McLaren sporting director Gil de Ferran has apologised profusely for the embarrassing attempt by his team to qualify for the 103rd edition of the Indianapolis 500, which the Brazilian says was “the most painful experience” he has been through during his illustrious career.
The failure by Alonso to qualify for the Indy 500 on 25 May sent shockwaves through the motorsport community, the consensus ahead of the Month of May was that the Spaniard would be on the grid this Sunday for his quest to be the second man to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport.
But a shambolic practice and qualifying week did the double F1 World Champion no favours. His ‘Triple’ quest will have to wait at least another year while the pain of failure this year will linger for a while for the Spaniard and his team.
De Ferran told reporters after Alonso was bumped and the McLaren Indy dream turned into a bad dream, “This has been a very emotional and difficult experience, not only for me but for the whole team.”
“I want to take this opportunity to apologise and thank the fans, not only here in the U.S. but globally, who have been following our progress. I read a lot of nice things and some great messages all over the place. So thank you, and I’m sorry we won’t be in the Indy 500.”
“I want to also apologise to and thank our team. The guys been have been working for several months, and particularly this last month or so have been a tremendous effort, and to try to come here and do the best we can, and they’ve worked all hours in the day, and I guess that was one of the main messages I had for the whole crew there.”
“This is a very difficult sport. We certainly didn’t underestimate the challenge. We knew this was going to be a tremendously hard challenge. I’ve been here before. I’ve seen some incredible people not make the race. So we were certainly very aware of how difficult this was going to be.”
“I want to apologise to and thank our partners who have been fantastic, and incredibly supportive through this journey. I thank also the whole IndyCar community, frankly, who welcomed us with open arms. All the way from the officials, safety people, all the other teams, everyone in and around IndyCar, it was nothing but a warm feeling and a lot of support.”
Then turning to Alonso, De Ferran added, “Last but not least, I want to thank this man here on my left, who – and I want to apologize to you, as well, because we didn’t give you a car that was fast enough. You drove like the champion that we know you are.
“Particularly these last three days have been incredibly tense and very difficult, and we couldn’t have asked anything more from you, Fernando. So I’m sorry, man. You’re an amazing driver. In my 35 years of racing, actually a few more, this is the most painful experience I’ve ever had.
“There’s a mixture of emotions going on inside of me, but we are racers. We respect this place. This is one of the toughest challenges in racing. I want to come back tomorrow. I want to fight. I want to come back tomorrow and fight. This is incredibly painful.”
“We’re very humble about everything that went on over here, and I think at this time I just want to say that we did learn a lot of lessons. We have to really look inwards and look at everything that we learned, cement those lessons and move forward. I consider myself a racer, a fighter. I want to apply those lessons, starting tomorrow,” added the McLaren sporting boss.