Fernando Alonso revealed a clutch problem on his car slowed his progress during the Indianapolis 500, after finishing 21st in his third attempt at the race.
“We were struggling from the very beginning with the balance of the car with a lot of oversteer,” said Alonso. “We kept changing that balance in the pit stops, reducing the front flap, doing tyre adjustments, and then we started to be happy with the car.”
Having qualified 26th after a crash in practice, Alonso made up some ground during the 200-lap race until a clutch problem spoiled his afternoon.
“We were up to 15th around lap 110, which is where we wanted to be. We spent half the race going from 26th to 15th and then we had a clutch problem on the car that we didn’t know how to solve.
“We finished the race without the clutch, so from that point on every pit stop we had to push the car, engage the gear and go. That cost us a lap and unfortunately, we kept that lap down until the end and we could not achieve anything more.”
Alonso made his third start in the race which he failed to qualify for last year, and retired from on his debut in 2017.
“I’m happy to finish the race, cross the line and have one 500 miles in the pocket, that’s the positive thing,” he said. “The negative is that we were out of contention very quickly with the clutch problem.
“Anyway, I think the Arrow McLaren SP team was fantastic during the race. The strategy and pit stops meant we were always gaining positions. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done over the last couple of weeks. We tried to race, but luck was not with us today, but I’m proud of the effort from everyone in the team.”
Alonso has said he will not return to the Indianapolis 500 in the next two seasons while he races for Renault in Formula 1, meaning his next start at the Brickyard will not come before 2023.
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