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Stoffel Vandoorne "under consideration" for IndyCar drive with McLaren

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has singled out the former McLaren F1 driver and current Mercedes FE driver as a potential driver for its third car

With the confirmation today that Arrow Electronics will remain the title sponsor of the Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team as well as a partner for McLaren's F1 endeavours, things are now being set in motion for the future of McLaren's IndyCar efforts. McLaren's CEO Zak Brown has already told the public about the potential of Arrow McLaren SP running a third car in the IndyCar championship by 2023, but not only is there a potential of the third car showing up from time to time as early as next season but there also could be a very familiar name behind the wheel! As part of his statements about the future of this third car arrangement, Brown named former McLaren F1 driver and current Mercedes FE driver and F1 reserve Stoffel Vandoorne as somebody who could fit the bill of being than third man for McLaren's IndyCar efforts.

"Once we get going on a third car, whenever that is, which won’t be the start of the year, we’ll then run a third car [full-time]," Brown said to Autosport. "We’re not going to be in and out, once we go, we’re going. For sure, we’ll run a third car in 2023, maybe we’ll get that out at some point in ’22. Whenever that may be, we don’t have that in mind yet."

Brown went on to explain that a lot of the reasons behind the addition of a third car would be "driver dependent" and wouldn't be an addition just for the sake of having three cars on the grid. "If I can’t get a driver who I think is championship calibre, then we’re not going to put a third car out just for the sake of it. I want someone who can be in the car for five years, at least to have that opportunity. Juan [Pablo Montoya] did a great job at Indy, so I’d like to run him again [at Indianapolis], but whoever that third driver is, it’s someone that I want to see being in our car for five years."

When Autosport asked him about whether Vandoorne (who is in attendance at the Laguna Seca round of the IndyCar championship this weekend) would fit that bill of a championship calibre driver who could be there for 5 years, Brown responded that "Stoffel would definitely be under consideration. I think he’s a very good racing driver."

"It depends on where we are," Brown was keen to reiterate. "If we get the driver where we say ‘that’s it, that’s him’ we go, if we’re down to two or three, and we’re not sure, then it could be two or three driver task. Kinda like Rahal has done [with the #45 entry]. It depends where we get to on drivers."

Arrows McLaren SP has already confirmed that its two main drivers Pato O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist will return to the team next year. Juan Pablo Montoya drove a third car for two races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May (this included the Indy 500) and former Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnussen stood in for Rosenqvist at Road America whilst he was unable to drive due to an injury.

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Comments (2)

  • Isn't McLaren going to enter FE in 2023 or something also?

      2 months ago
    • Yeah, they've signed an option to enter it for Gen 3 should they want to do so. I think it's more likely to happen than not considering they're also entering Extreme E next year.

        2 months ago
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