McLaren plans own Indy 500 entry, coy on second car
By Chris Medland | RACER magazine and RACER.com F1 correspondent
McLaren Racing will be its own independent entry at the 2019 Indianapolis 500, according to Zak Brown, who also did not rule out running a second car.
Fernando Alonso will return to Indy next year in his pursuit of the Triple Crown, with McLaren announcing the news after qualifying at the Brazilian Grand Prix. While details were thin on the ground in both the press release and a later press conference, Brown said a McLaren Racing entry will differ from its Andretti partnership in 2017.
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“This will be done by McLaren Racing,” Brown said. “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.
“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.
“I don’t think we had an original plan. We’ve always had a desire to go as McLaren Racing. 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.
“So that was one of things the shareholders and ourselves wanted to do, to go as McLaren Racing. 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.”
Asked by RACER if setting up a team means it would be worth running more than one car, Brown said with a smile: “I don’t think I am going to comment on that at this moment.”
McLaren ruled out a full-time IndyCar entry in 2019 just a few weeks ago, but Brown says the greater involvement at the Indy 500 next year will act as good preparation for any future move.
“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 full-time entry.”
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