Fernando Alonso, IndyCar, McLaren Andretti, Indianapolis 500, 2017

McLaren still considering 2019 IndyCar team despite F1 struggles

2018 British Grand Prix

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McLaren has not given up on running a full-time IndyCar entry next year despite the upheaval at its Formula 1 team following the departure of Eric Boullier.

The team has announced a restructuring of its F1 operation following Boullier’s resignation this week. IndyCar champion Gil de Ferran, who joined McLaren earlier this year and was tipped to be part of its mooted IndyCar programme, has been made sporting director of its F1 team.

In response to a question from RaceFans at Silverstone today McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said the team is “laser-focused on Formula 1 right now.” However he added he hasn’t ruled out expanding into IndyCar next year.

“No we still haven’t made a decision,” he said. “We have some time so right now we’re just not focused on thinking about it. We’ll pick that up when we need to make a decision.

“I’ve seen it reported that we’re not [entering IndyCar], but no decision has been taken.”

Brown also indicated Fernando Alonso could be part of their IndyCar plans.

“I think anything’s possible as far as what Fernando could drive next year,” he said. “Right now we’re very focused on being in the moment.

“He definitely wants to win the triple crown, we’d like to do that with him. So I’d say if that’s possible for next year given where everything is right now we’re night quite shifted towards who’s driving what next year.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 28 comments on “McLaren still considering 2019 IndyCar team despite F1 struggles”

    1. i would love to see McLaren in IndyCar, and especially Fernando driving there with a real chance to the title. His talent should be used better than it has been used the last few years in F1. You may or may not like him, or his style, but the fact that he’s still hungry for wins and willing to fight anyone, anywhere, in whatever car he’s driving, that is something i admire about him.

      Also, if this goes well (like finishing among the first 3-4 teams in the championship), would be a massive publicity stunt for McLaren.

      1. I would love to see this happen too! With all the negative news in F1 it would be something positive for the team. A partnership with Andretti would give them good cars instantly. This wouldn’t impact the F1 team as it works be based in the US, other than Fernando going to do some real racing.

    2. My question is, who would they partner with to do it? Honda? With the current situation can RedBull interfere with that?

      Wouldn’t it be better for McLaren to focus on F1 at the moment, maybe just re-brand a car as they did for the Indy 500 and do it like that instead.

      Finally if they go with Alonso, how is that going to work wage wise? Alonso will still be in contract with McLaren, which would have to hire a second driver for that vacant seat. This would make Alonso the best paid IndyCar driver in history.

      Will run the risk of saying it again, Alonso and McLaren would be better of if they go in different directions. Neither can give to the other what they need at the moment.

      1. I think both McLaren and Alonso knew they didn’t really enjoyed being together now. But if they do split, Alonso would be out from motorsport and McLaren had nothing left to be proud about.

      2. jamesluke2488
        5th July 2018, 18:19

        They would team up with Chevy engines and support from Andretti Racing

        1. It would be Honda power if partnering with Andretti, which is a very good engine unlike F1. America Honda runs the program which is separate from Japan. That should allow Alonso to use Honda power, and going for the Triple Crown is good publicity for all involved.

          1. Honda will not allow a Toyota factory driver driving in a Honda powered IndyCar.

    3. Neil (@neilosjames)
      5th July 2018, 15:16

      Never thought I’d say it, because I want the best drivers racing in the series I actually watch, but… I’d love to see Alonso go to Indycar next year.

      It’s reached the point where he’s being wasted so horribly that I can’t find it in myself to want him to stay, going through the same old crap next season.

      1. +1

        Its absolutely shocking to watch and part of me hates McLaren for it.

        1. I think your comment represents very well one of the problems that McLaren faced since the Honda marriage. For some reason along the way, fans and McLaren itself prioritized the well being of Alonso, and it is not uncommon to find comments and indications in the media that Alonso is bigger or more important than McLaren, when clearly that isn’t or shouldn’t be the case.

          Truth is, if it weren’t for McLaren, where would Alonso be all this years?

          1. @johnmilk To answer your final question, in a far better place. But in all seriousness, I think he probably would have stayed at Ferrari for 2015 and 2016 and try to jump ship to Mercedes at every opportunity. I doubt he would have left Ferrari if he didn’t have a bigger offer at McLaren sorted. And who knows, maybe he would have been Rosberg’s replacement at Mercedes as he would have been out of contract with Ferrari end of 2016 anyways.

          2. Truth is, if it weren’t for McLaren, where would Alonso be all this years?

            We wouldn’t have left Ferrari (at least prematurely) in the first place. Also, Williams was rumoured to be an option as well.
            I think you’re reading waaay too much into comments that stem from the fact that Alonso is perceived as a top driver in a non-top team. If you think of it the other way around, where would McLaren be without Alonso? Extrapolating from Vandoorne’s points tally instead would turn a bad season into a horrific one.

            1. We wouldn’t

              *He wouldn’t

    4. James Coulee
      5th July 2018, 15:34

      I’d love to see Alonso try to be the first driver in history to have an F1 championship, a Sportscar/Endurance championship and an Indycar championship.

    5. And there folks is the problem.

      It takes focus to be a successful team (among other things) but without focus you’re already on the downward slope.

      1. Yup. I can’t see McLaren could be a title contender if they ever join Indy next year. Not with ‘still laser focus in F1 for now’ attitude. Not even when they successfully tricked Honda to be their partner again.

    6. I guess Zak Brown has some extra papaya-orange paint and a box of McLaren and Kiwi decals. McLaren painting a Dallara and slapping on some decals. How pathetic. Maybe McLaren can enter Fernando in the Daytona 500; paint and decal a Ford.

    7. Not to be dismissive of the requirements for a McLaren Indy Car Team, but this would likely be a US based team, a store-bought car, with a nice orange paint job, an off-the shelf engine and controls package and NO or limited technical development allowed.
      The primary ingredient is $$$ and the willingness to organize a team, develop a base and have at it.
      Looking forward to it .

    8. Somebody in the media needs to call Michel Combes the current CEO of Sprint and the former CEO of Vodaphone when they sponsored the McLaren F1 team. Michel was in Detroit with Zak and Michael Andretti, there is photo evidence of this, so we can only assume Michel is considering Sprint sponsoring Alonso’s car in Indycar. If some how McLaren pulls out, will Michel still consider sponsoring an Andretti/Alonso partnership without McLaren. We need to nip in the bud if Michel is seriously considering Indycar for Sprint marketing dollars. Because if the dollars are there, it’s irrelevant if McLaren is involved or not and Alonso still comes to Indycar.

    9. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      5th July 2018, 17:29

      Need to forget Indy otherwise resource will be too diluted. Focus on F1.

    10. Neil Dockray
      5th July 2018, 17:51

      Has anyone finally decided what exactly the ‘Triple Crown’ actually is? There does not seem to be any argument about either Indianapolis or Le Mans but even now some publications refer to the third part as the F1 World Championship whilst others refer to the Monaco GP. Apart from Indy Alonso qualifies on all the other counts but I would just like to get clear in my mind what this mythical ‘Triple Crown’ actually means.

      1. The three biggest races from the three biggest Championships. The Triple Crown definition comes from horse racing and it is about single events, not championships.

        Of course there are alternative definitions, but this is the official one imho.

        But winning all three championships would also be some kind of Triple Crown.

    11. I could not care less about McL at Indy. Nevertheless, that’ll probably means that Alonso is taking his way. It will be good for him, pursuing his dream of considering himself the best; and it will be good for McL, because just as Kvyat’s mystical legend, Fernando casts a blessing spell over the teams he leave behind.

    12. They should so it. I also hope top F1 teams do Le Mans.

    13. Indycar is great. I’d like to see Mclaren in the championship, with or without Nando.

    14. McLaren will be lucky to even make the grid in 2019.
      I see Porsche or Audi entering F1 in 2020/21 with a buyout or buy into McLaren picking up both McLarens F1 and road car operations.

    Comments are closed.