By: Tanner Watkins
May 15, 2019 | 1:00 PM
They say there are drivers who have crashed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and drivers who will crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fernando Alonso changed groups on Wednesday by hitting the North Chute wall and later making a heavier contact with the inside wall.
While following Graham Rahal during a race simulation, Alonso seemed to catch a bit of dirty air on the exit of Turn 3 and slid up into the wall just after the exit of Turn 3. The damage sustained broke the right front suspension, later sending Alonso to the inside wall of the North Chute.
Alonso made significant contact with the inside wall with the rear of his car, later sliding up into the Turn 4 wall and coming to a rest.
“It was understeer on the car, and even if I lifted the throttle on the entry of the corner, it was not enough and I lost completely the front aero,” said Alonso after the accident. “The wall came too close and too quickly.”
“Unfortunately, it happened today. We will lose a little bit of running time again… I’m sorry for the team, but we will learn, and hopefully, we will come back stronger (on Thursday). I’m disappointed and sad for the team and for the guys. We worked quite a lot on the car and definitely now it’s quite damaged, so I feel sorry for the team and for my mistake.
“We will learn from this and hopefully (Thursday) we’re back on track and back stronger.”
The two-time Formula One World Champion was able to exit the car under his own power but the car has significant damage. The McLaren team will have a decision to make now – whether or not to try and repair this car or go to their back-up car that was prepared by Carlin in Florida.
Alonso was 16th on the overall timesheet with a quick time of 225.433 miles per hour to this point, with a no-tow speed of 222.617 miles per hour – good for 9th overall.
A large mob scene of fans, Chevrolet and McLaren representatives and INDYCAR officials huddled around the McLaren garage as the car arrived. As soon as the No. 66 was taken off of the truck, the doors went down and the team began evaluating whether or not they needed to move to a back-up car.
In the end, McLaren made the decision to move to the Carlin-prepared backup car and try to move as many elements of the primary to the reserve tub.
Additionally, it was reported by TrackSide Online that Alonso’s Chevrolet V6 engine cracked a cam cover as a result of cooling quickly following his accident – which means he will have a new engine for the start of practice on Thursday.
Header image by Tanner Watkins/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.