decline

94

MotoGP race this weekend. I expect a reminder article tomorrow.

“Formula 1 or MotoGP – which is at risk of losing more energy drink sponsor dollars now that energy drinks are sold only to adults in UK, with other countries to follow.”

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