Franchitti: Victory bid will be 'very difficult' for Alonso

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Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti says experience, or lack of, could ultimately determine Fernando Alonso's fate at the Indy 500 on May 28th.

The McLaren driver passed his rookie test this week at the Brickyard with flying colors as he got acquainted to his new and challenging environment.

Franchitti has no doubts over the Spaniard's ability to perform among the best, but insists that talent alone can't take him into Victory Lane.

"It'll be difficult, no one's under any misapprehension here," said Franchitti yesterday at a McLaren event promoting Alonso's appearance with IndyCar CEO Mark Miles, Max Chilton and Zak Brown.

"Talent-wise, can he do it? Absolutely. But again, inexperience - that will be the tough thing.

"If it comes down to a caution with 20, 25 laps to go, and everyone pits for new tyres, that's when all bets are off.

"At the start of the race, people are a little nicer to each other, and if you've got half a pass made, they'll let you through.

"As business picks up toward the end, that goes away in a hurry. So I think that will come as a shock."

Franchitti notes Indy's particularly strong entry this year, with a high number of potential winners, several of whom are Alonso's Andretti Autosport's team mates.

At the end of the day, the finer points of oval racing and strategy are what determine the outcome, underlines Franchitti.

"I think [Alonso] will learn that throughout the week, he's going to build up all that information," he said.

"But it will be very, very difficult to compete with Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, [two-time winner Juan-Pablo] Montoya.

"Montoya is really hungry to win. He's in an Indy-only deal with Penske this year. And [Helio] Castroneves always seems to get it done.

"Also - and I think this is something that will be different for Alonso - 20 or so drivers can realistically be competitive enough to win that race just on pace, never mind strategy.

"He's going to have to work very hard with his engineer to get the absolute maximum out of that car before the race starts.

"Whereas a lot of the time in F1 you've got what you've got because of the latest developments.

"This is about just constantly polishing on it to make sure you've got the best car for the end."

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