Fernando Alonso says he is focused on trying to win the Indianapolis 500 as he continues his preparations with the Andretti Autosport team.
The Spaniard is missing next week’s Monaco GP to take part in the iconic American race as he looks to complete the second part of motorsport’s Triple Crown – winning Monaco, the Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hour.
The two-time F1 world champion completed the Rookie Orientation Programme last month and finished 19th and 24th in practice on Monday and Tuesday respectively.
Tuesday saw Alonso learn to run in traffic, with nearly all 33 cars on track at once during ‘happy hour’, and the 35-year-old says he is getting more comfortable in his McLaren-Honda-Andretti Autosport car.
“To have the opportunity to experience this event is something any racing driver should have the opportunity to feel. I had the opportunity with McLaren and Honda. That’s why I’m here and I’ll try to win it,” Alonso said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“Yesterday was a good learning experience in the group running. But it’s not racing. You learn, you try to pass and feel the car how it handles behind another car and how close you can be to another car in the corners. But come race day it will be very different – they are not friends anymore.
“I’m happy where I am now. After the test at the beginning of May, the car was so different to drive and the place so different as well, I felt happy but not comfortable.
“Yesterday after the traffic running I was much more comfortable and happier with the position I am now. There is still a lot to come. I listen to these guys every day and I try to replicate the following day and try to get the feelings they have.
“I’m in the simulator in the morning, in the car in the afternoon. I’m not ready yet but think I will be for qualifying and the race.”
Alonso finished 19th on Monday’s time sheet with a best overall lap of 223.025mph, but was limited to only 20 laps due to a rear suspension problem.
Tuesday saw Alonso complete 117 laps, more than any other driver, but he slipped to 24th on the timesheet with a best lap of 221.029 mph, which translated as around four tenths slower than his lap the day before.