Alonso starts 'the real deal' at IndyCar
Chicago (AFP) – Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso made his first IndyCar test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, getting a taste of the famed oval ahead of his appearance in the famed May 28 race.
The 35-year-old Spaniard is skipping this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, a race he won in 2006 and 2007, to compete in the 101st Indianapolis 500.
“I felt good,” Alonso said after his first laps over the 2.5-mile (4km) oval. “Now I need a couple more laps to start feeling the car because at the moment the car is driving itself, I’m not driving the car.”
Alonso will make his IndyCar debut in a Honda-powered entry from McLaren, the team for which he drives in F1, that is prepared and supported by Andretti Autosport, the IndyCar team owned by former F1 racer Michael Andretti.
While he has tested in a simulator ahead of his first work on the track, Alonso found it no match for the experience of taking the corners at top speed.
“The feeling in the simulator is quite realistic and you have the first impression of how it’s going to be, but the real car is just a unique feeling,” Alonso said.
“You have to go flat out in the corners. It’s not the same in the simulator and in a real car… so far has been good, but now I think starts the real deal.”
Alonso has 32 wins and 97 podiums in F1, his most recent triumph coming at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix. He won the F1 drivers championship in 2005 and 2006.