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Alonso one of the best ever, says de Ferran

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Alonso one of the best ever, says de Ferran
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May 19, 2017, 9:42 AM

Fernando Alonso's driver coach, 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, has described the Spaniard as "one of the best racers" he has ever seen.

Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Jay Howard, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda

The 49-year-old believes Alonso is as well-prepared as any rookie driver could be to perform well on debut in the race.

"Watching Fernando, it's clear to me that he's one of the best racers that I've ever seen," de Ferran told Motorsport.com.

"He's really good at positioning himself on the first lap, for example, that's why you often see him making a lot of places on the first lap because the first lap is not about taking risks, it's about seeing what's happening in front of you and positioning yourself in the right way to take advantage.

"I don't want to raise or lower expectations. Suffice to say, he's a very good racer and as good as anybody I know. He's in as good a position as anybody I know to meet that challenge as a newcomer."

De Ferran describes himself as an" extra pair of eyes" for Alonso during the Andretti Autosport driver's preparations for the Indianapolis 500.

He says he is well-placed to assist Alonso because he understands the Formula 1 culture the McLaren driver comes from.

The Brazilian raced in Europe prior to switching to IndyCar in 1995, and was sporting director of the BAR/Honda F1 team from 2005-2007.

"I raced a lot in Europe and I think that's helpful," said de Ferran. "I understand some of the technologies and processes that he is exposed to quite well, even though I haven't worked in F1 for 10 years. I'm not in the north pole in complete isolation, I have followed progress quite closely.

"So I understand what he is exposed to and, to a large extent, the differences he's facing here."

De Ferran insists that he is not drawing on his own rookie experience in the Indianapolis 500 from 1995 to help Alonso.

This is because he was a less experienced driver when he made the move, whereas Alonso is already established as a top-liner.

"I was younger and a lot less experienced than Fernando is today," said de Ferran.

"He arrives here as a two-time Formula 1 world champion, someone who has done F1 forever, who has been exposed to a lot of different things.

"So what I felt here when I was 26 years old as a guy straight out of what today is GP2, it's a different experience. So I'm not drawing too many parallels there."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Fernando Alonso Shop Now
Author Edd Straw