RHR: Communication with a one-off like Alonso sometimes a "weakness"

Fernando Alonso's Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay has been quite impressed with the two-time Formula 1 World Champion over the month of May.

RHR: Communication with a one-off like Alonso sometimes a "weakness"
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Michael Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda, Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda, Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Jay Howard, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Borg-Warner Trophy

Hunter-Reay, one of just five drivers in this weekend's race to have won both an IndyCar title and the Indianapolis 500, has only positive things to say about Alonso's American open-wheel debut.

The Spaniard has been "very professional" so far with Hunter-Reay noting, "I can tell why he’s a two-time World Champion. He certainly has the talent and he adapted very quickly to a very different discipline of racing. Obviously race day is much more different than practice, but I’m thoroughly impressed with his approach and he’s been a great teammate."

But if there were to be a a chink in the No. 29 team's armor, it may come from communication. "He knows what he’s doing. It’s just a matter of communication and with a one-off effort, that’s sometimes the weakness, the lack of communication," explained Hunter-Reay. "Just missing that one bit of information when he needs it at that time. It’s very tight, it happens very fast in pit lane. You saw what happened to us last year. That could be a shortcoming, but knowing the group they have on that car, I don’t see it happening."

In the 2016 Indy 500, RHR had what many believed was the car to beat, but he was robbed of a shot at the victory when his teammate Townsend Bell ran into him in the pit lane - a one-off effort much like Alonso's.

The veteran driver hasn't only adjusted to the competition side of IndyCar in his short time here, but the culture off the track as well. "He’s been a great sport about it," added Hunter-Reay. "In IndyCar, we do a lot more of these fan appearances and community involvement than they do in F1 and he’s been a great sport about it.

"But yeah, he’s been a quick study on this whole deal and gotten right into it."

And after a near-infallible month of practice and qualifying, Alonso has asserted himself as one of the drivers to beat come race day. He will start the 101st running of the Indy 500 from the middle of the second row in the fifth position.

 

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