Alonso "would have been right there" without failure - Brown

Fernando Alonso “would have been right there” in contention for a debut Indianapolis 500 victory without his engine failure, believes McLaren CEO Zak Brown.

Alonso "would have been right there" without failure - Brown
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda holds his version of the milk after retiring from the race
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Zak Brown, McLaren Executive Director
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda speaks to the media after retiring from the race
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda, Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Zak Brown, McLaren CEO, Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda

Having started fifth, McLaren Honda Andretti driver Alonso was running in seventh and close to the leading group when his engine blew with 21 laps of the race remaining.

The Spaniard had led 27 laps of the race, having skipped the clashing Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix to be able to contest the blue riband IndyCar event.

Brown, who was instrumental in putting together the deal for Alonso to race at Indianapolis, believed the two-time F1 champion would have been in the mix in the closing stages if not for the blow-up that ended his charge.

“Sad for Fernando, everyone at McLaren, everyone at Andretti,” said Brown. “We’ve had a very painful couple of years and this was hopefully intended as part of the programme to give us a good result.

“To be let down again as we have been is just shocking – but not surprising.

“Fernando mentioned something about halfway through the race, he thought something had gone off a little bit. So that gave us a scare, but his pace seemed to be good.

“Clearly he has got a feel for the car, so I wouldn’t be surprised that what he felt at that moment was what caught us out in the end.

“Given how the race finished and where he was running, it’s easy now to say he could have, should have, would have won, but I think he would have been right there.”

2018 return uncertain

Alonso himself was clear he would “definitely” return to the Indy 500 in future, a sentiment echoed by Brown - although the McLaren boss wasn't sure whether it would be as soon as 2018.

“I think he’ll come back one day, I don’t know what year that will be," said Brown. "But he wants to win the triple crown and I don’t think he necessarily thought he’d add the second one to his belt first time out. So I think he’ll be back.

"Hopefully he’ll be back driving for us trying to win the Monaco GP, so it might not be 2018. But you never know, the calendar is not out yet.”

“Our first goal is to be back trying to win Monaco with Fernando in the car next year, so we’ll see how our schedules are.”

Additional reporting by Damien Smith

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