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McLaren still considering IndyCar programme

NEWS STORY
30/07/2019

To be filed under heading 'best forgotten', along with the most recent Honda F1 partnership, McLaren's 2019 Indy 500 programme was a catalogue of errors that ended with Fernando Alonso failing to even qualify for the event, thereby ending his hopes of the Triple Crown for another year.

McLaren IndyCar boss, Bob Fernley was subsequently given his marching orders and the Woking company appeared to call time on the programme.

However, Zak Brown has revealed that the company is still considering its options, and whereas this year's attempts saw the Woking outfit running its own programme, Brown admits that it missed out on the experience and insight of the McLaren-Andretti Autosport effort in 2017.

"That's still very much a work in progress," said Brown. "We learned a lot on what not to do this year in Indy. It was a rude awakening.

"I made a lot of mistakes in how I put that together," he admitted. "The reasons we want to go to Indy remain. That doesn't change. I think 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. 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, than we did it this year," he admitted. "And if we did it I'd be more inclined to look to do it on a full-time basis than a one-off. 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 still be the preferred option in terms of driver, he said: "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," hre continued. "I think this is the first time in 17 or 18 years he doesn't have a calendar filled with racing next year, so I think he needs to take the summer break to reconcile in his own mind what he wants to do. But if we were to go IndyCar racing and he wanted to do it, of course he would be top of our list.

"We don't want to shy away from spotlight, Fernando brings a tremendous amount of focus but I think 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 going to be to win races, ether that's with Fernando or another driver. So I don't think it changes those dynamics.

"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 race car for the first time in twenty years. Personally I think he would enjoy IndyCar racing, but he's told me at this point he doesn't want to.

"He knows the commitment it would take. You've got to move to America, etc., and you all know Fernando's an all-in or an all-out guy, so I think it's more of a function of he's been racing for this long, does he want to take a bit of time off and figure out what he wants to do?"

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1. Posted by Spartacus, 31/07/2019 22:13

"Most teams that are involved in a "One off" are not very successful unless they are part of or associated with a full time team to harvest data from. McLaren should commit to a partial schedule however to do that they are looking at two years out to be competitive, since Indy is early in the season. Alonso would be first driver on the list but there are others fully capable to fill that seat. I wouldn't let his hesitation/decision keep them out of the mix. "

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