McLaren have granted Fernando Alonso permission to miss the Monaco Grand Prix on May 28 so he can pursue his dream of winning the famous Indy 500.
The Spaniard flew to the US after the Russian Grand Prix – where his McLaren-Honda failed before the race even started – to register his first laps in an IndyCar machine yesterday.
“I think there are a couple of things that I’m definitely not up to speed on,” Alonso said.
“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.
Fernando Alonso had his first run out at the Indianapolis circuit
“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 on that aspect, I am not up to speed.
Fernando Alonso has endured a woeful start to the F1 season with McLaren
“I am not able at the moment to feel the car or the small changes that we can make to the car, because I’m not driving the car – the car is driving me around at the moment.”
Despite his experience of 276 Grands Prix, Alonso was still required to complete the Rookie Orientation Programme as an IndyCar first-timer.
Afterwards he was let loose to see how fast he could go round the track, but encountered an unusual problem when attempting to take Turn 1 at full speed.
“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,” Alonso added.
“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.”