Alonso’s 2017 Indy 500 Preparations Guaranteed Him to be Frontrunner – Rahal

Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher / IndyCar

Graham Rahal feels the preparation Fernando Alonso was allowed to have for his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2017 made it almost inevitable that the Spaniard would be a frontrunner in the event.

Alonso skipped the Monaco Grand Prix in order to focus on winning the Indy 500, and was a frontrunner throughout until his Honda engine failed on his McLaren Honda Andretti entry, but Rahal felt the full day of testing he had at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and joining the Andretti stable, gave him an early advantage.

“Everybody in Formula 1 repeatedly says Fernando Alonso is the best, you hear that a lot,” said Rahal on Autosport. “Name me one rookie that ever got a full day of testing by themselves to run around the Speedway. Never happens.

“Now put him in an Andretti car, which the last five years, have been the cars to beat. You’ve got a special talent in the best car with a lot of testing. Put those pieces together and you’re going to be successful.

“Bring [Lewis] Hamilton over, he’ll do that too. Bring [Sebastian] Vettel over, he’ll do that too.”

Rahal believes there should be more drivers like Alonso, who he feels is ‘all racer’, although he would like to see just how good he really is by seeing what he can do in an IndyCar around a street circuit such as Belle Isle, without the practice time before hand.

“Fernando, he’s awesome,” said Rahal, who will also go up against the Spaniard in the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend. “I love the guy. His approach is all racer, and we need more of those guys in this world.

“But bring him to Belle Isle and give him no testing like the rest of us – different story.”