Fernando Alonso claims a clutch problem on his car slowed his progress during the Indianapolis 500, after finishing 21st in his third attempt at the race. But in fact he was never running with the leaders and was mired toward the back the entire race, even before the clutch problem, i.e. Alonso was never going to win this race. Not even close.
“We were struggling from the very beginning with the balance of the car with a lot of oversteer,” said Alonso. “We kept changing that balance in the pit stops, reducing the front flap, doing tire adjustments, and then we started to be happy with the car.”
Having qualified 26th after a crash in practice, Alonso made up some ground during the 200-lap race until a clutch problem spoiled his afternoon.
“We were up to 15th around lap 110, which is where we wanted to be. We spent half the race going from 26th to 15th and 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 pit stop 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,” he said. “The negative is that we were out of contention very quickly with the clutch problem.
“Anyway, I think the Arrow McLaren SP team was fantastic during the race. The strategy and pit stops meant we were always gaining positions. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done over the last couple of weeks. We tried to race, but luck was not with us today, but I’m proud of the effort from everyone in the team.”