After pushing to get Fernando Alonso a ride at the Indy 500 for this year, McLaren executive director Zak Brown doesn’t want it to be a one-off event.
McLaren announced prior to the Bahrain Formula 1 race that it would be entering the Indy 500 this year with Alonso as part of a joint effort with Honda and Andretti Autosport.
The race marks McLaren’s first entry to the ‘500 since 1979, and Alonso will be chasing its third victory following Johnny Rutherford’s successes in 1974 and 1976.
Speaking on Trackside on 1070 The Fan radio in Indianapolis, Brown said that he would like to make McLaren’s presence at the ‘500 a yearly event, but stressed that a full-season entry previously suggested by shareholder Mansour Ojjeh is still some years off.
“I would like to see the Indy 500 being part of McLaren’s annual racing efforts when we go racing,” Brown said. “We have to make sure we do it competitively. It has to be commercially viable and fits our brand. We feel IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 offer all those things to McLaren.
“I’d say a full season programme in McLaren is not yet under full consideration and would be years away because that would be a tall order.”
While Andretti will be chiefly in charge of Alonso’s entry at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, McLaren will be sending a small group of staff to the race, but will not draw anyone away from its F1 commitments at Monaco on the same weekend.
“Andretti Autosport will take the lead, Michael [Andretti] will be calling the race. It will be his team over the wall,” Brown said.
“We are sending out a small crew to support. We have some areas where some of the technology we’ve developed will be beneficial. From everything to the technology on the car to some of our people.
“We’ve got some people with some great IndyCar experience. We can’t detract or remove any effort from our Formula 1 [team]. It will be people from the factory that will have relevant experience.”