Formula 1

Video: Fernando Alonso takes to Indy500 testing for first time

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Having failed to finish a single race this year for McLaren-Honda, Fernando Alonso clearly needs a breath of fresh air for his career.

The Honda engine is constantly breaking down, and the team hit a new low having broken down on the parade lap in the Russian Grand Prix, with Alonso expressing helplessness to the media.

So missing the Monaco Grand Prix in favour of the grand Indy 500 is just what the Spaniard needs, and he seems to be enjoying himself already.

Having passed the mandatory 'rookie' test, Alonso has already begun testing in his new McLaren-Honda Andretti car, which McLaren revealed on their Twitter account yesterday, and has spoken positively about the experience.

He told the BBC: "So far it is a good experience but now starts the real thing.

"It has been a very helpful day in terms of knowing all this different world and getting up to speed a little bit.

"There's still a long way to go but I am happy with this first step."

As a different discipline to F1 racing, Indy racing is at a constant average speed of more than 200 mph, compared to 120mph on most F1 tracks, around its oval track. 

Other F1 drivers have been very successful when transitioning to Indy, such as 1992 champion Nigel Mansell, who won the Indy Car championship in his first year with Newman/Haas Racing.

Alonso's progress shows that he still has a way to go.

Last year's pole position time was set by Canadian James Hinchcliffe, with an average speed of 230.760 mph. 

In comparison, Alonso's fastest lap saw an average speed of 222.548 mph.

But the 35-year-old seemed confident, saying it was more of an issue of acclimatisation than raw speed when talking to the BBC.

"It is a good way to start to build the speed. It was probably a little bit difficult at the beginning to reach the minimum but then in the phases, it felt good.

"At the beginning, the right foot has its own brain and it was not connected to my brain. I wanted to go flat-out but the foot wouldn't let me. But after a few laps, it was fine."

If the race goes well, maybe there's a career in Indy for Alonso in the future.

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