Two-time FIA Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso has revealed that his hands were tied in yesterday’s Indy500 race by issues related to the clutch of his Arrow McLaren SP car.
Following his first Indy 500 appearance in 2017, Fernando Alonso returned to the legendary motorsport competition last year, but he failed to qualify for the race due to his uncompetitive car. For this year, the Spaniard partnered with the newly-formed Arrow McLaren SP outfit, joining the team’s regular driver line-up of Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew.
The Oviedo-born’s qualifying turned out to be a problematic session that saw him secure only the 26th spot for the 104th running of the Indy 500 competition. In yesterday’s race, Alonso failed to keep up with the pace of the leading drivers, struggling with the setup of his car.
„We were struggling from the very beginning with the balance of the car with a lot of oversteer. We kept changing that balance in the pitstops, reducing the front flap, doing tyre adjustments, and then we started to be happy with the car.”
After gaining positions in the first phase of the race, technical issues on his Arrow McLaren SP car meant that he got lapped by Scott Dixon which practically deprived him of any chances to capitalize on the yellow flag periods during the second part of the 200-lap race.
"We were up to P15 around lap 110, which is where we wanted to be. Then we had a clutch problem on the car that we didn't know how to solve.
"We finished the race without the clutch, so from that point on, every pitstop we had to push the car, engage the gear and go. That cost us a lap and unfortunately, we kept that lap down until the end and we could not achieve anything more.”
Alonso’s desired target to become just the second driver in history after Graham Hill to win motorsport’s triple crown of victories at the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indy 500 did not work out yesterday. However, the 39-year-old was „happy to finish the race, cross the line and have one 500 miles in the pocket, that's the positive thing. The negative is that we were out of contention very quickly with the clutch problem.
"We tried to race, but luck was not with us today, but I'm proud of the effort from everyone in the team."
My first Indy500 completed! A great experience! ✊️— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) August 23, 2020
When we were already at half point of the comeback (P15 mid-race) we had a clutch failure..so every pit stop from there we had a manual start with mechanics pushing old school! Happy anyway! Thanks Indy ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8wmAq2KhEi