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McLaren Indy fires team president in wake of Fernando Alonso's Indy 500 failure  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

INDIANAPOLIS -- It took less than 24 hours for the changes to start. In the aftermath of McLaren Indy and Fernando Alonso's failure to qualifying for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, team president Bob Fernley has been fired. 

A McLaren official confirmed the news, first reported by the Associated Press on Monday morning. Before joining McLaren, Fernley was deputy team principal at the Force India Formula One team. 

His firing comes after a humiliating week for a proud racing team. Despite abundant resources and a two-time world championship driver, McLaren failed to find significant pace throughout practice, leading Alonso to comment following his first qualifying attempt Saturday that the team was "not ready for the challenge" of competing at the Indianapolis. 

"Our performance has been quite bad all week," Alonso said. "Quite poor.

Alonso pointed out how quickly small-budget Juncos Racing was able to bounce back from a Friday crash -- getting its car prepared for practice the following morning -- while it cost McLaren its entire practice day Thursday before it was able to get Alonso back on track. 

"We’ve been slow," he said. "You see (Juncos) crashing yesterday and being ready at 6 (a.m.). That’s impressive. For us, we’ve been a little bit slow. Slow on everything."

McLaren continued to be slow the rest of the weekend. Despite a total of five qualifying attempts Saturday, Alonso could not find the speed to squeeze the No. 66 Chevrolet into one of the top 30 spots. Given one last chance Sunday during the battle for the final three spots, Alonso was edged by Sage Karam, James Hinchcliffe and Kyle Kaiser. 

Following the disappointment of being bumped from the field, McLaren Sporting Director Gil de Ferran said that in his 35 years of racing, Sunday was the most painful experience of his career. He apologized to the teams fans, partners and finally to Alonso himself for McLaren's failures in Indianapolis.

But clearly apologies weren't going to be enough. There were always going to be consequences for a team like McLaren failing to qualify for the race when teams with much fewer resources managed to find their way. Ultimately, that failure cost Fernley his job. 

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