By: Tanner Watkins
October 19, 2018 | 12:35 PM
The McLaren-to-IndyCar saga has continued its trend of extended anticipation periods followed by disappointing news as team C.E.O Zak Brown announced this afternoon that the British-based team will not compete full time in the IndyCar Series in 2019.
With Formula One bringing its worldwide circus to Circuit of the Americas for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, naturally many interested parties have looked for answers regarding McLaren’s highly anticipated (potential) foray into IndyCar racing.
As relayed by Luke Smith, Brown stated that the British outfit is simply “not ready” to either take on an IndyCar program on its own or commit to a joint venture with another existing team in the IndyCar Series paddock.
“We’re certainly not ready yet… We do have a desire to do it in the near future,” Brown stated.
At the same time, Brown did not rule out the possibility of McLaren driver Fernando Alonso returning to IndyCar’s crown jewel event, the Indianapolis 500, in May 2019.
“As far as the Indy 500 is concerned, it remains something of interest to us,” Brown later conceded, noting that a decision on the team’s May appearance will most likely come after Formula One’s season concludes.
Alonso, who turned 37 in June, has only the Indy 500 left to win on his quest to capture the Motorsports Triple Crown. The Spaniard won this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with Toyota and captured wins at Monaco in 2006 and 2007 while driving for Renault and McLaren.
Speaking in a pre-race press conference in Austin, Texas on Thursday, Alonso re-affirmed his interest in the American oval race.
“I don’t have 21 races in F1 to travel around for so maybe more free time, I will come to the States for a holiday (and) a little bit more,” the former Formula One world champion teased.
“Let’s see. As I’ve said many times, the Indy 500 is still very attractive as it was last year. After winning Le Mans this year, it’s even more attractive. I’m still working on plans for next year. As soon as they are finalized, you will know.”
For now, all we can count on is the fact that neither Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne or any other McLaren driver will be on the grid for March’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Indianapolis? As always, stay tuned.
Header image by Chris Owens/INDYCAR.