Fernando Alonso, who endured a frustrating home grand prix in Barcelona, says he’s already anticipating the challenge of competing in the 101st Indianapolis 500.
After qualifying his McLaren MCL32-Honda in a surprisingly strong seventh in Spain, he fell to 12th on raceday having made contact with Massa on the opening lap and lacking the power to make up significant ground to fight back into the top 10.
But in an interview with NBCSN after the race, he spoke enthusiastically of his chance to drive the McLaren Honda Andretti entry at Indianapolis Motor Speedway tomorrow, as he begins practice for the Indy 500.
“I’m looking forward, definitely, it’s a nice challenge,” he said. “First of all, tomorrow at 9am I need to be at the circuit, and at 12 I need to be in the car for free practice.
“It’s a nine-hour flight to Indianapolis, and I’ll be there tomorrow – change my mind and go to the Indianapolis [style].
“It’s going to be a great event. I’m going to enjoy it massively.”
On the subject of his expectations, he said: “The performance… I think there’s no way to prepare it. It will come naturally. If we are fast, we will enjoy, if we’re not fast we will struggle a little bit more.
“What is sure, I think I will enjoy every single minute of the next few weeks.”
The IMS's Rookie Orientation Practice and Refreshers session will run from 12 noon ET to 2pm tomorrow. The track will then be open to all 33 race entrants until 6pm.
The noon-6pm schedule will continue, weather allowing, from Monday through Friday, while Saturday and Sunday will both feature brief practice sessions before qualifying.
The following Monday will see three-and-a-half hours of more practice, but this will be the last time the cars are on track until the Carb Day (Friday, May 26) one-hour race-prep session. Then there is no more IndyCar track action until the start of the 500.