INDIANAPOLIS — Fernando Alonso suffered a crash Thursday with just under an hour remaining during Indy 500 practice, bringing an abrupt halt to what had been an encouraging two days at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Alonso was exiting Turn 4 when he dipped his car low onto the concrete, causing him to wiggle up the track and hard into the outside wall. He slid through the entrance to pit lane without further contact (watch the video above).
The two-time Formula One champion sustained right-side damage to the wheels of his No. 66 Dallara-Chevrolet, which was ranked as the sixth fastest on the speed chart at the time of the crash.
“We just lost the grip of the car and at this place, the walls are very close,” Alonso told reporter Dillon Welch in an interview on NBC Sports Gold. “Just the way it is. Unfortunately it happened again today. Hopefully it just happens today and not on Sunday, Aug. 23.
“You learn every lap you do around this track, and we will learn from this one. Hopefully tomorrow we can start again. It has been going OK, more or less, so far this week, so hopefully we can keep it up the good work and have no more issues.”
Alonso, who crashed after making 126 laps, said he thought the car would be repairable. Friday is another practice before qualifying Saturday.
“I didn’t check, but it shouldn’t be too bad,” he said. “I will rely on the Arrow McLaren SP team, and we will be fine.It should be fine.”
It’s the second consecutive year that Alonso crashed on the second day of Indy 500 practice.
He failed to qualify for the 2019 event but is guaranteed to be in this year’s 33-car field, which has no extra entries that could bump him.
Alonso, who confirmed Tuesday that he won’t race in the Indy 500 for at least the next two years because of his new F1 deal with Renault, was fifth fastest in the opening practice Wednesday and said his Arrow McLaren Racing SP team “was improving the car a little bit each time.”
As a 2017 rookie, Alonso led 27 laps and finished 24th because of an engine failure.
Craig Hampson, Alonso’s engineer for this year’s race, told Welch in an interview earlier Thursday that he believed the Spaniard could win the 104th Indianapolis 500 if given a strong car.
"Hopefully it happens today and not Sunday the 23rd."
— IndyCar on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) August 13, 2020