Arrow McLaren SP’s Fernando Alonso was a quick study with the No. 66 Chevy during Wednesday’s refresher session. The two-time Formula 1 world champion got his first taste of driving for the team owned by Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson, operating behind IndyCar’s new aeroscreen on the way to setting the fourth-fastest lap in the second practice outing.
“I think it’s very different this year with aeroscreen, the way the car behaves and you have to adapt a little bit,” he said. “So we are just chasing the setup a little bit. And yeah, the speed is there on the car. You know that there’s going to be a reasonable pace, knowing the experience of the team, and the engineers and everyone. I think the mood is going to be more relaxed. You don’t need to overstress too much because eventually you will be in a more or less competitive place. So I’m happy.”
Alonso’s first chance to work with AMSP’s rookie duo of Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew also left the 39-year-old with a positive impression.
“It is very valuable,” he continued. “I think they are rookies, but they are racing every weekend this year. They’ve been doing great in all the races. The team has experience from many years in IndyCar, and so far, (it) has been very smooth and clean start of the event.”