Fernando Alonso, McLaren Honda Andretti, Indianapolis 500, IndyCar, 2018

McLaren insist Indy 500 bid won’t distract from F1 effort

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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McLaren say their return to the Indianapolis 500 with Fernando Alonso next year will not distract them from their Formula 1 campaign.

The team announced yesterday it will return to the race it entered in association with Andretti Autosport in 2017. The full details of its 2019 effort, including which engine it will use, have not been confirmed.

However McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said the project will “definitely not” distract them from their F1 effort.

“It’s a whole separate racing team that will be created. And you know we’re a large racing team with lots of resources. I’m extremely confident – or we would not have entered – that we can give maximum effort to our Formula One and this Indy 500 effort without one compromising the other.

The IndyCar effort will be separate from the F1 programme, said Brown, who described the decision to return to the race as a “no-brainer”.

“But there were a variety of criteria that we needed to meet for ourselves. One, not detracting from our Formula One operations in any way, shape or form; two, making sure we give Fernando – because we will be going as McLaren Racing – a car capable of winning; And then of course sponsorship and partners in the commercial side.

“So we always wanted to do it as we’ve been speaking about. But we needed to make sure we got everything in place and we’re happy with where we’re at.”

Brown did not confirm whether the team will run more than one car. But he said they are still considering a full-time IndyCar entry after 2019. “IndyCar as the series is attractive to McLaren Racing,” he said.

“We have big ambitions. First and foremost to get back to winning world championships and winning Formula One races.

“But we think the IndyCar series the market in which it races in, how they go motor racing is of interest to McLaren. So it’s something that a longer-term point of view continues to be under review and I would certainly like to see us as a full-time entry in the future.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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14 comments on “McLaren insist Indy 500 bid won’t distract from F1 effort”

  1. Next year: McMelon to quit F1 to focus completely on Indy.
    Would be terrible but wouldn’t be surprised if it happens

  2. Zak Brown knows best.
    Keep Alonso happy and the results will surely follow. It’s what the fans want. It’s what the team want. Most importantly it’s what the shareholders want.
    The Alonso Triple Crown.
    If they aquire that they will become invincible.

  3. In fairness I don’t doubt Zak’s word on this, as it is pretty obvious that only 2 teams are seriously in the running for success in the modern formula 1, and McLaren have completely broken down as a competitive entity, because they can’t even keep pace with teams who have a third of their budget and facilities.

  4. Even if it affected the F1 program how much worse could they get?

  5. “And you know we’re a large racing team with lots of resources. I’m extremely confident – or we would not have entered – that we can give maximum effort to our Formula One and this Indy 500 effort without one compromising the other.”

    Your large team with lots of resources are already failing horribly in F1 how is this an reassurance for anything?

  6. McLaren insist their F1 effort wont distract from their Indy 500 bid.

    Now that is something I could believe in.

    1. Took the words from my mouth, McLaren shouldn’t even have made a statement about this, rather embarrassing if you ask me considering how bad their F1 program is.

  7. If running in both series can be of benefit to the marque as a whole then I say go do it guys.

    1. @nullapax – a very pragmatic comment. Their endeavours are after all marketing for their sportscars.

  8. Johnny Appleseed
    11th November 2018, 14:32

    I don’t think an IndyCar team will change anything for McLaren. They have not been the same since they started building sports cars and Mercedes dumped their stock and bought the Brawn team. We live in an era where the only teams that are successful are manufacturer teams that build both engine and chassis and spend half a billion pounds a year. McLaren isn’t that so until they find themselves on the level of a Ferrari where they build their own engines and have that level of money behind them it really doesn’t matter other than Marketing for their car manufacturing business.

  9. Stephen Huxtable
    11th November 2018, 14:53

    What F1 effort?

  10. I doubt it will distract much; there is a spec chassis, gearbox, and bodywork. The engine will probably be a Chevy for obvious reasons. About all they need to do is prep the chassis and provide a pit crew and a paint job.

  11. They’re going to run on their own, without an existing teams assistance. Should be interesting.

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