The Alonso effect: What F1 fans said about his Indy 500 adventure


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Fernando Alonso’s Indianapolis 500 appearance introduced the race to a legion of new fans from Formula One.

What did they make of the race? Here’s what they said about it on Twitter:


For a lot of people this was their first experience of watching the Indianapolis 500. Most seemed to enjoy what they discovered, with a few exceptions.

Alonso’s performance

The praise for Alonso’s efforts was near-universal. And many also added their appreciation that he had been bold enough to skip an F1 race to compete in another series.

Honda’s failure

However his retirement from the race due to a Honda engine failure was seen as another marketing disaster for the company. They seemed to draw more criticism for that than they won praise for powering Takuma Sato to victory.

Sato: The positive

Sato’s win drew a mixed response. Many praised his achievement of becoming the first Japanese driver to win the race.

Sato: The negative

Others who viewed his time in F1 more negatively felt his success reflected poorly on the standard of competition in the race.

Positive views on the race

A lot of viewers expressed positive opinions of the race, particularly when comparing it to the Monaco Grand Prix earlier the same day.

Negative views on the race

Not everyone liked what they saw, however.


There were also calls for the date clash between the Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 to be resolved so more drivers can switch between the two series.

Points and questions

Here are some of the other points made and questions raised by fans relating to the race:

Out of the 17 races on the 2017 IndyCar calendar, only six are held on ovals. The rest take place on street courses (five races, including two in Detroit this weekend) and road courses (seven races). You can find a guide to all the circuits here.

Sato is the first driver to finish on the podium in an F1 race at the Indianapolis road course and win the Indianapolis 500. However between 1950 and 1960 the Indy 500 counted towards the world championship (despite not being run to F1 rules). Therefore the drivers who won those 11 races have Indy 500 victories and world championship podiums at Indianapolis to their names as well.

The crash involving Scott Dixon and Jay Howard, in which Helio Castroneves also had a near-miss, was a vivid reminder of the huge dangers involved in this type of racing. IndyCar has looked into increasing head protection following the crash which claimed the life of Justin Wilson in 2015. Following that crash it strengthened the tethers on its cars (known as SWEMS) which attach not only wheels to the cars, as in F1, but substantial pieces of bodywork as well, such as the nose boxes.

Over to you

Did you watch the Indianapolis 500 for the first time on Sunday? What did you make of it?

Have your say in the comments.


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Author information

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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94 comments on “The Alonso effect: What F1 fans said about his Indy 500 adventure”

  1. I watched it as well and I can’t say I was impressed. I mean it definitely is unpredictable but that makes the first half of the race uninteresting. There is so much strategy and fuel management (and luck) involved to the point of making all the passes meaningless. Also what is up with all the restarts? They totally kill the action. And they say F1 is too safe!

    1. pastaman (@)
      31st May 2017, 13:01

      Because you can’t have debris on the track when you are going 230mph, and there is no time to pick up said debris under green flag when a lap is only 40 seconds.

      1. To me passes at 220+ mph are never meaningless. They’re nail biters.

    2. Do you support DRS? I hope not, but if you do, it totally undermines your point.

      Watch the end of the 1982 Indy 500 (youtube). That is how intense and skillful oval racing can be.

      Current IndyCar has some of the same overmanipulation of regulation to induce artificial overtaking as F1, just via different methods. IndyCar basically dictates parity via spec chassis, etc. F1 bolts on insanity such as DRS. Both result in junk passing.

      Ideally, we would have best of both worlds. True constructors, as with F1, combined with racey aero-rules (tunnels, etc) as with IndyCar.

      1. BTW, I cited 1982 on purpose because it represents an intense finish where the dead-to-rights pass did NOT happen. IOW, it is not only about overtaking.

    3. @carbon_fibre I’d like to see VSC. Ever since I started watching the 500 the first 450 miles are indeed a bit of a waste of time, they set the mood and eliminate some contenders but honestly it detracts from the 500 number. Generates artificially close finishes. I understand the track is too short for these cars, without the yellow events there would be far too many lapped cars

  2. Matthew Coyne
    31st May 2017, 12:25

    Probably controversial but my view on this was not how necessarily impressive Alonso is but how Average the indycar platform is in general in terms of the talent pool. A field made up of alot of people not good enough for F1, failed F1 drivers or people who never even got to it (Some through choice, some just couldn’t get a drive).

    It is rare that someone makes a successful move from Indy to F1 (It’s a long time since that has happened) but we’ve seen moves the other way quite a lot.

    Still a good spectacle none the less.

    1. Hmmm…I don’t really feel that comfortable with the way you so easily slough off these drivers. Not every driver can get an F1 ride. More don’t than do. Right place, right time etc etc. Failed F1 drivers? Hey at least they were good enough to get into F1 to begin with.

      There can only be one pinnacle of racing and it has always been F1. Naturally an F1 driver is more likely to succeed in a spec series, than the other way around. That doesn’t mean that many of the drivers at the 500 this year couldn’t succeed in F1 given the proper circumstances. But if they go to a non-top-3 team in F1 what real chance do they have to show much, whereas going to any team in Indycar, even a lesser team, leaves a driver a greater chance for success relatively, than in F1.

      1. Personally, I think that Alonso being competitive at Indy and Hulkenburg winning Le Mans shows just how talented they are as driving an Indycar or WEC car is vastly different to an F1 car.

    2. Until all the seats in F1 are filled by pure talent, I don’t think this is a fair comparison. I think each sport has a lot to learn from the other.

    3. Not sure how long you’ve watched Indy or F1, but I’ve been watching since Jacques Villeneuve won the Indy Championship, won the Indy 500, and then spanked Schumacher for the F1 championship and almost won the 24hr LeMans with 2nd.

      Montoya was also a great driver who did amazing in CART/Indy, winning the championship, the Indy 500, and almost winning F1 several times with a 3rd, 3rd, and 4th in seasons that featured Alonso and Schumacher winning championships.. 7 wins w/30 podiums (Wiki).
      Just a few months ago, he won the Race of Champions that Vettel frequently dominated.

      I loved watching Alex Zanardi dominate CART with 2 championships but he had poor luck in F1. I could see him races there, matching or surpassing Montoya’s success, but luck wasn’t on his side. Wikipedia says he did F1 before CART and then after, so technically, no, he didn’t start in CART/Indy before going to F1.

      I stopped following CART/Indy after Zanardi/Montoya, however, I know Sébastien Bourdais did better than the others above in Indy(thank you Wikipedia) but struggled in F1 with Torro Rosso. The fact that he won in his class at LeMans and three times finished 2nd overall at LeMans proves he’s an exceptional driver that started with the Indy series.

      These are just a few I personally saw succeed in the USA before F1. I was either too young or not born yet to see the others.

      Rarely, if ever, in the last 20yrs, did top F1 drivers come to Indy/CART that started in F1. Only those that lost a seat in F1 really seemed to come over.

      It’s slowed down lately, but in the past F1 used to take and spit out new drivers regularly. It’s amazing in my opinion that Barrichello, Masa, and Button lasted as long as they did because I personally don’t think they were top drivers. Massa did well in the season against Hamilton and reciently with Williams, but for a while he didn’t impress me.
      Button’s championship was only lucky with a fast car that found a rule loophole. Outside of that, Hamilton, Alonso, and in my opinion, Perez, outdrove him.

      1. I agree with you. It’s looks like the same with Formula E, people rate it so low because there are a lot of ex-F1 drivers there, but some of them proved to be very above the level, like Buemi and Di Grassi. About Massa/Button/Barrichello, I rate Button and Barrichello very much the same, two above average drivers but not top drivers. Massa had very impressive races on Sauber (that’s why Ferrari picked him up). But he is not a top driver too. But they’re not exceptions of F1, Fisichella started more than 200 races and Heifeld almost 200.

      2. Button’s championship was only lucky with a fast car that found a rule loophole.

        I think that could be stated about almost all championship drivers in F1.

        1. @beejis60 No, especially not the rule loophole. Right now Mercedes just had the best hybrid engine combined with an aero package that’s at least on par with the best out there, that’s why they won several championships in a row. Same goed for Red Bull in the V8 era before that. But Brawn just used that loophole to create a double diffuser, which made them a lot faster than everyone else. Therefore they won 6 out of the first 7 races, but only 2 of the remaining 10 once the rest caught up. Mid season, mind you! Especially Vettel made up a lot of points in that second part, only to end up 11 points short. Were it not for his 3 retirements, Vettel would’ve been world champion in 2009.

          So yes, this was 95% pure luck. I dare you to name even one other championship (and I don’t mean something from a completely irrelevant era for this comparison like 1960 or something).

          1. But Brawn just used that loophole to create a double diffuser, which made them a lot faster than everyone else

            So like I said, the fastest car usually wins (except for maybe the 2007 and 2012 McLarens) and exactly like you confirmed….


    4. I think you’re underselling IndyCar drivers a little. There are some really fast drivers in the series (Dixon, Will Power, Newgarden, Pagenaud, and Kanaan in his earlier years) that I personally think could’ve done very well in F1. There are also a few drivers that didn’t get a great opportunity while they were in F1 (Rossi, Bourdais). Unfortunately, the prize money in IndyCar is practically nothing. Take for instance the Indy 500, which is at least 10X the purse of any other race. Most got between $200,000 and $300,000, which is less than a third of the cost of leasing an engine for the race alone. As a result, the midfield has been full of drivers ranging from mediocre to terrible. Charlie Kimball, Max Chilton (who just had his first good performance in 2 years with one of the best teams), Jack Hawksworth are just a few of the many trash drivers the series has had. They really dilute what’s a pretty solid pool of drivers in the top half of the grid. I’m not saying these guys are world champions – F1 has and always will be the pinnacle. But they’re great drivers that can rival many of the drivers on the grid in F1.

    5. petebaldwin (@)
      31st May 2017, 16:21

      I think the standard of F1 drivers is generally higher than Indycar however I’m not sure what the point is…. F1 is supposedly the “best” open wheel series – the “pinnacle of motorsport.” If you started offering bigger wages in Indycar than F1, I’m sure the trend would reverse PDQ!

    6. Who cares?

      Statisically, this is expected. IndyCar mostly pulls from the Americas, Pacific, and UK for its talent pool, with the USA pool in particular compromised by sharing with NASCAR, and AUS/NZ compromised by supercars. (Top Tier series for their countries…IOW, proper final career destinations).

      F1 pulls from these same areas, plus the rest of the world. Much bigger pool.

      And less seats.

      However, IndyCar (and other series, including even F2) does some stuff right. Most interesting track mix for example. And better aero package wrt being able to overtake without the DRS-cheat. Better push-to-pass rules. Etc. IOW, instead of knocking IndyCar (or whatever else), look to what F1 (or whatever else) can copy or adapt to improve the series as a proper sport.

    7. This line of thinking totally undermines the real racing talent required to be there. Alonso is considered by many as the best current driver in F1, which is itself considered the pinnacle of motorsport. He was also driving what is considered a very powerful car (albeit with an unreliable engine). I can’t really say he ran circles around everyone else (‘average talent pool present’). He was VERY impressive – proving just why exactly he is the best. But the rest of the field wasn’t lancestrolling either, for the most part. In the end, it was a very exciting piece of racing, and Alonso seemed to be happy as well, since he was actually competing for the win. And when the best of the best says he enjoyed it, I guess it counts for something.

    8. I think driving in F1 is much tougher than driving in the Indy500. But I wouldn’t discount the indy500 drivers. But you have to think, it’s hard to get into F1 period. Unless of course you’re a paid driver. Which a good number of drivers on the field are. And being successful in F1 highly depends on being in a competitive car. If you’re on one the back marker cars, chances are your career in F1 will be short.

  3. Everyone who has the cohones to drive super speedways deserve all the kudos they get, but Rossi winning one year and Sato the next says the most about Indy 500: It’s mostly random who will win and what’s the sport in that.

    1. While there is a degree of randomness to IndyCar results, I think this is a stretch. Indy has its top teams and top runners too, and they usually come out tops. The top 3 teams (Penske, Ganassi and Andretti) took 7 out of the top 10 spots in this years race, including 4 out of the top 5 spots.

    2. It’s mostly random who will win and what’s the sport in that?! Are you for real? We’ve just had three years of playing the “will it be Lewis or Nico this race?” Game and you complain that unpredictability in Indy is a bad thing? Have a good hard look at yourself!

      The cream will rise to the top in any sport, but as a pure racing event the 500, and for that matter the rest of the Indycar series, shows that get mix between technology and drivers right and you can still get surprising results which are 100% warranted. Sato ran at the front all race and won on merit. Rossi gambled on strategy and had a great team back him up the year before. What’s not sporting about that?

      I’d take the ‘randomness’ of Indycar over the predictability of F1 any day.

    3. I wouldn’t call it random. More drivers have a shot at winning since the competition is closer, but it’s by no means a lottery. Last year the Andretti team had the win covered. They had Rossi on an economy run to try and make it on one less stop. His teammate Carlos Munoz was running a full-attack strategy with an extra stop. If Rossi runs out, Munoz takes the lead and Andretti Autosport still takes the win. As for Sato, he’s always been strong at Indy. He’s terrible on the other ovals, but he really likes Indy. He crashed in a last-lap pass for the win in 2012, and 2014 was impressive too. He got taken out on the first lap and went 3 laps down. He made up those laps (once by chasing down the leader and twice by wave-around under caution) and worked his way up to 13th with a wrecked car. The other years he’s been quick, but either had a bad pitstop late or crashed.

    4. @balue This time around Rossi did prove that he’s as quick as anyone. I think he’d make up a worthy US f1 driver, he did well for Manor. Honestly considering what Haas thinks is a good line-up I’m really disappointed they didn’t take Rossi. I’m sure Giovinazzi is going to impress when goes there for some P1’s.

      1. I too wanted to see if Rossi could make it in F1, but in reality the only thing about Haas being a U.S. team is the fact that the money comes from here.

    5. However, the Indy 500 was also won by Team Andretti 3 out of the last 4 years, so it’s not quite as random as you think.

  4. Watched F1 & the 500 back to back and the 500 won for me hands down.

  5. Comparing Monaco to Indy is not the same as comparing the two series.

    As races go, it’s not really possible to pick two more opposite events.

    Indy was by far a better spectacle overall and usually is, but if you compare Toronto and Silverstone in July, then I would bet it’s quite the opposite.

    And as far as qualifying goes….I’ll take Monaco over Indy any day.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      31st May 2017, 14:34

      Absolutely. Judging Indycar solely on the Indy 500 is exactly the same as judging F1 solely on Monaco. If every F1 race was like Monaco, I wouldn’t typing on a site called “F1 Fanatics” because I wouldn’t be one!

    2. even the prerace show is so much more entertaining. But that’s really comparing ABC’s Indy Coverage vs NBCSN’s crappy F1 coverage.

  6. All the passes looked like DRS passes.


    1. petebaldwin (@)
      31st May 2017, 13:40

      …. what were you expecting on a track with no braking zones!?

      1. Jimmie in LA (@)
        1st June 2017, 3:15

        It is a drivers art, to use dirty air and sling yourself around and in front of another car at 230 mph, going into a corner and not lift off the gas.

        Even Alonso said his first laps that he was unable to do it. His mind said yes,but foot said no.

    2. @zapski not sure if you’re being sarcastic or just thick here

    3. Yes they all looked like DRS passes apart from not starting and ending in a Tilke chicane.

    4. They were mostly drafting passes.

  7. I loved it. Never watched and IndyCar race before, and wow. Very quick cars, reminded me why I loved racing cars as a kid! Following on from the dull Monaco race, a group of 10 watched it and cheered on Alonso. However, we all agreed afterwards that while we loved it, it was a bit of a novelty and while we would watch it again, I can’t see me watching the whole series. Probably watch the next oval race. But yeah, those cars are insanely fast and some proper racing and slip streaming. Loved it.

    1. In terms of close high speed racing and passing, the Texas Motor Speedway oval race is quite an interesting race.

    2. I actually prefer the road courses, specifically the ones in Alabama, Atlanta, and Road America. The street circuits are entertaining, but they’re street circuits, and aren’t great for passing as a rule.

  8. If Alonso will do Indy 500 next year I’ll watch it again.
    If not, probably not.
    I’m not even into Alonso for that matter. Just those two worlds meeting is what it makes it all worthwhile.

  9. It started off interesting, but after a few laps, the novelty started wearing off quickly. It ended up confirming virtually every prejudice I had held against it:
    Extreme monotony made worse by countless interruptions that fathered even more interruptions. Horrible crashes that somehow resulted in just one serious injury (Bourdais). Chaotic interference between interruptions and strategy, the former massively outshadowing the latter.
    As another fanatic put it, it felt as though the only connection between the first 80% of the race and the final 20% was attrition. If you make it through the first 160 laps without damage and on the lead lap, your chances of winning are as good as any other driver’s. And if you happen to pit on the right lap, your chances may suddenly get a lot better than those of a dozen drivers who may have spent the entire race ahead of you, outpacing you, not putting a foot wrong once.
    What was Chilton doing up there all of a sudden? He had been going backwards for three quarters of the race and fell out of the lead lap at one point. And then, a couple of conveniently-timed interruptions later, he’s not only back on the lead lap, but downright leading the race, with just the right strategy. Though I hesitate to call wild guesses, or running out of fuel in what turns out to be just the right lap, a ‘strategy’. There was no fact-based evaluation of pros and cons because that would require a crystal ball to predict the near future. They timed their pit stops by virtue of ‘let’s see what happens’. I’d call that ‘gambles’ or ‘sheer luck’, not ‘strategy’.

    So, yeah. The only aspect that somewhat interested me was Alonso’s chances of winning or finishing in one of the top places. All the evidence points to Alonso having a great time, and to a renewed interest interest in the race owing to millions of Europeans giving it a chance (including me). Good for him, good for them.

    But my criticism remains unchanged: I’ve called it a worthless race before, I’ll continue to call it a worthless race – with a small addition:
    In my opinion, the Indy 500 is a worthless race – from a sporting perspective.

    1. Your criticisms have some incredible short-sightedness and is ill-informed.
      Though you are right to say a big part of the final part of the race is getting to it, not every car on the lead lap in the final laps can win. Chilton is a great example. If you don’t have a car set up well and can’t drive it, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll win even if you restart in the lead with 10 to go. Chilton led, yes, but was flattered by the battling behind him. Once that was sorted, he was quickly demoted. He clearly did not have a good car all day and I think few expected him to hold that lead long. Furthermore, what is wrong with the endurance aspect of being there at the end? To finish first, first you must finish. Do you not follow any of the WEC, IMSA or Blancpain? Even as recently as 15 years ago, most racing involved a lot more attrition. Being there for the end is still important to racing in some categories and is not lesser in value because of it. Most oval racing is about that endurance factor, too. Especially the 500 milers. That is partly why it is such a challenge. You’re not just sprinting to the end, your looking to overcome the unexpected and withstand the difficulty in making a car go as fast as it can for as long as it can. That’s not a small engineering or driving feat.

      Pitting on the right lap is more than a crap shoot. Race strategists play the percentage game in Indy as much as they do in F1. After 101 years of racing do you really think they don’t have stats one when wrecks are most likely? Do you think they don’t pay attention to where battles are tight, how drivers are behaving? Where gaps in the field are? You are selling Indy car far short, friend. Just because you don’t understand it, does not make it random. Racing is unpredictable in all categories. To delude yourself otherwise is foolish. The reason people race or watch Indy is the same reason they race or watch F1: you don’t know what will happen. Hell, even Murray Walker had his infamous quote: “anything can happen in F1 and it usually does.” Oval racing is just as much a mix of science, skill and luck as road racing. Not all types of racing will be everyone’s cup of tea, but even if I lack interest in it, I respect the competition and competors as having gotten there through lots of skill, study and practice. If it was easy, anyone would jump in and win. But Indy car, much like F1, seeks out the most experienced and the most proven. Rising stars need years to show themselves worthy typically. The Max Verstappens of Indy are just as rare.

      If this is a worthless race, then all racing is worthless. And I don’t believe that is the case. You may not enjoy it and I’m not here to convince you to enjoy it. But I will defend Indy Car as an excellent series with excellent drivers. It is just as much a sport and just as full of talent and ability. For you to claim it’s not is an uninformed insult.

      1. @joey-poey

        You are selling Indy car far short, friend.

        I’m not your friend, mate.

        On a more serious note: I prefer to skip the bit where I quote every other sentence of your comment and (over-)analyse why I think it misses my point, is inaccurate, and whatnot. One of the reasons why I think this would be an utter waste of time is the impression that you’re not so much talking to me but rather about me. Which is not as bad a reproach as it may seem, I tend to do that from time to time as well.
        So let me take a shortcut to your conclusion:
        There is not a single aspect in your comment that I hadn’t, in one way or another, already taken into consideration. Therefore, your comment does not to change my perception the slightest.

        1. You are selling the Indy 500 short my non-friend and non-mate.

    2. Watch the raod course indy races then. Worthless is very harsh, millions of racing fans and many of the worlds best racing drivers disagree, i think you are comparing it too much to modern f1, but fair enough this is an f1 website

      1. @ kpcart

        Watch the raod course indy races then.

        I used to do that in the CART days, occasionally still today. That’s definitely not a sport I’d call worthless. It still has many flaws, I especially feel that it has taken a turn for the worse after the merge with the IRL. But I wouldn’t want to waste my breath criticising a form of racing that has many good aspects, unlike oval racing. In my opinion, of course.

    3. Jorge Olivier
      31st May 2017, 20:30

      It wasn’t always like that. It used to be real racing where in a 500 miles races one, two, three, maybe four drivers fought for the first place while other were one or two laps behind. Sometimes a driver lost one lap and recovered. It was exciting. But then they regulated the pace of the cars to make all of them race together the whole race and “improve the spectacle” -in the way NASCAR is an “spectacle”- and ruined it. Unfortunately many people like that, so I don’t see a change soon.
      By the way, it was worst just a few years ago, whit all 33 cars -or twenty something in other tracks- running within a couple of second all the distance and nobody being able to win on merit. It was simply a lottery. They changed that a little because of how dangerous it was in these cars.

      1. @ Jorge Olivier
        That’s interesting, thank you. I wasn’t really aware that things were even worse a few years ago. But I think it’s bad enough at the moment. And I don’t think oval racing would be fixable for me if they had only 3-4 drivers fighting for the win. 10 drivers competing on the same level could be awesome, but I just don’t think there’s any way to make racing meaningful by almost literally going in circles for 800 kms, when uncontrollable circumstances (who crashes when, how and where) contribute much more to the course of a race than the performance of the individual drivers behind the wheel.
        To me, oval racing in and of itself is the problem.

        1. @nase is completely on the point here. I tried to watch it, but for the reasons mentioned by @nase, I bailed out and didn’t see it to the end, and I’ll not waste my time watching oval track racing again. F1 rules, even a processional Monaco GP is way more interesting, and I conclude that Alonso must be extremely bored by his Hondicapped McLaren, since he would waste his time with this kind of circus.

  10. The vast majority of those twitter comments were of such a low quality that I have to wonder if any of those people have actually watched a motor race, in any category, from start to finish.

    You can’t compare the Monaco GP to the Indy 500 in as much as you can compare Scottish League Two to the Champions League, so don’t bother. And trying to belittle Sato, Chilton and the entire Indycar grid because an all time great did well in his first attempt while driving for a frontline team is nonsense.

  11. I’ve been watching the 500 for decades.

    When Tony George caused a split in the series due to his owning the rights to the 500, I like many was disappointed and found IRL to be watered down. The cars looked to me like rental go-karts that sounded like NASCAR cars. My enthusiasm for the series waned. Still I begrudgingly watched the 500 if no other races in those seasons, because of what it is.

    More recently I’ve had more interest in Indycar in general, including the 500, and for this recent 500 I was particularly stoked because of FA, and thoroughly enjoyed the race. Even when FA’s engine failed I considered his experience a success, and I was highly impressed with FA’s talent.

  12. It was waaaaaaay more captivating than the Monaco GP.

  13. Don’t understand those comments suggesting that Sato failed in F1, he was erratic but he had many great moments and looked as good as anyone on his best days, furthermore he started racing at the age of 20 so under such circumstances he did pretty well for himself.

    However I subscribe to the notion that the best drivers are in F1 and therefore also believe that quality of the field was a step down for Alonso, I even had similar thoughts when Max Chilton led the race.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      31st May 2017, 14:31

      One thing Sato always had was balls. He was never afraid of anything and was happy to put himself in positions other drivers would have backed away from. Unsurprisingly, on a track that requires a serious amount of balls, Sato does well.

      This is his 8th season in Indycar (a spec series where all drivers in theory, stand the same chance) and it’s his first win. He’s not a top 10 Indycar driver but he excels at this track having almost won at it previously.

      The same applies to Chilton. It’s his 22nd race and only his 4th time finishing in the top 10.

      1. Sato won Long Beach 2013

      2. A lot of these F1 Fanatics think Sato and Chilton are sucessfull at Indy car just because of this race.
        Chilton is as bad there as he was on his F1 days. Sato is pretty much on the same level, and being a cheaper series, Honda as always, is paying him a seat. Andretti got a deal with Honda and he came with the package, again.

        Perhaps they believe good drivers are Stroll, Palmer, Ericsson who crashed while overtaking the Safety Car…

    2. Duncan Snowden
      1st June 2017, 1:57

      I wonder if it’s people who didn’t actually see him in F1, or if they just have short memories. Here’s Wikipedia on the 2007 Canadian GP:

      Sato overtook the McLaren-Mercedes of world champion Fernando Alonso on lap 67, just after overtaking Ralf Schumacher and having overtaken Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen earlier in the race. He finished sixth after having a race that had seen him move from the middle of the grid; to the back of the pack and to a high of fifth before a pit-stop error caused him to move back to eleventh; were [sic. “he”?] moved up 5 places in the last 15 laps. Sato was voted “Driver of the Day” on the ITV website over Hamilton’s first win.

      The other McLaren, in the hands of Lewis, won the race; this was long before their troubles started. And all this was in a year-old Honda chassis, run on a shoestring by Super Aguri. It was only the second – and the last – time the team ever scored points. All of them bagged by Sato.

      Back in 2001, he won the British F3 championship (against André Lotterer, Ant Davidson, Gianmaria Bruni, Andy Priaulx, and Ben Collins) the Macau GP (again over Ant and Priaulx, also Heikki Kovalainen), and the Zandvoort F3 Masters (Ant, Priaulx, Lotterer, Bruni, Benoît Tréluyer, Stefan Mücke, Markus Winkelhock, Ryan Briscoe).

      It’s fair not to put him in the same bracket as a Hamilton or Alonso (few, if any, of those names from his F3 days would be either), but the guy is no slouch.

  14. Thought it was fairly boring. Quit after Alonso engine gave up.
    Mansell left F1 became Indy car champ. Says something about quality of talent I suppose.

    1. Mansell got to drive the best car in indycar… same story ad f1, best car wins. Talking about quality of talent, look at the constant stream of pay drivers in f1, and many can compete and even win in f1 – put yhem in an indycar midfieldvteam and they are nowhere

    2. Villeneuve quit Indycar before he became F1 Champ. So what?

    3. The quality of drivers might have changed just a tad over the course of 25 years.

    4. Mansell left F1 and became IndyCar champ – oddly by winning a bunch of oval races. I suppose it says something about the level of talent that Mansell couldn’t win a road race in IndyCar?

  15. I wonder how ignorant one must be to say “i’ve never heard of Indy 500 before” but thinks the Monaco Grand Prix is the most prestigious race of the world.

    F1 seems to have a lot of fans. Motorsport, not to much.

  16. How fast would go F1 car on this track? Only watched bcoz Alonso nothing special but still fun.

    1. Well who knows. Same weight and about same power but i guess the aero is a bit more refined and the hybridpackage can squeeze out little more power so F1 is slightly faster?

      On a roadcourse f1 destroys indycars.

      1. I would love this 2 (Indy and F1) on same track like Indy500 at same time racing each other. That would be ultimate pleasure 4 all fans of motorsports.

  17. It seems really unfair to take a driver on a terrible F1 team that goes without a single point year after year, put him on a competitive IndyCar team, then when he makes a rare good showing to say “Ah-ha! It proves IndyCar drivers have no talent.” Plenty of drivers have been on hopeless F1 teams and gone on to success elsewhere. It says more about how lousy their F1 teams were than it does about the quality of where they end up. I love watching F1, but the problem with the pinnacle of motorsport is that the pinnacle is so high only six drivers, at most, have a chance of winning a race. And that’s actually an improvement over the last couple of years.

  18. Kudos to @keithcollantine for being brave enough to highlight so much non-F1 motorsport on his site for F1 “fanatics”. It’s sad that there’s so much snobbery from some people that definitely consider themselves F1 fans rather than motorsport fans, but I think it’s great that Keith keeps plugging other series through content like the weekend racing wraps and these articles on the Indy500. There’s so much great racing outside of F1 – I randomly ended up watching BTCC at Thruxton on TV with my dad, who used to watch F1 in the 70s but finds the modern era much too boring; he couldn’t believe he’d been missing out!

    I don’t think F1 can survive in the bubble that Bernie has seemed obsessed with building over the past few decades. Just like the Premier League begrudgingly accepts that it needs the symbiosis it has with the lower divisions and the grassroots sport to prosper, F1 will benefit from a stronger motorsports scene.

    There’s encouraging signs that Liberty have realised this – allowing Alonso to race at Indy, the decision to allow the Supercars race at the Aussie GP to get championship status. These sorts if crossover opportunities must increase for the good of motorsport.

    Is it really likely that all the fans that the Indy500 gained last weekend will permanently switch from watching F1 to Indycars? I think it’s much more likely that IndyCar fans will seek out some F1 coverage to keep up with Alonso. And even more likely that casual fans will have been drawn to the sort of sporting culture clash that a World Cup provides or the crossover intrigue we might see if Mayweather vs McGregor ever happens – hopefully they stay on for either IndyCar or F1.

    1. Great point about Keith, who deserves a lot of praise also for stepping in when someone’s pro-F1 comment gets the facts wrong. It’s not heresy to be an F1 fanatic and enjoy other forms of racing, too. The late NASCAR great Buddy Baker used to say, “If you roll two balls down a hill, I’ll watch to see which one gets to the bottom first.” Of course NASCAR was his first love, but he watched F1 and everything else. I’m the first to admit there are plenty of American snobs, too, who see F1 and Le Mans as strictly for Europeans. People with these attitudes miss out on so much. Filet mignon is wonderful, but so are hamburgers.

    2. @graham228221 Thank you :-)

      1. Yeah that’s great commentary directed toward @keithcollantine Well said toward someone well deserving.

        What I love too is how we often hear of NASCAR and Indycar drivers watching the F1 races whenever they can even before they run their own races if they have one the same day (NASCAR almost always does since they run lost Sunday’s). These drivers are Motorsport fans, not just snobs about their own series’. They’re impressed by F1 and it’s drivers. Any F1ers that come over to try the American cars get immediate accolades for their ability to communicate to the team what the car is doing and what they feel it needs setup wise. Really cool stuff.

  19. Marc Schechter
    31st May 2017, 20:12

    Why do “fans” put so much emphasis on the “talent gap” between F1 and Indy…where do they get these assumptions from? What’s their source? It really makes no sense.

    All you have to do is play ANY racing sim…let’s say Forza6. Hop into an F1 car, and an Indycar with no assists on and try to do a competitive lap time…THAT’S a SIM we are talking about. Clearly drivers in both categories are IMMENSELY talented.

    It’s obvious to me that what determines a driver’s entry intro F1 and also success in F1 is more often (not EVERYtim) than not connections and money. Same can also be said of many Indy drivers, but overall these folks are the best drivers in the world. The comparisons are useless fodder.

  20. I am not as fond of Indycar than I am of F1, but I generally follow all races. I don’t think last weekend’s Indy 500 did justice to Indycar. There was an unusual bunch of yellows in the second half of the race, and not enough racing. The final burst was nice, but too short.

    Indycar has some definite plusses over F1 :

    – Fast cars that can actually follow each other, and even overtake without DRS and/or two consecutive 1.5-km straights (push-to-pass is far weaker than DRS since the car in front can also use it to defend).
    – Some seriously cool tracks. We F1 fans are raving about Spa and Suzuka, but watching the Indycars undulating around Barber, Watkins Glen, Road America or Sonoma is a sight to behold.

    And some definite minuses too :

    – Too many safety cars. There are already more incidents (more difficult tracks, more wheel-to-wheel action, more subpar drivers), plus any excuse will be used for artificially bunching the pack. Safety cars mean less racing, and too much randomness for my taste.
    – For us Europeans, I find it difficult to accept the shameless and over-hyped style of promotion. A lot of it is down to the coverage, but also every interview seems to feature the name-dropping of at least one sponsor.

    1. Sunday’s race had 50 laps under caution, which definitely was too much. As for the sponsor name-dropping and other hype, I guess if you’re an American you’re so conditioned to being bombarded by advertisements on TV and most radio that you don’t notice it as much. You should see an F1 race on American TV, the commercials would drive you mad. The only advantage of having F1 races come on in the middle of the night or very early in the morning in the States is that we just record them and fast-forward through the commercials. When we watch live it’s such a pain. They often split the screen and run a commercial on one side and the race on the other, but unless your TV is huge it’s so small you can’t tell what’s going on.

  21. The Indy 500 is a special beast that you can’t really compare to any other race. Looking at Monaco to Indy is comparing apples to oranges. One is a series defining race that carries with it arguably more fame and respects than winning the title. while the other is a special race for more historical reasons but doesn’t carry the same weight. It’s like comparing the Superbowl to a NHL playoff game.

  22. The thing that impressed me the most was I saw the full Qualifying and the full Race via Youtube. If they hadn’t been on Youtube then I wouldn’t have watched the race. I don’t know why there is an absence of full F1 Qualifying and Race sessions for each GP on Youtube, but I guess someone in F1 is happy at the huge marketing potential being lost.
    It is easy to overlook the importance of free video. F1 is in a competitive environment. F1 might be the premier open wheel racing car series, but they aren’t the premier WATCHED open wheel racing series, Indycar is.
    I guess there are racing car drivers who like to let other drivers pass them, but you won’t find them in either Indycar or F1, and yet that is exactly what F1 did: they moved aside and let Indycar drive passed them.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      1st June 2017, 1:02

      Probably because Sky invests a huge amount into broadcasting F1

  23. I am a race fan. I like F1 best but, know that Indycar is almost as great and so I MUST comment on some negative and, I believe, patently incorrect comment about Indycar drivers.
    It was said that those who can’t make it in F1 can succeed in Indycar because F1 is simply a better circuit with better drivers. Wrong !
    The circuits are just different and require different skills but, mostly different results in the two circuits for the same drivers were caused by and only served to prove that the CAR in Indycar or F1 races as the CAR in any auto race is the single most important factor in determining the result .
    Why did Sato win at the Indy500 while not doing well at F1 ? It was because at Indy he was driving for Michael Andretti and Andretti racing can give any good driver a fair chance to win. This is a stark contrast to F1 .
    It was said before the start of the Indy race that about 20 of the drivers had a chance to win the race and the outcome would be determined by a number of factors .
    These factors come into play in most any auto race. In addition to the driver performing well there must be good work by the entire team in preparation and execution and also a fair amount of luck. If you are driving perfectly and your pit stops are the best and your race plan is the best but a back marker spins and crashes in front of you damaging your car and putting you out of the race you are just that-out of the race.Luck matters ,to an extent you make your own luck but, not all of it and you must have it to win ( or at least avoid bad luck ).
    Contrast F1 where not 20 of 33 but, (this year ) ,only 4 of 20 cars have ,without incident , a true chance at winning. We all know that only the Mercedes and the Ferrari’s have the pace to win. The same was similar for the 2014 to 2016 seasons in that only the Silver Arrows could ,without incident ( like crashing into each other on the 1st lap ) win the race.
    In simple terms Sato NEVER had a chance to win a F1 race .
    When he got a good ride he showed what he could do. Maybe he could not drive well enough on a regular basis to win but, he could rise to the occasion and he did .
    Perhaps the major issue that is being missed by those who think that F1 drivers are categorically better than Indycar drivers is that the sports ( as Hemingway used the word “sport”) are different and thus the skill set needed for success is different .
    In Indycar one must drive with another car inches from you while you are inches from the wall and you and the other car are traveling at 230mph. There is no analog in F1.F1 is fast but , it does not have the prolonged and absolute high speed that Indycar drivers must live with .
    In Indycar one must draft the car ahead while in F1 the driver avoids such a position for concern of the dirty air causing tire wear .
    In F1 one must sense and avoid wheel spin. Coming out of low speed turns this skill is important and used on every hairpin turn and during the race’s most important 10 seconds, the start. In Indycar ther is no standing start and no low speed turns much less any hairpin turns .
    In Indycar one must smartly keep track of and use one’s push- to- pass seconds while in F1 there is no real tactical use of DRS but, rather an artificial and virtually automatic overtake installed for fan delight.
    The list goes on but, the point is that the skills are different because the race format is different and thus what is required of the drivers is different . To say that someone who does better at one must automatically do better at the other is illogical. It is like saying that since Michael Jordan was a great basketball player he would also be a great baseball player by virtue of simply being a great athlete.
    We all know what happened when Michael played baseball ( or should I say TRIED to play baseball ).
    The activities are different and so what one needs to do to succeed is different . Add to this what I mentioned before that is : its auto racing and so the AUTO is factor # 1 and its simply wrong to make the conclusion that if a driver did not do well while at F1 he must be a lesser driver for all purposes and if such a driver can succeed at Indy it is proof that Indy is as a circuit and a race inferior to F1 as a circuit.
    So, as an F1 fan who does appreciate Indycar and admires its drivers let me say: watch Indycar with an open mind and don’t make a direct comparison to F1 because while similar the two are different . Do this and you will see what many of us have seen: Indycar is great and so are its drivers.

  24. Nice onboard video of Alonso’s first few laps. Almost like you are in the car with him.

  25. Seems to me that too many people are confusing Takuma Sato with Taki Inoue.

    I guess Japanese drivers are all the same. Don’t bother learning names or driving histories.

    1. As far as Indy goes, I watched it only because of Alonso.

      I tuned in for the orientation laps, quali and the the race. It was the first time I have watched the race in full and I found it a great experience. I didn’t care much for the pre-race carry on that the Americans are known for, but once the green flag waved and the racing began I was into it. Part being drawn to the race was learning the nuances and intricacies that go into being fast and having success at the race.

      Yes, it is a bit of a lottery, but that is the nature of the race. Everyone knows going into the race that it is like this and it is factored into calculations.

      Would I watch Indy again? Probably only if there is another big name F1 driver who enters. I follow F1 for the driver skill, the technological advances and the politics. A spec series is limited in tech and the politics of Indy isn’t even in the same book as F1. So it does have a way to go to fully capture my attention, but I did enjoy the race for the pure racing aspects.

      1. If you like Open Wheel why not watch both? You should watch the next street race in Detroit. It’s a double header racing on Saturday and Sunday. Whether ovals, or 2/3’s of the schedule on Road and Street courses the racing is terrific! A much better show than F1.

  26. Kobayashi wasn’t bad; neither was Aguri Suzuki or Sato. But Yuji Ide was totally hopeless.

  27. I watched the Indy 500 for the first time. Partially because of Alonso, but partly because now I have access to a channel which broadcasts it. Previously, I’d only been able to watch Indy when they raced with the V8 Supercars at the Gold Coast. I loved it, well until the engine blew anyway. There was much shouting at the TV at that point. Some great racing action and overtakes galore. Sure, some might have been push to pass but that doesn’t detract from the skill required to keep it on the black stuff on a banked oval at 200+kph, especially if you are a ‘rookie’. I don’t think I’ll be a dedicated fan – I simply don’t have the time to watch another motorsport series – but I will certainly be watching more in future.

    1. “Sure, some might have been push to pass”
      No. NONE of it wash push-to-pass. There was no p-t-p.

  28. I don’t see why belittling Indycar drivers is necessary(by many in twitters), comparing the talent level of F1 & Indycar is a ridiculous thing. F1 is the most popular/followed Motorsport, closely followed by MotoGP.

    Since Brawn GP winning the title, I personally haven’t registered such interest & goodwill for Alonso’s Indy 500 adventure.

  29. They need to do something with those walls. Any spin going into a turn means you hit the wall so hard we pray the poor driver didn’t get killed. They need to double or triple safer em. The balls in indy is not the speeds, it’s the walls. Crazy.

  30. There are several logical fallacies that F1 fans make belittling IndyCar drivers that I’ve gotten sick off.

    1. F1 champ comes to IndyCar and wins/dominates -> F1 drivers are better than IndyCar’s
    = FALSE

    Exhibit A
    Mansell went to IndyCar in 1993 and won the championship – yes, but guess what? He won the F1 championship the year before as well, and he dominated it!
    In F1 1992 he scored almost twice the number of points as the guy who came 2nd.
    In IndyCar 1993 he won by a small margin, with less than 5% points difference.
    Winning the IndyCar championship was harder and the only logical conclusion is the opposite to the popular claim.

    Exhibit B
    Fernando Alonso had great pace at Indy500. OK.
    The argubly greatest F1 driver ever – and a racing car driver as well – was Michael Schumacher – the 7 time world champion, and guess what? Fernando Alonso destroyed him twice and won the championship beating him in only his 4th season at the age of 24.
    So, the best drivers F1 had to offer weren’t enough for Alonso. But suddenly we denigrade the IndyCar field because Alonso looks great there as well???

    Exhibit C
    IndyCar champions who are given top F1 cars achieve the same amount of success in F1 as their counterparts.
    Jacques Villeneuve, as the raining IndyCar champ, started his F1 career from a pole position, came 2nd in the championship and won it the next year.
    Juan Pablo Montoya came to F1 during the era of Ferrari dominance and was argubly Schumacher’s most fierce competitor, e.g. winning 7 pole positions in 2002, one of the most lopsided seasons ever.

    2. Drivers who didn’t succeed in F1, succeed in IndyCar -> F1 drivers are better = FALSE.
    You know who’s the best example of this?

    Wait for it….

    It’s Fernando Alonso. They guy’s best finishing position this year in F1 was a 12th place! Haha! What a scrub! Look at his last 3 Formula 1 seasons – the guy clearly is not even an average driver. And the he goes over to IndyCar and looks great… HOW COULD IT BE???

    Formula 1 is the least competetive championship in motorsport, whereas IndyCar is absolutely competetive. IndyCar tests how good a driver really is. You don’t get to prove how great a driver you are in F1 unless you are given one of the top 2 cars, which rarely happens for anyone, and those who get to drive those cars do only then compete against their teammates.

    Formula 1 gives you a distorted image of who is and who isn’t a good driver. Formula 1 is a lie.
    Had Fernando Alonso started his career in IndyCar, won multiple championships there and came to McLaren F1 in 2015, he and IndyCar would’ve been called a joke.
    We only know how great Alonso is because he had a great car 10 years ago.

    The top IndyCar and F1 drivers are the best racing drivers in the world and the only way to test how good they compare against one another is to make them compete anywhere but F1.

  31. I find it really bizarre that people slate the quality of Indyar drivers because a rookie is able to be competitive (even though that rookie is arguably one of the top ten greatest drivers of all time), whereas when drivers join F1 and aren’t immediately on the pace (such as Max Chilton despite being in a dreadful car) they’re then slated as not being good enough.

    Which is it? Should rookies be on the pace or not?

  32. After all this debate and discussion of the quality of drivers in Indy500 vs. F1, I still agree with the conclusion of @nase:
    “In my opinion, the Indy 500 is a worthless race – from a sporting perspective.” at least for the Oval Track track type of race. And this isn’t because F1 is perfect – far from, but watching several hours of racing, where everything that has happened up until the last stint, only seemed to have an attrition purpose, is a waste of everybody’s time and a waste of resources.

    1. @palle
      If you think that way then LeMans 24 is a nonsense race as well. And what’s even more nonsense is the Monaco GP, which should basically be just 1 lap long, because the 77 laps that normally follow are just spent on waiting for a random occurence.

  33. @Damon: I don’t think You have considered Your comment properly: In Monaco track position is everything, and that is defined from the start by the qualifying, and then the pitstops and the very few overtakes etc. Thus everything happening in the race, impacts on the race result, in opposition to the Indy500 oval track race!

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