Force India at one stage had a technical partnership with McLaren. It had to be repainted after the test, and that still had not been completed when Alonso crashed his McLaren-built vehicle last Wednesday. "There are things out of our control right now that are preventing us from going fast here at Indy that need to be addressed".
The double world champion crashed on Wednesday, which ultimately wiped out a further day of on-track action as McLaren struggled to fix his vehicle. Ed Jones was fourth fastest. He finished seventh in the 2016 Indy 500 and 22nd in 2018. I don't know if if it was a gust of wind or what.
McLaren are three-times Indy 500 winners - in 1972 providing a vehicle for Mark Donohue as a private entry and in 1974 and 1976 as a works entry with Johnny Rutherford - but their return was beset with problems.
Spencer Pigot earned the top spot in the Fast Nine Shootout during qualifying on Saturday with an average speed of 230.83 miles per hour over four laps.
The McLaren miss is one of the biggest failures in Indy 500 history.
Traditionally, American race auto driving is a conservative sport - with both fans and drivers leaning right. Reigning CART champion Bobby Rahal missed it in 1993, and two-time Indy victor Rodger Ward never got up to speed 1965 to make the field. McLaren came to Indy with every inch of its vehicle sold in sponsorship and guaranteed to turn a profit. Brown was somewhat hands-off and focused on the critical rebuild of the Formula One part of the program.
Gil de Ferran, the competition director for McLaren and a former Indy 500 victor, was gutted and apologized about a dozen times for the team's failure.
Gil de Ferran, an Indy 500 victor in his own right, was left puzzled after McLaren's failure to qualify on Sunday.
"I'm getting too old for this stuff".
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Numerous issues were beyond Brown's control.
"Unfortunately, it was a little short, but it was a great day for the team". Alonso had another electrical issue on opening day for the 500 and the alternator and wiring loom had to be replaced. Power was second with 94 laps in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, with Pagenaud and Newgarden close behind at 88 laps apiece.
Hinchcliffe made a few attempts late in the day but could not get the vehicle up to speed to make the top 30.
"We really didn't run a qualifying set-up until Fast Friday", Dixon said.
Alonso recognized that when it comes to Indy's high stakes, it's a fine line between glory and destruction, but the credit goes to those who try. Hinchcliffe crashed on his first qualifying attempt Saturday and couldn't get his backup to the speed needed.
"I think there are always things that you learn and things that you improve for next time you're here, the next challenge - not only in the Indy 500 but as a driver". "And Fernando said, 'Let's go for it'".
Alonso's disappointment was understandably evident as he turned away from bystanders and headed for a moment of solitude.
"This is a very hard sport", said Gil de Ferran. "You just need to work on the vehicle, getting it into the sweet spot again where it feels comfortable".
During its week at the Brickyard, McLaren never appeared on top of its subject, but when push came to shove for Alonso, he insists he did his very best. He went to his back-up auto after crashing during his qualifying run on Saturday.