Alonso: F1 technology can boost Indy 500 victory bid

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Fernando Alonso believes that making use of Formula 1 technology in his Indy 500 assault can help make up for his lack of experience of oval racing.

The Spaniard returns to action at Indianapolis on Monday when official practice gets underway.

And, although Alonso impressed during a recent private test where he completed his rookie orientation programme, he is under no illusions that his more experienced rivals do have an advantage.

However, he says that making use of McLaren F1 engineering expertise, and some sophisticated systems that are not commonplace in IndyCar, could yet give him an edge.

"I think I have a lower percentage [chance of winning] than some of my opponents do," said Alonso in Barcelona before flying out to Indianapolis.

"I don't have the experience of oval racing, I don't have experience of fighting in traffic or last lap techniques or the little tricks.

"But, at the same time, the level of sophistication we have in F1 is higher than IndyCar. So together with McLaren, we will go there with some people, a group of engineers, helping Andretti's team and maybe thanks to this different approach, the more scientific approach, I will have something extra.

"I have a lower percentage [to win], but it is true that it is a race that anyone can win. There is a luck factor, yellow flags, and safety cars. But even if it is 1 per cent better, it is worth trying."

Rookie advantage

Alonso cited the example of using a reference laptime delta on his steering wheel during his IndyCar test as key to helping him pass his rookie test so quickly.

"I told the engineers to put me a reference lap from last year that was 210mph," he said. "So for the first phase I tried to be two or three tenths slower than that reference lap.

"In the next I tried to be two or three tenths quicker than that reference lap, and then I tried to be around one second quicker than that reference lap.

"I asked the engineers to put some reference on the steering wheel, which they normally don't do, so I think they [other rookies] take a very long time to pass the test. With a little help at least you control everything."

"Definitely it's a good test for me to drive there. I will learn many things. In terms of technology and sophistication, F1 is in another level. So most of my chances will be to use that sophistication that we are used to driving with here, implementing there. I need to keep it secret!"

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About this article
Series Formula 1 , IndyCar
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams McLaren
Article type Breaking news