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Franchitti says Alonso Indy 500 victory bid will be “difficult”

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Franchitti says Alonso Indy 500 victory bid will be “difficult”
By:
Co-author: Edd Straw
May 5, 2017, 3:37 PM

Three-time Indy 500 winner and four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti says Fernando Alonso’s inexperience at IMS is most likely to show itself if there’s a restart in the closing stages of the 101st running of the 500.

Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
A fan of Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda

Speaking at a news conference in London, along with Mark Miles, Zak Brown and Max Chilton, Franchitti said the sheer number of potential winners and Alonso’s lack of IndyCar experience relative to the former 500 victors will make his job extremely tricky.

“It’ll be difficult, no one’s under any misapprehension here,” he said. “Talent-wise, can he do it? Absolutely. But again, inexperience – that will be the tough thing.

“If it comes down to a caution with 20, 25 laps to go, and everyone pits for new tires, that’s when all bets are off. At the start of the race, people are a little nicer to each other, and if you’ve got half a pass made, they’ll let you through. As business picks up toward the end, that goes away in a hurry! So I think that will come as a shock.

“I think [Alonso] will learn that throughout the week, he’s going to build up all that information. But it will be very, very difficult to compete with the Scott Dixons, Tony Kanaan…[two-time winner Juan-Pablo] Montoya is really hungry to win. He’s in an Indy-only deal with Penske this year. And Castroneves always seems to get it done.

“Also – and I think this is something that will be different for [Alonso] –  20 or so drivers can realistically be competitive enough to win that race just on pace, never mind strategy. He’s going to have to work very hard with his engineer to get the absolute maximum out of that car before the race starts.

“Whereas a lot of the time in F1 you’ve got what you’ve got because of the latest developments. This is about just constantly polishing on it to make sure you’ve got the best car for the end [of the race].”

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Mark Miles: Luring F1 drivers to Indy is “not a strategy”

Mark Miles: Luring F1 drivers to Indy is “not a strategy”
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