Lapped Alonso "could not achieve anything more" in Indy 500 after clutch issue

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso said "we could not achieve anything more" than a lapped 21st place in the Indianapolis 500 after losing his clutch in the pits

Lapped Alonso "could not achieve anything more" in Indy 500 after clutch issue

The Arrow McLaren SP driver started a lowly 26th after a crash in practice and went off-strategy early in the race following a caution for James Davison's exploded right-front brake, but soon went back on schedule with the rest of the field under the second caution for Marcus Ericsson's Turn 1 crash.

Alonso struggled with oversteer in the opening phase of the race and was trailing at the end of the lead lap, just ahead of leader Scott Dixon, prior to another caution for Dalton Kellett's Turn 3 crash.

But clutch problems in his pitstops meant he was unable to take advantage of his reprieve and was trapped one lap down for the remainder of the race, which was won by ex-F1 driver Takuma Sato.

The Spaniard's hopes of completing the triple crown, following his victories in the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours, will now have to wait until 2023 at the earliest, as his contractual ties with the Renault F1 team will preclude his participation in the next two editions of the 500.

Alonso explained: "We were struggling from the very beginning with the balance of the car with a lot of oversteer.

"We kept changing that balance in the pitstops, reducing the front flap, doing tyre adjustments, and then we started to be happy with the car.

"We were up to P15 around lap 110, which is where we wanted to be...

"Then we had a clutch problem on the car that we didn't know how to solve.

"We finished the race without the clutch, so from that point on, every pitstop we had to push the car, engage the gear and go.

"That cost us a lap and unfortunately, we kept that lap down until the end and we could not achieve anything more.

"I'm happy to finish the race, cross the line and have one 500 miles in the pocket, that's the positive thing. The negative is that we were out of contention very quickly with the clutch problem.

"We tried to race, but luck was not with us today, but I'm proud of the effort from everyone in the team."

Alonso's team-mate Patricio O'Ward, who also failed to qualify last year, finished sixth to earn Rookie of the Year honours and move up to third in the IndyCar points standings.

The third McLaren entry of Oliver Askew led three laps by running off-strategy early on, but suffered a heavy crash on a lap 92 restart when unsighted in smoke caused by a spin for Conor Daly.

As Askew braked, his car speared left and struck the inside wall's SAFER barrier hard, leaving him winded but unhurt.

shares
comments
Dixon "can't see" how Sato would have finished Indy 500 under green

Previous article

Dixon "can't see" how Sato would have finished Indy 500 under green

Next article

Dixon 'should have been more aggressive' with Sato in Indy 500

Dixon 'should have been more aggressive' with Sato in Indy 500
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Author David Malsher
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021
The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete Plus

The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indycar game-changer that won its third Indianapolis 500 five years after its debut

IndyCar
Dec 22, 2020
Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough Plus

Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough

Josef Newgarden feels he didn't put a foot wrong in 2020, yet his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield a third series championship. But in a warning shot to Scott Dixon, Team Penske's team leader has vowed to redouble his efforts in 2021

IndyCar
Dec 21, 2020
How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season Plus

How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season

Three wins on the trot gave the Chip Ganassi Racing superstar the cushion he needed to hang on for a sixth title in the face of Josef Newgarden's late challenge. Here's the rundown of a typically frantic IndyCar campaign in an extraordinary year

IndyCar
Nov 28, 2020
The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy Plus

The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy

Calls for an improvement in the racing spectacle at the Indianapolis 500 have been met with small aerodynamic tweaks from IndyCar on superspeedways. But where such high speeds are involved, even minor adjustments require significant planning

IndyCar
Oct 31, 2020
The departing IndyCar hero who can't let go Plus

The departing IndyCar hero who can't let go

He's an IndyCar champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner, but there's more to Tony Kanaan's legacy than sheer numbers according some key rivals, team-mates and friends from his 20-year top-flight US open-wheel career

IndyCar
Oct 4, 2020