Fernando Alonso, McLaren, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2019

McLaren could enter more IndyCar races for Indy 500 return


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McLaren could expand its IndyCar programme to include more races before returning for another attempt at the Indianapolis 500.

The team’s sole entry for this year’s race will not be on the grid tomorrow after a catalogue of errors led to Fernando Alonso missing the cut for the 33-car field.

Two years ago Alonso qualified fifth on the grid and led 27 laps of the race in a car run by McLaren and IndyCar squad Andretti. However McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown does not believe that created unrealistic expectations of how well they could perform entering the single race by themselves.

“Well 2017 was a totally different programme,” said Brown in response to a question from RaceFans. “We partnered with Andretti, it was their car, it was primarily their people, so there it was more about ‘can Fernando get the job done?’ Which clearly he could have.

“This year we went about it pretty much independent. Carlin was a much smaller resource for us, they weren’t running the car, it’s McLaren’s fault for not qualifying, so I think it’s pretty hard to compare the two because we didn’t race in a like-for-like scenario.”

Brown wants to take the team back to Indianapolis and will reconsider whether to partner with another team or enter more races to increase McLaren’s experience of IndyCar racing.

“When we go back we want to do it as McLaren. So how much involvement we will potentially need from another team? Do we do a couple more races to get ready for Indy? That’s something that we’ve discussed.

“We’ve got to step back and put it all on the table and look at everything and then it’s not ‘would we do this differently or that differently’. I think it’s a catalogue of things that we need to address.”

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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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  • 10 comments on “McLaren could enter more IndyCar races for Indy 500 return”

    1. I wonder if this time they will plan on having a steering wheel and maybe brush up on imperial to metric conversion? LOL

    2. ColdFly (@)
      25th May 2019, 7:51

      so there (2017) it was more about ‘can Fernando get the job done?’ Which clearly he could have.

      And 2019 it was more about ‘can the CEO get the job done?’
      Which clearly he cannot!

    3. More races! I think this has been a great story to follow and I applaud and respect McLaren for attempting such a bold move.

      Brown has said McLaren’s #1 focus will always be on F1, but why? Finishing 4th or 7th is not that big a difference at the end of the day, all anyone cares about is the champion. If they put some proper effort into Indy, not this slapdash seemingly last minute entry without a steering wheel or ready backup car, they have a real chance to do something historic, even greater than Mercedes cruising to yet another title.

      I hope they go at it with full force and we see a completely different McLaren next year.

      1. I agree with everything you said except for the Mercedes bit. I appreciate it LOOKS easy, but I’m not sure coming back from 55 years of self-imposed F1 exile, winning your first race in your third year of competition, and going onto a streak of five, potentially six double world championships out of TEN seasons entered is “cruising”.

      2. Agree 100% Tristan! They must run the full season next year to have a chance at Indy.

        There are only 5 oval races out of 17 race schedule. If they’re serious they should run a few races for the balance of this season to get more experience before next year, as Indy (the first oval on the schedule) is an entirely different beast.

        Hard to know whether Alonso will wait another year for them or look at a bigger IndyCar team with vastly more experience.

    4. Like I commented on Facebook: I am surprised! Who would have thought that a good preparation to win a BIG race is doing some more normal races of the same competition before? Amazing…

    5. A full indy season is the same cost as their f1 catering, they won’t even notice it in the budget :)

      1. A full indy season is the same cost as their f1 catering, they won’t even notice it in the budget :)

        And ask their F1 staff to bring a lunch box ;)

    6. Just do a full season with Alonso and maybe Kubica. Would be great to see these two legends take it to America!

    Comments are closed.