There will be no full-time McLaren team in the 2019 IndyCar Series, McLaren CEO Zak Brown confirmed Friday. Brown made the confirmation during a Friday media availability at the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) near Austin Texas.
Brown was taking part in the Friday Team Representatives media conference held before every F1 Grand Prix when he was asked if McLaren would have a full-time IndyCar team in 2019.
“For the IndyCar Series, we’ve taken the decision to not compete on a full-time basis in 2019,” Brown responded. “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.
“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 continued to express interest in competing in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 in 2019. That will likely now be for Andretti Autosport.
When Brown and McLaren representatives came to the United States to meet with members of IndyCar in May and later in June, a full-time McLaren entry seemed like a tremendous opportunity for both the team and the series. But after McLaren made some disparaging remarks about its Honda engine during the 2017 season, and later switched to Renault for 2018, the top Honda officials in Japan made it clear that it would not want its brand associated with McLaren in IndyCar.
The Japanese culture values loyalty above all and believed the criticism of the Honda F1 program was a strict violation of that loyalty.
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