Two-time Formula One champion and 2017 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year Fernando Alonso tested an Andretti Autosport Indy car on Wednesday at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. It was the first time that the 37-year-old Spaniard has driven an Indy car on a track other than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
In his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in May 2017, Alonso qualified fifth for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and led 27 laps before a mechanical failure ended his race in 24th place after completing 179 laps.
Alonso participated in a short question-and-answer session during the test:
Q: Talk a little bit about your experience today. You kind of got experience with two things in the car: wet, a little bit wet and dry, right?
“Yeah, it was a good day, a fun day. I love to test new cars and to test the Indy car on a road course is something special. I’ve been lucky enough to test it in wet conditions, in intermediate conditions and in dry conditions, so overall I had a good feeling on every type of track. The weather was good for us today – a little bit of wind in the afternoon but overall a positive day.”
Q: You’ve now driven on a superspeedway and a road course. Which one do you prefer?
“Probably my instinct will tell me road course because it’s what I’ve been used to doing all my life, but the Indy 500 was an amazing experience, so 50/50. I think I love the way the car feels on a road course, but I love the way you compete on ovals, timing the tows, traffic and all the overtaking maneuvers I think are a little bit easy on the ovals, so in terms of track action, I loved the Indy 500.”
Q: Do you call this kind of a bucket list item for you just getting to drive different things and new experiences?
“Yeah, definitely. It was something that I was looking for last year already. I had some options to test the car on a road course after the Indy 500. We didn’t find the time but this year it’s definitely happened now and I’m happy for this. I love being behind a steering wheel, and definitely a new car, a new experience, learning a lot of things from the team, the engineers, everyone, so a happy day.”