Fernando Alonso Tests At Texas As McLaren Prepares For Indianapolis 500
FORT WORTH, Texas. -- McLaren driver Fernando Alonso and his new IndyCar racing team were in Fort Worth Tuesday to shake down his brand new car in preparation for the Indianapolis 500 in May.
Alosno turned several laps on Texas Motor Speedway in what he said was a chance to get a feel for the car, which is a different aero-kit than the car he ran the 500 in two years ago.
"It was great. Obviously it's the first couple of laps and taking care of everything. Slowly building the speed," Alonso said of the test. "This speedway is quite special will all the banking, especially on turns three and four. Definitely different than Indianapolis, but certainly a good test for us.
Alonso will pilot the number-66 Chevy Dallara DW12 for McLaren at IMS in May in a partnership with Carlin Racing. McLaren has enlisted the help of former driver and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford to help Alonso along in getting the car set up to is liking.
"I drove seven years for McLaren," Rutherford said. "I think the team is wanting me to be involved to help beat the drum for McLaren and help Fernando in case he gets stuck anywhere with a question or anything."
Alonso noted after the test that the car has much less down-force than the car he drove at the 2017 Indy 500 in a partnership with Andretti Autosport. Less down-force was a sticking point in the creating of the new aero-kit by IndyCar last year.
"It's a lot trickier to drive, especially following," Alosno said. "Today's not a problem since I'm alone, but I guess it's going to be challenging. I'm not in the Andretti environment, we're all by ourselves this year. There's a lot to learn and understand. Step by step."
The two-time Formula One champion was also asked about if he is still considering joining the IndyCar ranks on a full-time basis.
"It was a possibility last year when we starting talking about everything," he said. "Right now I'm happy in Europe. I get to spend more time with my family. I was not this year, but it's certainly a possibility in the future."
Alonso finished 23rd in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2017 after exiting the race early with engine trouble.
(PHOTO: Chris Owens/IndyCar)