Fernando Alonso, McLaren Andretti Honda, Indianapolis 500, 2017

Alonso plans “quiet” 2019 season as McLaren rule out full-time IndyCar entry

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McLaren has ruled out entering a full-time team in the 2019 IndyCar season.

In response to a question from RaceFans today McLaren Group CEO Zak Brown confirmed the plan had been shelved.

“For the IndyCar series, we’ve taken the decision to not compete on a full-time basis in 2019,” said Brown. “We’re simply not ready yet and very focused on Formula 1.

“So we won’t be doing that in 2019. We do have a desire to do it, as I’ve mentioned before, in the near future.”

However Brown left the door open for running a one-off entry in the Indianapolis 500 as the team did last year for Fernando Alonso.

“As far as the Indy 500 is concerned, it’s something that remains of interest to us. That will be a decision that ultimately we take in the off-season.

“I think it’s something that Fernando would like to do as well, but right now we’re still focused on Formula 1 and until we get a little bit of fresh air we’ll remain focused on that.”

Alonso said on Thursday he expects to have a “quiet season” in 2019 compared to his hectic dual F1 and World Endurance Championship campaigns this year.

“I’m still deciding a little bit and finalising some of the projects. More or less they are all in my mind now and it’s just a matter of time to sign everything and confirm everything before announcing.

“I think it’s going to be a quiet season in a way after this 2018 with 28 races. I will not have 28 races but I will have enough races and important ones that will feel OK for me and hopefully for the fans as well.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 20 comments on “Alonso plans “quiet” 2019 season as McLaren rule out full-time IndyCar entry”

    1. What if…I’m just brainstorming with Zak out back…but what if Alonso comes back to McLaren F1 for one race – to win Monaco. Then wins Indy in an Orange Winning Theory car. And takes Le Mans in an orange McToyota.

      That would make for a nice low-paced, record setting 2019 season. Just need to keep a few other competitors off the track for those events and marketing history would be made.

      1. He’d need Pole. But there aren’ t enough massas in mclaren who’s gearboxes to Change for that

        1. @mrboerns: Good point. But Massa might be persuaded to join Fred for a short ‘reunion’ tour. If the price was right.

        2. @mrboerns – why are you dragging Kubica into this? ;-)

      2. Monaco and Indy are on the same day. I don’t think the logistics are possible

    2. Noooooo :(

    3. Yes McLaren needs to get their F1 program in order, but a partnership in IndyCar would have been a great way to get started with a lower investment. This is a mistake, and I’m sure Alonso’s wondering where this all went wrong. Now just a handful of WEC races.

      1. It al went wrong when Alonso berated the dominant engine builder in Indy.(Honda) He burnt the bridges on both sides of the atlantic.

        1. BS. If Honda has a reason for not wanting Alonso, it’s because he would be racing a Toyota at the same time.

          They deserved the criticism they received and if they think Alonso was harsh wait until they start hearing it from with Max and Horner. And for now that looks possible as Honda claims they made huge gains while they continue to change engines as frequently as underwear.

          Burning bridges is not an issue with his talent level as we see from Mclaren taking him back after he supposedly brought down the McLaren empire by blackmailing them.

          1. One has to wonder if Honda’s lack of success with McClaren was all Hondas fault. If Honda felt McClaren contributed to their lack of rapid progress, then Alonos’s critism would have been missplaced and hurtful. Funny thing happens when people with big wallets get around race cars and pretty woman, some outcomes just dont make sense. So we may never know the real reasons for the path that was taken.

    4. How closely tied is Alonso to Mclaren? Is there some sort of contract in place? Why do Alonso’s indy plans always have to be tied to Mclaren’s, when there are tons of Indycar teams (and the series is so competitive that most of them are potential winners)?

      I think Alonso will be racing throughout the 2019 Indycar season, just not in an orange car. He’s just waiting for his contract to expire with Mclaren before announcing his future plans.

      1. Same thought I had. Is he under contract with McLaren? I think he is in some capacity though he could probably get out of it if he desires

        It’s hard for me to believe Indy car couldn’t find him a seat if he wants it. I sensed he wasn’t too thrilled after his Indy car test in Alabama.

        In any case, after this years brutal schedule, he may want to keep a light schedule and join FE in 2020. They have made in known they will try to get them and it can only go up whereas F1 continues it’s slide in viewers.

    5. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
      20th October 2018, 9:19

      Well, THAT was anticlimactic.

    6. This might sound like a very strange suggestion, but has anyone else noticed how depressed Vettel has been looking over the past few races? He hasn’t been his usual self at all, he’s not even ‘angry man’ any longer, he’s just turning up. Yesterday’s error/penalty for speeding under the red flag was what you’d expect from someone who is simply not engaged in the event. The team have made errors this year, but so has Vettel, silly ones, ones that speak of disinterest.

      He’s got Leclerc as a team mate next year, it might further degrade brand Vettel, does he relish that prospect?

      Has Alonso noticed the same, and is wondering if Vettel is going to do a Rosberg style surprise retirement from F1, leaving a seat to fill at Ferrari? Hence not signing up for anything right now. A long shot perhaps, what has Alonso got to lose by keeping his powder dry and crossing his fingers?

      1. proud_asturian
        20th October 2018, 9:59

        no.

        ferrari don’t want him back.

        1. Well, you might have said the same about McLaren. Obviously a long shot in any case, but would Ferrari turn down such a proven quantity, even if not all of it is good news?

    7. Formula E for Nandos Tesla Motorsport? Caterhams? BTCC? Professional F1 critic like Villeneuve? Special Advisor for Motorsport Marketing and Ethics? He could do all these and more in just one season. And still come back for more F1 glory when McLaren Renault return to their race-winning ways.

    8. You do realize Formula E and electric cars are never going to take over the world, in my opinion. The raw materials that make these things work are in short supply and constrained even today. I feel Electric vehicles will always be a niche market.

      1. Totally untrue. Formula E is the future.

    9. georgeboole (@)
      20th October 2018, 17:17

      I m challenging any TV channel in the world to sign Alonso as a commentator

    Comments are closed.