Alonso: ‘Going back to the Indy500 for the next two years will be impossible’

Fernando Alonso is possibly his last chance to fulfill his dream of succeeding in the Indianapolis 500 short term. After signing your contract with Renault to return to F1 in 2021 and 2022, the Spaniard sees “impossible” to return to the mythical oval in the next two courses, although he does not rule out doing so later. For this reason, the Oviedo faces this event in a special way, knowing that in the coming years he will not be able to enjoy a race that he considers “special” and that this course he faces as “a great retop”, especially for not having been able to shoot before one day of testing or completing a simulator program as complete as the other years due to the restrictions of the coronavirus, which prevented him from carrying out the planned preparation program. However, he was confident in the potential of the Arrow McLaren SP, a set that “impressed” him in the first races of the IndyCar and with which he hopes to achieve his longed-for goal: the ‘Triple Crown’ on August 23. Before that, there are two weeks full of training in which the Spaniard will try to get a feel for the car as soon as possible.

At the moment, he assured in a press conference through Zoom that the fact that there are just 33 cars and there are no single-seaters that are going to be left out of the race is something that takes away “pressure and stress” for these first days. In addition, the Spanish assured question of
MD who does not see this challenge as something “more difficult” than what he did in the Dakar, although we do recognize that he will arrive at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the drivers ”.


“It has been a long time without competing, but it is the same for everyone. He missed racing cars. I don’t think it has a big disadvantage. I have been training a lot in March and April. I’ve had time to recover, bike, gym. I don’t think it’s a more difficult challenge than the Dakar, because that was completely unknown territory for me and every km was new and you needed to adapt to different things. He was a complete ‘rookie’. Here, I have a disadvantage compared to the rest, I do not have their experience and I am aware of it, but this race is so special that sometimes, the place chooses who wins the race. So I’m confident that if I do things right, maybe with some luck on our side this time, and there are many factors here: there are many yellow flags and many things that can happen in the race outside of our control … There are to be there. The Indy500 is such a special place that you have to keep trying because one day it might all work out for you ”.


“That is a good question. I think I face the race knowing that in the next two years it will be impossible to come. I would have to miss an F1 qualifier if I wanted to do it and next year I won’t be at McLaren in F1. The next few years I will not be here, but for the moment I am here to enjoy myself, try to do my best, help the team what I can and we will see the possibilities we have in the future. If one day you win this race it would open up opportunities to do different things ”.


“I am very, very excited. It will be different without an audience and riding in front of the big stands without fans will be a shock. But you have to look ahead. Despite the circumstances, I think the team has prepared well. We have not done test days or simulator sessions compared to the other 500 Miles in Indianapolis, but at the same time I see everyone prepared, a team very prepared and very hungry to succeed and do something good this month. But we look forward. Tomorrow, first day in the car ”.


“I hope you are right and we can be fast enough to compete for victory. At the moment, one day before free practice, last year we had some optimistic feelings and this year we have them again. We have to wait to see where we are in speed and rhythm, but there are differences in the team itself, in how Arrow SP is prepared and the experience it has in this competition will make a big difference compared to last year, when we may not have reached it. sufficiently prepared for the challenge ”.


“It’s a big challenge. I am aware of this and I am aware that we may not be among the favorites because we lack the experience on the Indy500, the team is not new, but this collaboration (McLaren and Arrow SP) is only a few months old. There are some things that we have to try to learn on free practice days. After watching the races at home I tried to learn as much as possible from there, asking the engineers why there were things that I had not fully understood from television and they tried to answer my questions, why did they stop here … there has been constant communication . At the same time, I have trained on the simulator at home for several months, during the pandemic. I also took a big step in eSports, competing in the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans ”.


“I have reasonable confidence that this can be a good event for us. But you have to go step by step, we know the many things we have to do on our part. We will miss some experience compared to the other drivers. We have to work very close to the team and learn every day, go step by step, be a little more focused on the race this year because obviously in qualifying we are 33 cars (there will be no elimination), so that may take some pressure off and stress in the first days and we can concentrate on the day of the race ”.


“Last year when I stopped from F1 in 2018, it was too active. And in 2020 I wanted a little more relaxation, doing the Dakar and then focusing on the Indianapolis 500, with a more relaxed second part of the season, recharging my batteries because in 2021 I would return to F1. And then the virus came and in my case I was only planning to do the Indy500. But after August 24, a new preparation will begin for me, physically and mentally, with several days of simulation with Renault, I may be in 3 or 4 races to see only how they work on the track.


“I’m very impressed. I have watched their races on television with great attention because I knew that the test day I had to do in April had been canceled, and that the simulator days program had been canceled. So I knew that I would have very limited time on top of the car before the race. So I wanted to know how the team was performing each weekend and it was very impressive. I remember that in the IndyGP Oliver Askew was super fast and was close to pole, and then Pato (O’Ward) got points. They are very talented guys. They are young tactical pilots with fresh ideas. I am looking forward to working with them ”.


“Yes, he will be the man.”


“I personally only tried the seat at the team factory last weekend and we put it in the car. Visibility seemed good. Colleagues say it is a little warmer in the car because the ventilation is not the same. We will try to improve. I will have to adapt in terms of aerodynamics, drag, but it will be the same for everyone and we will have to adapt. This year will be a challenge. The challenge will be to find the right balance of the car with the implementation of the ‘aeroscreen’. We started from scratch and we will try to find the best direction ”.


“The most magical part of the Indy500 is its fans, who are around the garages. I will miss them so much. It is special to race in the USA, as in Daytona and Sebring, with a very close contact with the fans and I will miss it very much. Out of the car it will be a little easier, you won’t have to run around with a lot of phone cameras pointing at me. But seeing these huge empty stands will be a bit difficult.