Haas, Monaco, 2019

Alonso’s failure to qualify for Indy 500 “sad to see” – Ricciardo


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Fernando Alonso’s failure to secure a place on the grid for the Indianapolis 500 was “sad to see”, his former Formula 1 rival Daniel Ricciardo has said.

McLaren’s single-car entry for Alonso was eliminated on the final lap of the back row qualifying session on Sunday. Alonso was making his second appearance in the event, which he qualified fifth for two years ago in a car run by McLaren and Michael Andretti’s team.

Ricciardo said he expected Alonso to be fairly competitive at the Brickyard.

“Personally, because I’ve never done it – driven an IndyCar or been on an oval – I never really had an expectation for Alonso as far as I didn’t know how easy or difficult it would be.

“Obviously I had confidence that he would be able to hop in and be relatively competitive because I think he’s obviously a very, very good driver and very capable, and still very motivated and driven. I think that showed in 2017.

“But this year it looks like you’ve got to be – like everywhere – a good driver, but set-up and those things and those margins are so important. I don’t know the ins and outs but everything needs to work right.

“That’s the thing with race cars, it’s a love-hate relationship. Obviously this year for him was more of a ‘hate’ one. It’s sad to see, obviously, as part of the F1 family we want to see him do well but for reasons I couldn’t understand or explain, I’m not really in that world.”

Robert Kubica said it was important not to make hasty judgements about Alonso’s qualifying attempt, which saw him finish 34th out of the 36 drivers vying for a place.

“I would never comment on something what I don’t know enough information,” he said. “Looking through the classification it’s too easy to arrive to a wrong assumptions or conclusions..

“Fernando, we know what a great driver he is and he showed two years ago that he was fighting there for even winning on [his] debut. This year it didn’t work but there is nothing a lot to say.”

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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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  • 15 comments on “Alonso’s failure to qualify for Indy 500 “sad to see” – Ricciardo”

    1. Alonso was pretty impressive the first time he went for the Indy 500 and I was disappointed the exploding Honda engines took him out when a win looked very possible. This time, though, I don’t know. It made sense doing a one-off race when he was still in Formula 1, but this all seems too focused on achieving ‘epic driver status’ as quickly and economically (in terms of time and commitment) as possible.

      1. Well, he is not getting younger…
        (about some degree of haste)

        1. @dallein True but (a) what else is he going to do, given he loves racing so much, and (b) more haste less speed, as the saying goes: a bit more time and opportunity to resolve issues before diving into the Indy 500 might work better.

      2. He did well in ’17 becuse he drove a McLaren sponsored ANDRETTI car. Everything on the technical & car side was all Andretti. He had one of the best cars on the grid. This years debacle was all McLaren.

    2. They all so diplomatic because of… what?

      Everyone know Alonso is a good driver, capable of qualifying in Top 30…
      This year McLaren produced another dud, just like they did numerous times in the last years. There’s no shame in saying this openly.

      And as pf McLaren – they must publicly admit failure and go on.
      What have we instead?
      One rolled head and complete silence.
      Not the way to really accept failure.

    3. The IndyCar press ripped McLaren for being completely, totally and in all ways, unprepared for Indianapolis. Juncos, a small team with a rookie driver, also had a crash in practice– and had their backup car ready in *half* the time McLaren took. And they lost their primary sponsor earlier this month.

      The comedy of errors that doomed McLaren’s disastrous return to the Indianapolis 500 began months before Fernando Alonso failed to qualify for the race. How bad was it? A week before Alonso’s first test in the car, the team realized it didn’t even have a steering wheel.

      They were literally buying spare parts off of other teams, and then sent the car out with the ride height so low it was sparking all the way around the track.

      Credit to Alonso, however, for refusing to participate in McLaren buying another team’s spot in the race (McLaren could have bought a small team, and put Alonso in as a replacement driver).

      McLaren’s effort at the Indy 500 can only be described as “half-fast”. They showed up expecting it to be easy, and found out it wasn’t that simple.

      I know it’s not F1, but it’s not a walk in the park, either. Alonso “only” clocked an average speed of 227.353 mph over 4 laps– Kyle Kaiser, who bumped him, averaged 227.372 mph. Pole was 229.992 mph (307.136 km/h).

      And these are the low boost cars (550 HP instead of 700).

      1. If they ran road course boost they’d all be taking filght.

    4. So what now for Alonso?? replacing Norris for a few races….wouldnt be surprised…
      ps he only failed to qualify by a margin so small, you could not visualise it..

    5. I was reading the interview with brown and I felt so sad for this brand and the people who work there. They didn’t have a steering wheel until brown himself had to call and beg cosworth. They lost two days because the spare car was being repainted when Alonso crashed. They messed up the set up because they didn’t convert imperial to metric, which is why the car was dragging on the track. They looked like clowns.

      1. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
        23rd May 2019, 9:01

        > They messed up the set up because they didn’t convert imperial to metric

        Really? Do you have a source for this?

        1. From this article in the roundup a couple of days ago:


        2. A tire puncture went unnoticed because the team had purchased incorrect tire sensors.

          After consulting with any team that would help them, confusion in converting figures from inches to the metric system cost McLaren even more time.

          This was part of report on Yahoo Sport Australia apparently quoting ” The Associated Press team.”

          I have no idea how to post a link and no idea how accurate the report is, but there you go 😟

      2. That would make sense!

      3. BlackJackFan
        23rd May 2019, 9:22

        Definitely too many items for Zak to come out of this without a lot of egg… but, so far, only Bob gets the boot…
        One question: Why wasn’t Gil over there the whole time. Surely more use there for a month than in F1…

    6. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      23rd May 2019, 9:00

      Every time I have to explain the phrase “don’t burn bridges” I use Alonso as an example.

    Comments are closed.