Alonso: More speed to come in Fast Nine shootout

Fernando Alonso says there is more to come from the McLaren Honda Andretti in tomorrow’s Fast Nine Shootout after finishing seventh in the the first day of qualifying for the 101st Indianapolis 500.

Alonso: More speed to come in Fast Nine shootout
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda and team official qualifying portrait
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda and team get their official qualifying portrait after his qualifying run
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda and team get their official qualifying portrait after his qualifying run
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda reacts to the Sébastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing Honda crash
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda

The two-time Formula 1 world champion set a four-lap average of 230.034mph on his IndyCar qualifying debut, but admitted he did not extract the full potential of the car on the second half of the run.

“The laps I could improve a bit, I was not extracting the maximum from the car,” said Alonso. “I keep learning. Tomorrow, I will use that lesson and be quicker.

“The team did a fantastic job to put me in a car that was able to run 230[mph laps], but there is still more to come. I didn’t maximize the potential of it in Laps 3 and 4.”

Alonso said that work can also be done to improve the handling of his car, both in terms of the overall downforce level and the setup detail.

After his run, he complained of oversteer over the radio to his team. This became more of a problem in the second half of his run, with his pace dropping from 230.337mph and 230.260mph on his first two laps to 229.845mph and 230.034 mph on the last two.

“We need to review the downforce level,” said Alonso when asked by Motorsport.com about what changes he wished to make. “When we ran, it was quite hot in that moment so we will see tomorrow what the conditions are when we are running and will decide on the exact level of downforce.

“On the setup change, probably we can do small tweaks to make the run a little more comfortable and more consistent hopefully.”

Alonso added that when he had his first run at Indianapolis on May 3, it would have been “unthinkable” that he would make the Fast Nine in qualifying. After that test day, followed by five days of practice ahead of Saturday qualifying, he admitted to being surprised to have made it.

“It was unthinkable probably… Not because you don’t trust yourself or whatever, but there are many little ingredients here that you need to put together to find the right recipe.

“There is the wind, the trim, the high boost you only have a few laps to test with on Fast Friday and today the conditions changed every single lap.”

Alonso said that he will gun for pole position tomorrow, even though he says it would be a surprise to top tomorrow’s shootout.

“Everyone will pick up speed tomorrow. After today’s run we will tune the car a bit and try to be a bit more competitive,” said Alonso.

 “When I close the visor, you have to be sure I will go for it.”

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