Fernando Alonso Completes Secretive IndyCar Test, Remains Quiet on Future Plans
The two-time F1 champ drove a logo-free race car. And yes, even the Honda badges were removed.
Formula 1 superstar Fernando Alonso successfully completed a day-long test at the wheel of a current-spec IndyCar at Barber Motorsports Park on Wednesday.
The test was facilitated by IndyCar's Andretti Autosport and Formula 1's McLaren Racing, who were able to find the time, material, and human resources to put together an in-depth testing program for the Spaniard. Given the fact that F1 and the American open-wheel series are reaching the most intense part of their respective racing seasons, it's almost a miracle that the right assets came together for this purpose at this time of year. However, as we've learned from recent Alonso chronicles, McLaren's wonder boy tends to get what he wants.
Mother Nature refused to play nice for the Spaniard and Ryan Hunter-Reay's pit crew, as light showers soaked Alabama's premier racing course in the morning, although conditions improved as the day went on. Ultimately, the McLaren racer was able to drive the completely unmarked Dallara DW12 chassis in a variety of track conditions.
"Yeah, it was a good day, a fun day," said Alonso. "I love to test new cars and to test the IndyCar on a road course is something special. I’ve been lucky enough to test it in wet conditions, in intermediate conditions and in dry conditions, so overall I had a good feeling on every type of track. The weather was good for us today – a little bit of wind in the afternoon but overall a positive day.”
With Wednesday's test in the bag, Alonso can now claim he's driven an IndyCar in a high-speed oval and a road course, although he claims to enjoy both of them just as much.
“Probably my instinct will tell me road course, because it’s what I’ve been used to doing all my life, but the Indy 500 was an amazing experience, so 50/50," Alonso added. "I think I love the way the car feels on a road course, but I love the way you compete on ovals, timing the tows, traffic and all the overtaking maneuvers I think are a little bit easy on the ovals, so in terms of track action I loved the Indy 500.”
Alonso and the folks around him remain secretive about his future plans, especially as he recently announced that will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2018 season. It's unclear if he will take some time off, join the Toyota Gazoo Racing team that helped him win this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, or prove right the many rumors that claim McLaren will join IndyCar and bring the Spaniard along. However, if we can gather something from Wednesday's unmarked racer, is that Honda is still having a tough time being associated with Alonso after their tumultuous relationship in Formula 1 in recent years.
"It was something that I was looking for last year already," said Alonso when asked about his new experience. "I had some options to test the car on a road course after the Indy 500. We didn’t find the time but this year it’s definitely happened now and I’m happy for this. I love being behind a steering wheel, and definitely a new car, a new experience, learning a lot of things from the team, the engineers, everyone, so a happy day.”