Alonso to start Indianapolis 500 from second row

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso has qualified on the second row of the grid for his first attempt at the Indianapolis 500.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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85 comments on “Alonso to start Indianapolis 500 from second row”

  1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    22nd May 2017, 1:04

    Alonso’s indycar adventure has been a breath of fresh air in this hybrid era of formula one. Far more interesting than the Formula 1 season atm.

    1. So why wasting time watching F1?

      1. Because in two weeks time Fernando will be back in F1.

    2. It’s interesting because it is unique. If Alonso had been racing in Indycar since 2014, it wouldn’t be as interesting. Just like hybrids aren’t as interesting as they were back then.

    3. Fukobayashi (@)
      22nd May 2017, 10:05

      I have to say Alonso is really outshining F1 as a whole at the moment. Seb and Lewis who?

      1. @offdutyrockstar Lol. Alondo outshining F1, based upon what ?. Vettel and Lewis who ?, the two guys who has more WDC’s then Alonso..

        1. Fukobayashi (@)
          22nd May 2017, 14:30

          @patienceandtime don’t get upset, i’m speaking purely in terms of headlines and media attention, not racing ability.

          1. Yeah. I bet Hamilton would get similar ammount of headlines in indy… But not so much Vettel.

      2. Multiple world champions earning at par with FA if not more, slightly younger and have some chance this year to become WDC again.

      3. it seems you joined F1 with Honda couple of years ago. Alonso is a fantastic racing driver, Vettel is fantastic driver and racing car nerd. To compare alo with hamilton just go watch season 2007 boy.

      4. I love the fact Alonso fans are so salty this year. It adds to the amusement of Alonso getting a good dose of Karma every season.

        1. Karma you say? Let’s see…
          -Two time WDC, defeating Schuey both times.
          – Widely recognized as the greatest driver of his generation.
          – 35 million dollars a year for his services.
          I’d call that a blessing, not karma:)

          1. Racerdude7730
            22nd May 2017, 19:57

            Never was an Alonso fan but this year something just clicked with me and I think it’s happened with others also. We would all be better off having him fight Seb and Lewis in a 3 way fight this year. No one would be needed just those 3

    4. To be honest, I was completely underwhelmed by the Indy qualifying. Formula 1 is far ahead in terms of TV spectacle at least. Putting aside the dubious pleasure of seeing drivers go round a circle, alone, monotonously, where’s the excitement in seeing an average of four laps being clocked up? Nothing like the adrenalin of a one lap timing. The only ‘real time’ information was a 1970s style speedometer bar clunkily indicating 1st, 2nd, whatever. The cars look truly terrible. No atmosphere at the track. The coverage is chaotic. Viewers are given no idea when the procedure is going to start. In all, dull and completely amateurish. Alonso swapped Monaco for that? I appreciate he wants the race on the CV, fine. But the idea that Formula 1 needs to copy Indycar racing, on this evidence, seems ludicrous. OK, I’ll try watching the actual race too.

      Just my opinion, obviously.

      1. yes just your oppion, but time for cross reference ill give you some eye openers on this great race:

        driving at 230mph lap average is not simply “driving in a circle” – and there are actually 4 turns . put this into comparison, so many f1 fans love the 2 super fast left hand 300kmh turns at Spa and Suzuka, yet at Indianapolis you get 4 such turns, and at 370kmh and far less downforce- one error and you are in the wall. one turn every 10 seconds, side by side racing for 800km (an f1 race is 300km).

        another thing I must note, a lot of F1 fans miss the old pre chicane tracks like Monza, Hockenheim, and they loved the 360kmh top speed and slipstream passing, again at Indianapolis they are always at the speed and constant slipstreaming – and it is super focus, high concentration for the drivers for 800km.

        yes the cars are ugly in this generation of indycar, but f1 has gone through many ugly eras also hey?.
        at least the sound is better than f1, and reverberates across the whole stadium, fans see much more of the race then on an f1 pit straight grand stand.

        4 lap times, and driving 1 at a time is great for 2 reasons – 1. the track is only about 40 seconds long – so essentially it is a 2 and a half minute timed run. 2. – a driver cant pick up a slipstream for an advantage if all cars were on track, which is very big on this track. a driver also doesn’t have a chance of being blocked and having to going off the racing line to pass a slower car through one of the 4 turns.

        1. +1 This is pure gold…all Indy nay sayers should read it!

          PS I am also a hardcore F1 fan, but do enjoy Indycar racing as well.

        2. kpcart, I appreciate the skill and courage required, that’s not in doubt. What I meant, in part, was the packaging. Like I said, even despite all Eccclestone’s flaws over popularizing F1, the latter seems a lot more accessible to a TV audience.

        3. This…

          And more like Fernando Alonso going 3 wide on the inside line in to turn 1…

          Indy 500 is the pr0n of motosport. Few corners few straights, not much of a story or twisted plot. Just straight up overtaking mania.

          No DRS, no lame tires, almost single spec 33 car race. Nearly double that of F1 field, I am hooked.

          Granted for someone who likes Spa, Imola, Donnington, 4 left corners might be a bit lame.

          But even a practice session produces closer racing than your average F1 race.

          In any case on sunday first Monaco, second but not least… Indy 500. And I will probably have more fun watching Indy.

          1. I totally agree

      2. There appears to be millions of people around the world that don’t share your view.

        1. And Billions that don’t even bother watching it. Your point?

      3. Indy qualifying does not need tweeked like F1 qualifying has been over the years. Qualifying for the Indy 500 has always ran 4 laps taking the average. Why mess up tradition? Like F1 did?
        The excitement of bump day is what is missing this year. 33 starting spots with 40 qualifyers would have made for a bit more drama.
        The crowd on race day will be impressive as well. I don’t think Alonso has raced in front of a crowd as big as Indy.
        I can’t imagine anyone saying there is no atmosphere at the track. I was in the garage and pits for some of the Indy 500s in the 1990’s. Arriving at the track is impressive alone, the sheer size is incredible. And the tradition of who had won there before… if anything, Indy’s atmosphere is incredible.

      4. @David BR

        I guess you didn’t see Sebastien Bourdais crashing the previous day at turn 2? In the hospital with fractured pelvis and hip?

        A couple of drivers had moments at T2 on Sunday (at 228 mph). Rossi had taken out some downforce to go for pole and he had a pretty sketch run in T2 a couple of times. The trick is that like in F1, the tires do go off after the first lap, so the drivers are constantly battling with changing grip.

        Could the TV broadcast capture the drama of all that better? Sure, no question. But that’s different from that drama not being there at all.

    5. This whole experience is a life changer for him. To compete in the worlds biggest race, on it’s biggest stage, at these hyper fast speeds. The team environment in IndyCar is an eye opener for him. He may find it very hard to skip next years 500, even if whoever he is driving for (in F1?) is doing well. He’s hooked! I think we’ll see Fernando running IndyCar full time sooner rather than later.

      1. Next year Mercedes or Indy.. You heard it here first.

        1. invisiblekid
          23rd May 2017, 23:17

          Um, no, we didn’t.

  2. I really loved watching the qualifying for Indy 500! Watching the different cars, how due the nature of oval driving the cars are asymmetrical, how qualifying is 4 laps and they measure average lap speed rather than lap time.

    It was all very interesting and the only reason I watched it was because Alonso was driving. So many thanks to Alonso, Honda and McLaren for making this happen!!

    1. Fukobayashi (@)
      22nd May 2017, 10:05


    2. Tony Mansell
      22nd May 2017, 11:17

      Yes it was fantastic, scary as well, especially when Ferdy was on. Brushing the wall at 230mph is just mind boggling. Another upside was hearing our own Keith Collantine give some European perspective on the commentary when the US went to adbreaks.

      Downsides- cars look awful, more suited to soapbox challenge than the brickyard

      1. spafrancorchamps
        22nd May 2017, 12:46

        Reading Keith was the commentator was a very nice surprise. I didn’t know that beforehand. Nice to hear it from his perspective indeed.

  3. “I don’t have any guarantees to do in the good way, it’s better to stay away”

    Maldonado’s honest reflections on his driving abilities are truly honourable.

    1. pastaman (@)
      22nd May 2017, 4:32

      I think he was saying the team that wanted to sign him wouldn’t be able to deliver him a good car.

      1. Considering his oil sponsorship dried up, no F1 team would ever consider signing him.

    2. “I discovered there is something more interesting than F1 in life,” he said.

      Sounds like a bit of sour grapes.. but then again what else would you expect from Pastor

      1. I don’t think thats fair nor accurate mate. He was never my favorite, but lets keep the driving and human qualities separate:

        I saw the interview, and he comes across as a man at peace. I hope he leads a happy life.

        1. @bamboo

          Not saying it’s true. Was just counteracting one ridiculous statement with another.

          1. Sorry. Wrong reply in the wrong place

  4. Racerdude7730
    22nd May 2017, 1:31

    Impressed with Alonso more and more. Most of all it makes me happy because of how happy he is. If you watch his post qualifying interviews with ABC or Racers he seems like a kid and also has that killer racing spirit back in him knowing he can fight for the win! I love it

    1. Well he would have to go back 960 days (2014 Japanese Grand Prix) to be starting this far up the grid!

    2. This. That Alonso smile was back. You remember the one? Him celebrating from the top step of the podium, Schumacher by his side, jumping and gleaming ear to ear. I don’t care much for Indy car anymore. I’m not a McClaren fan. However this week has been amazing. I am completely enthralled watching that guy reemerge.

  5. Sundar Srinivas Harish
    22nd May 2017, 1:37

    Off-topic (but I believe that it should have been covered in the round up) – such a shame that Bourdais will be missing the rest of the season, and also a potential Le Mans class win with that sexy GT. It is a relief to see that he is alright otherwise.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ramifications of the accident go further than this season.

    2. Pelvis injuries are horrible and have the potential to really affect his life going forward. I’m really saddened by this. And it’s not off topic, because the risks to any drivers, especially F1 dabblers, at this track are very serious. Personally, I find it a bit hard to watch knowing that any kind of crash can fling the car straight into concrete at aircraft talk-off speeds. It’s not like F1 whether, for the most part, a car will hit gravel or scrub off speed before hitting something solid. This is Russian roulette 4X every lap.

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        23rd May 2017, 6:56

        That would be terrible. He is easily among the most talented multiple-discipline drivers of his generation, fingers crossed that his injuries are not that severe.

  6. What dross, the folks here are right, you must be smoking some real good stuff. But I do agree that Fernando did a great job to qualify 5th, hope his race is as good or better.

  7. First time I’ve watched qualifying live and a pretty entertaining 2 hours (helps that I’m in the Midwest rather than my usual British home). Dixon deserved pole for his first lap at 232.5mph alone, that was a monster of a lap.

    It also says everything that I was able to buy 2x tickets for the 500 earlier this afternoon for $163 (£120) for race day (turn 2 grandstand, general admission on the grass banks infield is cheaper) and about the same for a hotel the night before, also booked today (8 miles from the track, same money). Haven’t forgotten spending AUD$600 (~£300 at the time), admittedly for all 4 days of the 2012 Australian GP but that was for one ticket and the race alone was AUD$400 for a grandstand seat. It’s still possible to get cheap tickets for even the 500 and Indy races are generally more interesting than modern F1 (both road/street races, as well as ovals).

    Won’t be my 1st oval race as I went to Milwaukee and Fontana in 2014, both around $60 per seat at the top of the grandstand at the start/finish line. F1 race tickets are simply overpriced for what I consider to be poorer racing, despite having watched it for 25 years.

    1. Even I want to be trackside at the Indy 500 now to watch McLaren and Alonso give it a go. Sadly I can’t, but I’ll be watching. Have fun!

    2. @skydiverian, 105,000 people at the French MotoGP yesterday, and wow, did they get a good race.

    3. I was on the inside of turn 3 back in 1995. Inside-of-turn seats on an oval just isn’t worth the expense. If you’re at Indy, don’t just soak in the venue AND pay for a view of a couple turns, one of the short straights, and a long straight. With your ticket, you get to watch them rocket off for a kilometer, so enjoy!

  8. “I was quite close to coming back but I decided not to. But if I don’t have any good feeling, if I don’t have any guarantees to do in the good way, it’s better to stay away – so I turned them down.”

    Which team is he talking about? Sauber?

    1. Neil (@neilosjames)
      22nd May 2017, 8:04

      I can’t think of anyone else it could have been – unless it was Manor, pre-collapse, trying to grab some funding from him in order to survive…

      1. Can be either one of them.
        Manor needed the money, and Monisha always has extra seats available ;)

        1. @f1-liners
          Funnily enough, they actually had a seat to spare in the first couple of races … Good job thinking ahead, Monisha!

  9. I think it is the first time I hear a team complaining because they tested something and made them worse at designing a car.

  10. Haha. Engine failure again .

    But now the good part. Fernando on row two 3 weeks after driving the car first time. Guy has a serius need for speed.

    1. Well it is a Honda. Lol.

  11. re. you previous 2 entries, @dimsim.
    I trust you can ‘read’, but doubt you ‘comprehend’.

  12. @keithcollantine thanks for the caption choice! :)

    Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the Indy quali, but I will definitley be tuning in for the race!

    Am I the only one looking forward to seeing Jensen back in F1, albeit for only one race, but I really hope we see something special from him (if the car engine allows it) he’s got nothing to lose and the car appears to have a great chassis!

    1. Martin Hooper
      22nd May 2017, 21:32

      You can see all the sessions on Youtube by the look of it.

  13. Tony Mansell
    22nd May 2017, 9:22

    Those pics were brilliant. SOOO much more characterful than the boring pin sharp digi stuff we get fed of a car mid corner that could be sat on a stand or the Omni fake blurring by sweeping the camera. There’s a gap in the market for a photographer who takes pic’s of cars over the edge of grip. Thanks though.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Amazing pictures, especially the ones following a moving car.

  14. Robert McKay
    22nd May 2017, 9:38

    Presumably the only real problem Alonso faces is the better the time at Indy, the worse the comedown is when he gets back to the F1 day-job?!

    1. Good point. It will be tough going back. This is a life changing experience for him.

  15. Fukobayashi (@)
    22nd May 2017, 10:26

    I think the biggest thing i’ve noticed watching the Indy 500 coverage this weekend was that it feels like F1 used to. It has a human element from the coverage to the reactions to the actual raving which makes modern F1 look quite sterile.

    1. Fukobayashi (@)
      22nd May 2017, 12:39

      *racing, not raving LOL

  16. Fukobayashi (@)
    22nd May 2017, 10:30

    Re: Maldonado – yes he was cr*p most of the time but he’s still better than Palmer! And Stroll for that matter, his two ex teams had to go some way to replace such a legendarily bad driver.

  17. I am captivated by the Paul’s use of film to capture those pictures. Some wouldn’t be noticed if the medium was digital, but film requires a level of skill that isn’t so essential with the digital medium.

  18. Wow, Keith, a bit more cheek than usual in your tweet, eh? Nice! Haha!

  19. Anyone here really wish Alonso would bring his Indy helmet to F1? The old-school simplicity is visually stunning in a way.

    1. I agree! Absolutely love his Indy helmet. It’s much better than the one he’s wearing in F1.

    2. Totally agree! In addition to the car having a proper amount of orange, that helmet is beautiful.

  20. I have to say, I’ve become a born again Alonso fan.

    I had written Alonso off as a narcissist who made decisions that I found morally and ethically dubious off the track. I had also grown quite tired of his attitude and all the press bigging him up as the best driver on the grid. But seeing how he has approached and respected The Indy 500 this month has converted me. As a bonus I’ve learned a lot about racing and the differences between IndyCar and F1 in the process.

    As an Indiana native who grew up going to the race, seeing the effort he has put in and the respect he has for the 500, Gil deFerran, and the Andretti team warms my heart. It truly seems genuine and I’m glad to see him enjoying himself.

    1. Yes, Alonso is bit of a Narcissist and self-indulgent but no doubt a genius behind the wheel of a racing car. I really, really would like to see him win this one.

  21. Thanks for the link to the photographs.

    ‘Nando is doing really well.

  22. As a photographer and F1 fan I totally appreciate the photos taken with the vintage camera. Beautiful work. Thanks for the Bored Panda link!

  23. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    22nd May 2017, 17:57

    RIP Nicky Hayden


  24. Takuma Sato qualified ahead.

    1. Takuma is quite good actually.

  25. I had to laugh at the “unlike modern cameras, which can take as many as 20 frames per second, his 1913 Graflex can only take 20 pictures in total.” Read down a bit further in the article and you learn, “I can go through a lot of film with no results … having shot over 3000 frames,” he ended up with 18 that were fit to publish, some of which are, erm, a bit blurry.

    Never had much time for retro-fetish photography. If you want a picture that looks arty, take a proper one and then diddle with it in Photoshop.

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