We got excited when Alonso was testing the Andretti Autosport Indycar last month. Alonsomania reigned at the Indy 500 in 2017 with the aforementioned team giving him a drive with McLaren heavily involved too. He was leading the race in moments, and clearly generated a boost in interest for the legendary race. But the Indy 500 win still eludes Alonso, remaining the final barrier to becoming only the second driver to claim the triple crown.
But McLaren CEO Zak Brown has today confirmed that McLaren will not contest a full season of Indy in 2019, but remains optimistic about giving Alonso another shot at the Indy 500. He said that,
“We’ve taken the decision to not compete on a full-time basis in 2019. We’re simply not ready yet and are focused on Formula One, so we won’t be doing that in 2019. We do have the desire, as we’ve mentioned before, in the near future.
“As far as the Indy 500 is concerned, it’s something that remains of interest to us. That’ll be a decision that ultimately we take in the off-season and it’s something Fernando would like to do. Right now we’re still focused on Formula One and until we get a little bit of fresh air we’ll remain focused on that.”
The pull of potential success in other series is clearly tempting for McLaren during this difficult spell in F1. Brown’s comments hint at this, but also emphasise a commitment to getting the operation in F1 running smoothly before considering something as momentous as integrating into another series too.
The intention to race in Indy for a full season is clearly still there, but it seems that we will have to be patient for the time being.