Former Formula 1 driver and two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya has reached out to his former rival Fernando Alonso ahead of his debut at the famous brickyard.
Having returned to the Indycar Series in 2014 after a lengthy stint in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, Montoya won the Indy 500 for a second time in 2015, 15 years after his first win in 2000.
After competing against Alonso in F1 for five and half years, he knows what the Spaniard is capable of and doesn’t believe he’ll need too much help to get acquainted with his new surroundings.
Speaking to Autosport, the Colombian said: “I texted him as soon as I heard, but I don’t think he’ll need a lot of help.
“For me, if you’re confident of your own situation, I’m not a big believer in hiding stuff from anybody.
“Fernando is a hell of a racer; I could relate a lot to him and the way he raced when we used to compete together.”
Montoya feels Alonso will not need much time to get used to the high-speed nature of the 2.5-mile superspeedway but says learning how to set up the car and acclimatising to the oval layout are the most important tasks ahead of the race.
“In setting up the car, I think he’s going to do a good job. He will have a good feel,” Montoya added.
“But the big thing in Indy is balancing what you need from the car when you run by yourself against what you need from the car when you run in traffic, sometimes a big group of cars. It’s an interesting feeling.
“Indy is not about how good you are by yourself, it’s about how good you are in traffic.
“I think it would be good if Fernando could test on a road course first, just to get used to the car, so when he gets to Indy, all he has to get used to is the oval technique. That is a big thing itself.”