Fernando Alonso will enter 2019 Indy 500 with new McLaren Racing team
Fernando Alonso will head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a fully-backed McLaren Racing entry, according to McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.
When Alonso made his first start there in 2017, the entry was in collaboration with Andretti Autosport.
“We’ve always had a desire to go as McLaren Racing,” Brown said at SpeedCafe.com. “Last time we did it on such short notice I think it would have been impossible, it was six weeks between announcing and racing, and you can’t build up a race team that quickly.”
Saturday’s announcement that Alonso would enter the 2019 Indy 500 was done early enough to allow the team to put all the necessary pieces in place with existing partners and shareholders of McLaren Racing.
The team has a little more than six months - which is still a very short window for the creation of a new team. Brown expects economies-of-scale that will allow them to pull off this feat in the time allotted.
“It’s a whole separate racing team that will be created and we are a large racing team with a lot of resources and I am extremely confident, or we would not have entered, that we can give maximum effort in our F1 effort as well as Indy without one compromising the other,” Brown said.
“It is going to be people that are not currently on our Formula 1 team. It will be built up from relationships that we have. It’ll be a new McLaren entry.”
The reasoning behind creating a new team may well be strategic.
So that was one of things the shareholders and ourselves wanted to do, to go as McLaren Racing,” Brown said. “That is why we have made the announcement today to make time to bring those resources and the people in to have our own team.”
And while Brown would not reveal whether there is any credibility to rumors that the organization may go fulltime IndyCar racing either next year or in the future, putting the pieces in place to run a fully supported entry keeps that option alive.
Certainly we’ll be in a position where we are there with equipment, people and resources so it gives us a head start if ultimately we end up doing a fulltime entry,” Brown said.
Fueling speculation as to McLaren’s interest in running IndyCar long term was a statement by Tony Stewart last week that Brown was one of the principles he spoke with about a possible ride in the 2020 Indy 500.