Alonso was 'very far away' from good lap during Bahrain NASCAR run

Fernando Alonso says he was "very far away" from finding a good lap in his NASCAR test run in Bahrain

Alonso was 'very far away' from good lap during Bahrain NASCAR run

While seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson impressed in a Formula 1 car during a swap on Monday organised by McLaren, Alonso said car characteristics and a lack of tyre grip left him struggling to find the limit in Johnson's Chevrolet.

"I think I was very far away from a very good lap," explained Alonso.

"Driving style [wise], it was still not very clear to me what the best way to perform a lap is.

"I found a lot of problems on braking. The car has very poor retardation because of the weight and the steel brakes. They behave very differently compared to the ones I'm used to.

"And traction, [on] these tyres with the amount of power those cars have, is very difficult to manage. So in first, second [and] third gear you're still spinning the tyres.

"I didn't know if it was better to go full-throttle and spin the tyres and really move forward or control with the throttle and maybe lose a little bit of performance on exit.

"It's not so clear for me even after one day what is necessary on these cars."

Johnson said the Bahrain circuit was not a suitable place for Alonso to have his first taste of NASCAR in order to understand the car's performance.

"He [Alonso] didn't get a fair shake of experiences," said Johnson.

"Our cars are heavy and have a high roll centre, so when you put them on a banked track they have a chance to shine.

"Dover, Bristol, even some of the banked 1.5-mile [ovals], would really impress him."

Alonso said the test left him uncertain about how it would feel to drive on an oval, especially if there were other cars around him.

"I told Jimmie before, it's hard to imagine for me now, after the feeling I had today with the very low grip and with a lot of problems with traction, how these cars will feel in an oval race," he said.

"Obviously there are no more traction demands, you are just on the oval and keeping the average speed. So that's a very different way to drive the car.

"Maybe the slide is less [dramatic] but for longer in the corner, and maybe that's a different feeling. The stop/start circuit like Bahrain, I think really hurt the philosophy of the NASCAR car."

Asked if the NASCAR experience had left him eager to test again, Alonso said: "For now I think it's OK.

"These cars are made for oval racing, so they stow a lot of weight on the left of the car, even if they try to set up for a road course."

Alonso did not rule out making a one-off NASCAR appearance in the future, but said the Cup series' 36-race calendar and the techniques required to be quick on ovals meant he would not consider a full campaign.

shares
comments
Jimmie Johnson: 2018 my most difficult NASCAR Cup season

Previous article

Jimmie Johnson: 2018 my most difficult NASCAR Cup season

Next article

NASCAR 'confident' of finding fourth manufacturer for Cup Series

NASCAR 'confident' of finding fourth manufacturer for Cup Series
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR
Author Jonathan Noble
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020
Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy Plus

Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy

The last season of a retiring NASCAR great has shown promise, and may have resulted in another playoff push without small issues outside his control. 2020 won't be the year Jimmie Johnson would have wanted, but it won't be what he is remembered for

NASCAR
Sep 3, 2020
Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR Plus

Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR

Comparing Porsche's 919 HYBRID LMP1 to NASCAR is motorsport's equivalent of apples and oranges, but this weekend one of Weissach's top works aces will pit his skills against the regulars and revive the tradition of the 'road-course ringer'

NASCAR
Aug 13, 2020