Alonso set to take Indianapolis test

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The Independent Online

If the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a person, Formula One teams would regard it as a schizophrenic. The road course that runs inside the famous oval features one of the greatest high-speed challenges of the season. But it also requires contradictory performance, necessitating compromises in car set-up.

The course features the longest continuous full-throttle running in Formula One ­ 23 seconds from Turn 12 (Turn Two on the oval) all the way through the banked Turn 13 (the oval's Turn One) and down the long, long straight past the pits to the road course's Turn One. Turn 13 is easily flat-out at 320kmph and the speed builds to more than 330kmph before the braking area for Turn One

"The relationship between the challenge of dealing with an extended period at full throttle, and the time this involves, is not linear," said Renault engine man Denis Chevrier. "In other words, if you double the time spent at full throttle, this more than doubles the challenge."

The odds favour Michael Schumacher and his bullet-proof Ferrari, and the BARs of Jenson Button and Takuma Sato will run strongly with their Honda power. But the other face of Indianapolis ­ where grip and traction are vital­ will favour Renault, who could have won in Montreal.

"Indy is strange ­ you have to find the right compromise between the two different halves," Fernando Alonso said yesterday. "On paper it is not our best circuit, but the R23 was actually quite strong there last year, and we have been very strong in the last three or four races. So there is no reason not to be optimistic."