Fernando Alonso, McLaren, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2019

Alonso might be persuaded to do full IndyCar season – Brown

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Fernando Alonso might be convinced to attempt a full season in IndyCar despite having ruled it out, says McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.

McLaren’s bid to win the Indianapolis 500 with Alonso this year ended in disaster as the team failed to qualify for the 33-car field. Brown said the team wants to return to IndyCar but is more likely to consider a full season entry instead of a one-off appearance at Indianapolis.

“We learned a lot on what not to do this year in Indy, that was a rude awakening,” he said. “I made a lot of mistakes on how I put that together.

“The reasons we want to go to Indy remain. That doesn’t change. When you have a failure you need to learn from it and grow. The easy thing is to not get back on the horse but you can’t do that in life, I think you’ve got to dust yourself off and get back on the horse.

“So that too is under active review. We would do it differently, needless to say that we did it this year. And if we did it I’d be more inclined to look to do it on a full time basis than a one-off. I think having tried that, that’s a pretty tall order, or certainly to go at it by yourself is I think too tall of an order.”

Alonso is striving to win the ‘triple crown’ of motor sport by adding the Indianapolis 500 to his Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours successes. He has said he does not want to contest the full 17-round championship, but Brown is hopeful he could be persuaded to.

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“He’s told me he doesn’t want to do a full season. But let’s see what happens when he’s at home for two weekends consecutively not driving a racecar for the first time in 20 years. Personally I think he would enjoy IndyCar racing. But he has told me at this point does that he doesn’t [want to].

“He knows the commitment it will take. You’ve got to move to America, et cetera. And Fernando is an all-in or all-out guy as you all know. So I think it’s more of a function of he has been racing this long and does he want to take a little bit of time off and figure out what he wants to do.”

“I think he needs to take the summer break to kind of reconcile in his own mind what does he want to do,” Brown added. “But if we were to go IndyCar racing and he wanted to do it of course he’d be on top of our list.”

Brown denied the team would prefer to avoid working with Alonso again because of the added media attention which comes with the two-times world champion. “We don’t want to shy away from the spotlight,” he said.

“I think Fernando brings a tremendous amount of focus but as McLaren so do we. So that doesn’t really factor into our thinking of ‘let’s take a driver that doesn’t come with as much pressure’.

“If we enter IndyCar it’s gonna be to win races whether it’s with Fernando or another driver. So I don’t think that changes those dynamics.”

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  • 15 comments on “Alonso might be persuaded to do full IndyCar season – Brown”

    1. Zak B needs to forget all about Alonso now and focus on his two successful F1 drivers Norris and Sainz.

      Yesterday is gone.

      1. Browns job at McLaren is overseer for the total racing function in regards providing the best marketing exposure for the brand. He now employees very good staff to run the F1 team. They will “look after” and “focus” on Sainz and Norris plus the F1 development.

        Brown is 100% right in his employment function to oversee DeFerran run the Indy car (or the north american marketing campaign) program.

        Reading between the lines what Brown says is

        1) McLaren will do a full Indy car campaign
        2) They will look for a partner (possibly Gannassi who only runs two cars at the moment and with Dixon becoming the lead driver if Alonso does not see the light)
        3) They have offered first dips for the full time drive to Alonso but if he says no, the campaign will still go ahead irrespective (step up or step out is the message to Alonso).
        4) Alonso will need to step up if he wants to achieve a Indianapolis 500 win with McLaren (not many other options without him personally funding an alternative drive with a lesser team elsewhere).

        1. They definitely need a sponsor to be competitive. Ganassi is a good shout, maybe as a ‘Chip Ganassi Racing with McLaren’ and have Alonso in that 1 car, similarly to Marco Andretti and Jack Harvey are driving this year. And then CGR get the 2 cars for themselves as per. One thing the Indy500 showed, is that they kind of need to work with a team to be in any way competitive in the short term.

          1. I don’t know why I said a sponsor instead of an affiliation, but there you go.

        2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          26th July 2019, 19:06

          If that is the case I hope it doesn’t leave Rosenqvist out of a drive. He has been so-so this season but impressive enough to deserve another year

    2. That should be good for Alonso, he will get a chance at topping off Graham Hills record of triple crown. All 3 championships along with 3 most important wins of each category.

      1. And he’s won the Le Mans 24 Hours (2018 & 2019) and the Monaco Grand Prix (2006 & 2007) twice, and each of those events he’s won on consecutive occasions! I’d say that’s a record in itself. I don’t think anyone has achieved that ever.

    3. I never understood why he didnt do it for this year too, it’s not like he had other racing series to compete in. The WEC is too few races to really count. Also, if he really wants to win Indy500 he needs to get a better grip (and car) on oval racing, which can only be gained by actually competing in the series. But I think he needs a different team than McLaren to succeed.

    4. If he’s part of a team like the Andretti outing it’d be good.
      But that one off team, even with the experience of a season, is going to miserably fail again in Indy.

      I do think that this is better for Alonso. He can truly cement his place as motorsport’s greatest if he wins the Indy season plus other famous circuit races.

    5. Neil (@neilosjames)
      26th July 2019, 21:10

      It’d be good if he did… just not with McLaren.

    6. Regardless, he’s certainly proved himself to be the best all round driver since Schumacher. Nobody else even comes close!

    7. Part of me wonders if in the back of his mind he just doesn’t think a full indy car season is worth the risk. He doesn’t need to take risks at this stage of his life so unless he’s really going to enjoy the season he’ll stay away. There is the small matter of spending a few years building the team only for someone else to reap the rewards.

    8. It’s a mystery why this wasn’t done long ago as Alonso should have been running the full season. Doing this would have probably avoided the debacle at Indy with more experince with the cars. There will be no affiliation with a Honda team (Ganassi, Andretti…) unless they can bury the hatchett with Honda, so that means Chevrolet power.

      Just as Indy was a shock, Alonso and the team will find out quickly how talented the driver line up is and will be surprised on road and street courses too. There are excellent drivers in the series.

      So much time wasted. Better late than never.

    9. So Alonso is denied an F1 seat at McLaren and would get this as compensation? He must have a very lucrative contract with them.

      1. Alonso does not WANT a mclaren f1 seat, they improved but they’re still a midfield team, I’m even doubtful he’d want a red bull seat, but especially with gasly being generally bad they should’ve taken him if given the chance, and if you say no to red bull you also say no to ferrari which is similar overall, so basically currently alonso would only join mercedes.

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