Dedicated Fernando Alonso Is Doing Double Duty

In the simulator and on the race track

Fernando Alonso (IndyCar photo)

INDIANAPOLIS — Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is taking his first Indianapolis 500 seriously. So seriously the driver from Spain has little time for sleep.

He’s up early every morning and at the Honda Performance Development simulator in Brownsburg, Ind., every day from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Then, he heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to compete in practice for the 101st Indianapolis 500.

Alonso’s effort is impressive.

“It’s 24 hours’ dedication for the last month and a half,” Alonso said. “I’m studying a lot of data that the team provides me and watching races from the past year. The morning I go to the simulator and the afternoon I come here – laps and laps and learning. We keep experimenting by running in traffic but I think we are ok for qualifying and OK for the race.”

Alonso was the busiest driver on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on Tuesday as he ran 117 laps for McLaren Honda Andretti in the No. 29 Honda. That was 11 more laps than the next busiest driver, teammate Takuma Sato’s 106.

Alonso ran in traffic for the first time and finished 24th fastest with a fast lap at 221.029 miles per hour.

“It was good, it was good, very positive and productive day,” Alonso said. “We did a lot of laps – 117 laps today – a lot of learning, some group running, finally with some traffic. So, it is information I will sleep on and be a better oval driver tomorrow.”

Alonso was not intimidated by running in traffic.

“It felt OK, it felt as I expected,” Alonso said. “Obviously, here it’s very important to keep close to the car in front of you, to take the benefit from the next straight. It was useful. I’m on the best team for that; we are six cars and we were running together. My teammates were amazing (in) helping me. I knew they were taking care of me in some moments of the run, so that was good and yeah, first time for me.

“(I was) learning every lap here and there, you know, when I follow them, learning what they do, how they attack the next corner or the next lap, how they prepare the overtaking, so, it was very useful and a very productive day.”