A tough start to Fernando Alonso's second attempt at the Indianapolis 500 took a turn for the worse early Wednesday afternoon.
Alonso hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wall three times and heavily damaged the auto McLaren built in its England factory when he lost control exiting the third turn as he followed Graham Rahal.
Alonso immediately exited his machine under his own power, and was later checked and released from the infield medical center.
The real blow for Alonso and his team is if his No. 66 Chevrolet suffered so much damage - and it really doesn't look good - that they'll have to turn to a backup vehicle for the 103rd Indy 500 on Sunday, May 26.
He felt like he was making good progress with the vehicle prior to the crash.
"It was understeer on the auto, and even if I lifted the throttle on the entry of the corner, it was not enough, and I lost completely the front aero", Alonso said after being checked and released at the IU Health Emergency Medical Center on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grounds. "The wall came too close and too quickly after that. Lesson learned. We will be back stronger later today or tomorrow", he wrote on social media.
"I'm disappointed and sad for the team and for the guys".
"It was just pure understeer that I didn't expect", Alonso said.
Alonso said the vehicle suddenly lost traction while trailing the auto of Graham Rahal in the middle of Turn 3.
McLaren officials reported that they hoped to have the primary vehicle repaired and back on track before the 6 p.m. end of Wednesday's practice. "I tried to lift off and avoid the wall". "Definitely we were moving in the right direction".
Despite the setback, Alonso remained calm as he looked ahead toward the task of getting ready to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday. "These things happen in motorsport". "Fortunately, it happened today". His vehicle smacked the wall, shot across the track, through the grass and into an interior wall, then went back across the track and into the wall again.