Jenson Button: Monaco Grand Prix return 'a bit of a struggle'


It's been a busy few weeks for Fernando Alonso.

Alonso, a two-time Formula One champion who's having a middling season in that series, opted to skip the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix and instead travel to America's heartland to enter the Indy 500 for the first time.

Indeed, the run-up to the 101st running of the Indy 500 has seen a full-fledged case of “Alomania” and has come at the expense of many other aspects surrounding Sundays race.

The odds may be stacked against Alonso - only nine rookies have won the Indy 500 in its 100-year history - but his commitment will be unswerving. "He's in one of the best cars, he's starting near the front (middle of Row 2), he's got as good a shot as anyone".

"He's up against it, but he's a multiple world champion", Chilton told CNN. I think its a good story. I don't think a lot of (winners) have had that experience. I have to adapt. Two years before he was legal to drive in his native country, he won the New Zealand Formula Vee championship.

"You respect the place, respect the speed".

"The part that's impressed me the most is that it has all gone so well so far, which is all the credit to the people at McLaren, the people at Andretti and the people at INDYCAR", said Brown.

"I still lack experience in important moments of the race". I go there knowing that the race is going to be hard and I will lack experience in critical moments.

"Normally this point of the week I get a little antsy, but I am feeling good", said Power about the Indianapolis 500. You need to keep improvising.

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Formula One's new American owners Liberty Media have promised more interaction with fans at circuits and through social media.

Alonso, who is bypassing this week's Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix to test himself in the world's biggest race, has learned quickly on the Indy rectangle.

"It's been good because of the data we've been able to share and pass on, not only for someone like Marco or Ryan, but it's been good for all the guys", Michael Andretti said.

"I arrive at the corners and I still think of the last seven years".

"From the crowds, to the grid, all the celebration will be incredible", said the McLaren driver. "I could see that happening (with me)".

Alonso said being the betting favourite is "probably not" a fair expectation, and noted that the last time he did a rolling start was in a 1997 go-kart race.

As for his chances of winning, Alonso said Vegas might have too much faith.

The impact of someone as high-profile as Alonso temporarily switching to IndyCar has been immediately noticeable, says Rossi.

"In Juan Pablo, you are not allowed to do it, so when I came here I brought the skateboard", Alonso said.

"There's been a huge kind of global impact that he's had and it's been super-positive for the sport".

Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Ed Jones was second on the time sheet in the incident-free session, his best lap at 228.118 miles per hour in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

But the long-term future of the Indy 500 aside, for now it's all eyes on Alonso.