NEWS: On Thursday, the two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso was the fourth fastest in practice for the Indianapolis 500 as strong winds restricted the number of laps done by drivers.
The Spaniard’s best lap of 219.533mph was well down on the fastest of 222.894mph set by Ed Carpenter, but only 14 drivers of the 33-car field posted representative times. The lap was by far Alonso’s fastest of the week and over a second better than he had achieved in windy conditions on Wednesday.
His presence in the race is a major draw, in both the US and around the world, and Alonso joked that the attention on him was a bonus for the other drivers, with fans allowed close to the pits at Indianapolis.
Despite a desire to work on race pace, Alonso will temporarily focus on qualifying with just one day remaining before the grid starts to fall into place at Indianapolis.
A win in Indianapolis would be the second leg of motor racing’s ‘Triple Crown’ for Alonso, having already won the Monaco GP in the past and just the 24 Hours of Le Mans remaining.
Alonso will try hard to utilise five days of practice this week to get into the best possible shape for qualifying on Saturday and Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which comprises just four left-hand turns but is an extreme challenge for drivers.
Alonso is driving for Andretti Autosport, which has won four Indianapolis 500s, including last year’s race with Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Alexander Rossi at the wheel of the Honda-powered Dallara.
The Indy 500 is known as the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, where the world’s greatest open-wheel drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series race for the coveted Borg-Warner trophy. It is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivalled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix. This year marks the 101st running of the race.