INDIANAPOLIS – The atmosphere in McLaren Racing's garage Wednesday night at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was simple. All business, no panic, maximum insurance.
On one side of the garage, the mechanics continued the noisy repair of the team's main car and the preparation of a rescue car. On the other hand, the engineers gathered around a table full of laptops and screens to silently discuss the next step.
A few hours earlier, Fernando Alonso had lost grip on the number 66 Chevrolet main and crashed against the SAFER barrier at turn 3. Decision regarding which of the two cars will be used when the tests resume Thursday for The 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge will be announced on Wednesday night, said McLaren Athletic Director Gil de Ferran.
Avoiding panic is essential to the recovery process, de Ferran said.
"It's literally the most important thing," Ferran told IndyCar.com. "We had a hand. These are the circumstances we face and we must deal with them calmly and with determination. That's all. It's happened. We have a large group of guys who work very hard. We'll see what happens. We must put one foot in front of the other. "
At 12:35 pm and Wednesday, the car slid against the wall, slid into another SAFER barrier through the grass inside the field, bounced back onto the pit lane and came back onto the track, where she hit the Turn 4 barrier. Alonso, who was not injured, reported strong understeer of the accident.
"I completely lost the aero before," he said. "The wall came too close and too fast. Unfortunately, it happened today. We will lose a little more time. I am sorry for the team, but we will learn and hope we will come back stronger tomorrow. "
The worst aspect of the accident from the team's point of view was the time lost on the track. The electrical problems cost Alonso time in Tuesday's opening practice when he completed 50 laps and had only 46 laps on Wednesday before the crash. In comparison, six drivers passed the 100 laps mark on Tuesday and 13 exceeded the hundredth mark on Wednesday.
"It is undeniable that the last two days have had a negative impact on our preparations – not only on the preparation of the car, but also on the development of the configuration," said de Ferran (pictured left beside the car talking to Alonso). "It's no secret that in Indy, it's important to have a slow and steady evolution of the car's configuration. When such events occur, you put a wave in this constant evolution. "
Before the accident, Alonso told the team that the car behaved better on Wednesday than on Tuesday.
"It felt much better than yesterday," he said. "We were definitely going in the right direction. We learned today that we hope to be able to bring next time. "
The second participation of Alonso at the Indy 500 was not as smooth as the first, when it caused a sensation with the partnership between McLaren and Andretti Autosport in 2017. Then, the double champion of Formula 1 ran near the front to prepare. qualified for the race and fifth and led 27 laps before his race ended 20 laps from the finish with a mechanical failure.
He could now be compelled to advance in his attempt to seize the last branch of the Triple Crown motor sport in the emergency car which, unlike the rugged Dallara, had been meticulously constructed at the technical center of McLaren in Woking, England. The Carlin store in Florida. Alonso tested the emergency car in April at the Texas Motor Speedway. There are only two days of training left before qualifying begins on Saturday.
"You never want to plan a collision, but in a way, you have to do it," de Ferran said. "We did our best to make both cars as well prepared as possible in May. Everyone started working this month with a lot of work. … We clearly know where to install the car. "
While the mechanics were working methodically late on Wednesday, Alonso stood ready, encouraging the crowded garage.
"I am sorry for the team and for my mistake, "he said. "We will learn from it and hope that tomorrow we will be back and we will be stronger."
Thursday's practice is from 11h to 18h. AND will broadcast live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold.