McLaren interested in full IndyCar season, but Alonso isn’t

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, has said that he would prefer to run the whole NTT IndyCar Series rather than an Indy 500 one-off but that Fernando Alonso does not want to run a full-season campaign.

McLaren interested in full IndyCar season, but Alonso isn’t

Speaking to Formula 1 media in Germany, ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Brown seemed positive to the idea of a return to U.S. open-wheel racing, despite the team’s infamous failure to qualify for this year’s race.

“[Indy] is still very much a work in progress,” he said. “We learned a lot on what not to do this year at Indy. That was a rude awakening.

“I made a lot of mistakes in 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 down and get back on the horse.

“So that is under active review. We would do it differently, needless to say, to how 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, I think is too tall an order.”

Asked if Alonso would be the driver chosen to lead a potential McLaren IndyCar attack, Brown replied first by addressing rumors from earlier this month that Alonso and McLaren had split.

“We wanted him to test our Formula 1 car to validate everything that he was giving us feedback on last year,” said Brown, “so the only statement we made was that we weren't going to have him test our Formula 1 car anymore. And then that got picked up in the wrong way because our relationship is very much intact – commercially, contractually, nothing's changed.

“I'd love to have him involved in an IndyCar program if we were to do it and he wants to do it. He's undecided on what he wants to do next year. This is the first time in 17-18 years he doesn't have a calendar filled with racing so I think he needs to take the summer break to kind of reconcile in his own mind what he wants to do. But if he wants to go IndyCar racing and we were to do it, of course he'd be top of our list…

“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 racing car for the first time in 20 years! Personally, I think he would enjoy IndyCar racing.

“But yeah, he has told me at this point that he doesn't [want to do a full season]. He knows the commitment it would take. You've got to move to America and Fernando's an all-in or all-out guy as you all know. It's more a function of he has been racing that long and does he want to take a little bit of time off and figure out what he wants to do.

Motorsport.com enquired whether it might be easier for McLaren to enter IndyCar without Alonso because there’s such a big spotlight on him.

Brown replied: “We don't want to shy away from the spotlight. Fernando brings a tremendous amount of focus, but I think as McLaren so do we.

“That doesn't really factor into our thinking – 'Let's take a driver that doesn't come with as much pressure'. If we enter IndyCar, it's to win races whether it's with Fernando or another driver. I don't think it changes those dynamics.”

Current rumor suggests a tie-up with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – Arrow Electronics is also a McLaren sponsor – but team co-owner Sam Schmidt told Motorsport.com that he didn’t wish to comment at the moment.

shares
comments
Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Dixon leads opening practice

Previous article

Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Dixon leads opening practice

Next article

Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Herta fastest in FP2, Newgarden shunts

Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Herta fastest in FP2, Newgarden shunts
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams McLaren
Author David Malsher-Lopez
Colton Herta – America's next racing hero Prime

Colton Herta – America's next racing hero

Last Sunday, Colton Herta demolished his IndyCar opposition in the second round of the season. David Malsher-Lopez explains why Andretti Autosport’s youngest ace bears all the hallmarks of becoming the country’s next homegrown motorsport hero.

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival? Prime

How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call Prime

Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call

The fight for supremacy in the NTT IndyCar Series will be as intense as ever. David Malsher-Lopez is your guide to the main contenders and six intriguing sub-plots.

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight? Prime

Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight?

With Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up, 2021 could be the year Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet joins the IndyCar elite, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team Prime

Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team

Over 37 seasons, Dale Coyne has run no fewer than 80 Indy car drivers – including himself! Ahead of his first season running Romain Grosjean, we asked Coyne to pick the best 10 drivers ever to compete for him. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 10, 2021
Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed Prime

Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed

Last Friday, Marco Andretti announced he is withdrawing from fulltime IndyCar racing. David Malsher-Lopez explains how this third-gen racer was a puzzle in the car, but a straight shooter off-track.

IndyCar
Jan 19, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car? Prime

Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car?

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indy car game-changer that won three Indy 500s in six years.

IndyCar
Dec 23, 2020