Gil de Ferran: IMS “has a way of throwing curveballs at you”


Gil de Ferran (left) is driver coach to Fernando Alonso at IMS - Credit: Chris Owens / IndyCar

Fernando Alonso’s driver coach for his attack on this year’s Indianapolis 500, 2003 Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran, says it is unrealistic for the Spaniard to not suffer a setback or two during the remainder of the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Alonso had a trouble free day in his #29 Andretti Autosport machine at IMS on Wednesday as he completed his Rookie Orientation Program, but de Ferran does not think things will continue to go as smoothly going forward.

“It was no surprise to me that yesterday went so well, because Fernando is one of the greatest talents and the team had everything prepared and a good strategy and so on,” said de Ferran to Motorsport.com.

“But I’ll be surprised if there isn’t a setback at some point in the week of practice. Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a way of throwing curveballs at you. That’s just the way it is.”

Despite his worries, de Ferran does not know if and when that setback will come, and what it will actually be, with many variables likely to affect the running at Indianapolis, although he expects Alonso to be as prepared as he can possibly be.

“I don’t know what it will be – if I knew, I would prevent it, right?!” said de Ferrarn. “But there will be something. But that’s ok, he has a strong team around him and Fernando is also very experienced in overcoming difficulties, and not raising his expectations too fast, too soon. He will be prepared.”

De Ferran is keeping his emotions in check and is reluctant to put too much praise on the way Alonso handled his first day behind an IndyCar at IMS, knowing that there is a lot of work still to do this month of May.

“To emulate what he said in the press conference, I too am now in the mode of putting behind us all the emotion and excitement around this fantastic thing happening,” said de Ferran. “And to be honest today, I’m not even thinking about how well he did.

“Just like the team, and just like Fernando, I’m looking ahead. I’m in work mode, thinking about potential problems – ‘What do we need to do? What do we need to check off the list?’

“And working next to a guy who’s a consummate professional like Fernando is very gratifying. We speak the same lingo! He is trying to perfect every aspect of his game, he’s thinking about it 24/7 and frankly, if you want to be as good as him, that’s the least you’ve got to do!”