They say that in the 500 miles of Indianapolis there are two types of pilots: those that have crashed against the wall and those that are going to crash. From this Wednesday, Fernando Alonso belongs to the first group. The Spaniard had 46 laps of the second day of free practice on the American track when he lost control of his McLaren. I was trying to catch the slipstream of Graham Rahal, his car subverted too much and ended up touching the outer wall of turn 3. The consequence was that the car ended up spit to the other side, while Alonso could only resign himself until the ball of 'pinball' in which he had become parase.
The pilot came out completely unscathed, more hurt in his pride than anything else. And it's that two days of free practice, two days of problems. On Tuesday it was an electrical breakdown that delayed his work day and this Wednesday was an accident. It is neither the first nor the last, but it is certainly something that I did not expect.
"Error on my part underestimating the grip of the curve 3. I am sorry for the team and the guys who will have to work hard now. Lesson learned », wrote Alonso on Instagram after the accident. Healthy and in perfect condition, but discouraged to see himself off the pavement so soon, since he had not even reached his fiftieth on his second day of work. When he hit, he was 16th in the standings with a best lap of 225.433 mph on average. «I had understeer. Even if he got up, he could not help it. I lost all the aerodynamics of the front area. Fortunately, it happened today … », said Alonso on television.
It is not being the week of preparation dreamed for the Asturian, but the generalized sensation is that it has not been lost much. Those who see the glass half full are confident that this blow could make Alonso use the Dallara chassis of McLaren mounted by Carlin, his partner in this edition, since the accident is the car 'B', which they rode in Woking. Given the experience of the trainer, maybe there is something wrong that does not come well, but the problem is that this chassis has only played one day of tests, at the Texas circuit one month before. Not even Gil de Ferran, McLaren's sporting director for the 500 miles, knew what to do and will evaluate it in the next few days.
Six months of preparation, many doubts
Alonso's options in this edition of the Indianapolis 500 are slightly lower than in 2017. Unlike that year, in this 2019 McLaren is on its own, with the support of Carlin and its own capabilities, which are not few. In a test like the one of the 'brickyard', in which to win is a chimera even for legends like Mario Andretti (29 participations, only one victory), to arrive and to win is a dream.
In 2017 they had the technical muscle of Andretti Autosport, commanded by Mario's son, Michael. Now it's Bob Fernley, a personal bet from Zak Brown, the former head of the Formula 1 team, who is in charge of the project, always under the watchful eye of Gil de Ferran, the team's sporting director. Everything began to prepare in November 2018, when the adventure was launched effectively and began to develop the chassis Dallara IR12 to install after the Chevrolet 2.2 biturbo V6 engine with which they completed the car in March. There are 20 people dedicated exclusively to the Indianapolis project, with the sole objective that Fernando Alonso can conquer the most difficult victory (according to his own words) of his extensive professional career.
There are still a couple of days of free practice until Saturday when the time of truth comes with the first classification and then, on Sunday, with the 'pole day' and the 'bump day'. There is room to solve the problems, but while Alonso and McLaren suffer to shoot a full day according to the plan, the rest of the rivals advance in their set-up. As optimistic as they want to be, it is not the dream start, far from it.
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