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Mario Andretti: Fernando Alonso can't be too brave at Indianapolis

Formula 1 world champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti says Fernando Alonso's Andretti Autosport IndyCar team doesn't want him to get "too brave" early in his acclimatisation to ovals

Alonso will miss the Monaco Grand Prix to make his Indy 500 debut with Michael Andretti's team, which his father Mario is also involved in.

Speaking in a lengthy exclusive interview with Autosport's sister title Motorsport.com Andretti said it will be key that Alonso is prepared to gradually work his way up to being confident on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

"We don't want him to get too brave and spook himself," said Andretti.

"When you do that, it can be very tricky getting that confidence back, so the team will not allow that to happen.

"It's the only race on the planet that gives you that much time [two weeks] to prepare - each day Fernando will get six hours of practice, weather allowing."

Alonso is modern IndyCar's 'Mansell moment'

Andretti said his son's team will already have a plan mapped out for how to get Alonso up to speed.

"They'll first send him out there loaded up with downforce, and he may think, 'Oh, it's a piece of cake'," he said.

"Then as he starts getting confidence, they'll gradually take downforce off, he'll get used to the car moving around a bit more, then a little bit more and so on.

"But they'll be careful not to take off too much downforce too soon."

Andretti added that the fact Alonso's 'McLaren' entry will be part of a six-car line-up means the team can also get him familiar with running in traffic, a tactic that helped NASCAR star Kurt Busch (pictured above) to finish sixth as a rookie in the 2014 race.

"As he gets more confident, they'll have him practice slipstreaming," Andretti said.

"Between them [the Andretti Autosport drivers] they can create their own mock 'race' during practice sessions, to throw a bunch of dirty air in the rookie's direction and get him used to that loss of downforce.

"That's exactly what they did for Kurt, who started off like a fish out of water but learned fast.

"Being who he is, and how quickly he's going to adapt to this style of racing, I suspect he's going to be right there, top 10 or top 12 for most of the race and then towards the end he'll be finding his way.

"I think the team will give him a conservative set-up because it would be stupid to do anything else, and that will be something he can maximise all day [in the race]."

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