Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso walks ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, Nov. 25, 2018. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images

Fernando Alonso’s dream of claiming motorsport’s fabled “Triple Crown” will have to wait at least one more year after his #66 McLaren Chevrolet car failed to qualify for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 race at the Brickyard on Sunday. The Woking based team’s sporting director Gill de Ferran issued an apology to the Spanish driver after admitting that it was one of his most painful racing moments.

McLaren failed to qualify in the top 30 and then was fighting for a place on the last row on Sunday commonly known as “Bump day” in IndyCar circles and for a short while it seemed like Alonso had managed to capture the final position for the race. But he was bumped out by American Kyle Kaiser of Junco Racing-Chevrolet after he went just 0.019mph faster than the Spaniard during his four-lap run.

It would have been a massive disappointment for Alonso, who qualified fifth during his IndyCar 500 debut in 2017 and even led 27 laps before his Andretti Honda’s engine failed. De Ferran was apologetic to his driver and team and indicated that they will learn from their mistakes and come back stronger.

“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,” De Ferran said standing alongside Alonso after first apologizing to the team and its shareholders, as quoted on Racer.com.

“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,” he added.

McLaren, however, does have an option of buying a place on the grid from one of the rival teams and it has happened before. But team CEO Zak Brown has confirmed they will not buy their way into the 2019 Indy500 race and they prefer to earn it.

“We'll come back fighting. We don't want to buy in. We want to earn it. Anyone can buy in. We want to get in on merit,” Brown said, as quoted on Motorsport.com.