Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso became the first driver to crash during on track activities for this year’s 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
The McLaren-Chevrolet driver was running behind the No. 15 Team RLL Honda of Graham Rahal when he hit the outside wall in turn three before bouncing off the infield wall and coming to rest in the middle of turn four.
In an interview, the Spaniard said he encountered unexpected understeer, which appeared to come when he got closer to the back of Rahal’s car in turn three.
“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 completely lost the front aero,” Alonso said. “The wall came too close and too quickly after that. I’m sorry to the team, but we will learn and hopefully come back stronger tomorrow.
“I’m disappointed and sad for the team and for the guys,” he added.
It’s not yet clear if the McLaren team will switch to their backup car for the remainder of the practice sessions this week and for qualifying, or if they will repair their main car.
“We’re just going to hover around the car here and assess the situation and make a decision [on whether to switch to the spare car] in the coming hours,” McLaren sporting director Gil de Ferran told RACER. “We’d been fighting understeer this morning, and it looks like he just understeered into the wall and that was that.”
Practice for the Indy 500 continues Thursday and Friday ahead of qualifying this weekend. The 103rd running of the race will take place on May 26th.