Formula 1

Fernando Alonso outlines the main challenges of converting to an IndyCar

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Former Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, spent a day getting to grips with the difference between an IndyCar and an F1 car as he prepares himself for his one-off race at the Indy 500 later this month.

Alonso did 110 laps in the Andretti Autosport team car in a private test at Indianapolis on Wednesday which included 40 laps as part of the Indy 500's Rookie Orientation Program (ROP). He then did a few runs at higher speeds that culminated in a rapid top speed of 222.5 miles per hour.

This was the first time the Spaniard had driven a race car round an oval circuit, and he admitted that it took him some time to build up the courage to take Corner 1 flat out.

"So the first couple of laps, you lift off and then you go in the corner, so you start feeling the grip, the car, and you try to follow that target [time for the ROP] that you need to reach at the end of the lap in terms of the speed," Alonso said, as per ESPN.

"So that was one thing. And then at one point, they told me, OK, you're done with all the limitations, so you just need to do 15 laps above 215. So run free as you feel.

"And I knew that Marco [Andretti, who shook down the car before Alonso's test] was flat out in Turn 1, so I said, I will do flat out now in Turn 1 because the car is able to do it.

"So I arrived to Turn 1, and I was convinced 100 per cent that I was doing flat out, but the foot was not flat out, you know, it has his own life, it was not connected, my brain with the foot at that moment.

"So at the second or third lap, I was able to do it. But in the first lap, it was definitely a very good feeling to be able to feel the respect of the place, the respect of the car, the respect of the speed. It's something that for any racing driver, it's just pure adrenaline, so it was a good day."

However, the completion of his ROP means he is now clear to take part in the Indy 500.

Speaking at a press conference after his test, Alonso stated that he was pleased with his tests, but remained wary of the challenges that lie ahead.

"I think there are a couple of things that I'm definitely not up to speed on," he added.

"One is the traffic thing, I think we need to go step by step. Today was just running alone and trying to feel the car, the circuit and all the things that are involved with this technique.

"Second will be setting up the car. The guys make constant changes to the car. One on the steering wheel while running, and those on the pit lane, those tiny changes, tuning the car perfectly on the week for the qualifying and then doing the same for the race, and sometimes also on the pit stops, getting up to speed until the last part of the race.

"So these are the things that we need to hopefully learn in the first days of free practice and, as I said many times, I'm with the best team possible for that.

"Even for the traffic thing, we are six cars [in the team]. So we will make sure that I will arrive ready on Sunday 28th with a lot of laps behind cars."

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