Start, Indianapolis 500, 2016

IndyCar “thrilled” by Alonso arrival and return of McLaren

2017 F1 season

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IndyCar’s chief executive officer Mark Miles says the championship is “thrilled” by the news Fernando Alonso will compete in thus year’s Indianapolis 500 with McLaren.

“The entire IndyCar community – competitors, fans, media, everyone – are delighted and excited at the prospect of a driver as brilliant as Fernando making his debut in our series,” said Miles.

“Even better, he’ll be making that debut in the greatest race of our year: the world-famous Indy 500. And which car will Fernando be driving this year? That’s right: a Honda-powered Andretti Autosport car – the same package that won last year’s race. Could history repeat itself? Stranger things have happened.”

Alonso has chosen to skip this year’s Monaco Grand Prix in order to compete in the famous 500-mile race at the ‘Brickyard’.

The news is a major coup for the championship which has struggled to rebuild after it divided into two warring factions in the mid-nineties. This year is its tenth season since reunification.

Alonso’s appearance will also mark the return of McLaren to the championship.

“I’m thrilled that the name of McLaren will be returning to Indianapolis,” said Miles.

“Three times in the 1970s the Indy 500 was won by a driver at the wheel of a McLaren – one win for Mark Donohue and two wins for Johnny Rutherford – and I’m sure Johnny will be at the Brickyard again this year to cheer on his old team.”

“Last but not least, we should all remember Bruce McLaren, the team’s founder, a brilliant driver-engineer-entrepreneur who was tragically killed while testing a McLaren M8D Can-Am car at Goodwood 47 long years ago, and who was finally and rightfully inducted to the Indianapolis Hall of Fame only this year.”

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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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  • 45 comments on “IndyCar “thrilled” by Alonso arrival and return of McLaren”

    1. I’m glad that Honda and Mclaren are entering a series where they are actually competitive.

      1. *McLaren is entering series where Honda is competitive.

        Sadly it hasn’t been the other way around

    2. Great news!

      1. The Dacia Sandero is coming to America!

        1. No, that’s merely good news :)

        2. Ok…and that’s the news. Now its time to put a star in our reasonably priced racing car. Some say he compares him self to a samurai and that he has his own emoji collection …all we know is he’s called Fred..errr Fernando.

    3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      12th April 2017, 12:21

      This is great news and it works for everyone! F1 gets publicity, something Liberty will be pleased about for the American market, Indy gets huge publicity out of it, Mclaren get their name out there in America which I’m sure Brown is keen on as part of his image rebranding project, Alonso gets a competitive car and a chance to fulfil a dream, casual Indy fans like myself have a major reason to watch and get excited but we also get to see Button race again at Monaco. I’m really pleased Mclaren have gone for this because Monaco is a track they are most likely to score points at, but why not with the current state of affairs. Imagine how angry Bernie would have been by this had he been in charge, he wouldn’t have directly made a penny out of it!

      1. Have to agree with all you say @rdotquestionmark, it’s really all around good news I think. And McLaren saying they might be in for full Indy program in future is smart too – as you say, increase their USA profile a bit won’t hurt, and gives them a way to run other drivers too (ie. stoffel problem etc); if they can do it in cooperation with Andretti, the costs will also be relatively manageble – all in all great.

        Oh, and we saw a real big smile from Alonso in the announcement, that has been a while too.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          12th April 2017, 16:15

          Except for Alonso fans already with tickets to Monaco 😬

          1. There are many Max fans who would take those tickets of them :)

    4. Whoa…I didn’t expect to see this when I woke up today!

      I’ll be watching the 500 this year!

      1. +1 Same here. Now I just got to find out who’s broadcasting it in my region. I expect a fair share of F1 fans tuning in to that race this year.

    5. Here’s a thought though, Monaco could conceivably be the highest points haul this year for the McLaren, maybe even the only points. If they bring Jenson back for it, how funny would it be if he beat Alonso in the driver’s championship with a single race?

      1. McLaren where nowhere last year in Monaco…..

        Or Hungary or Sngapore for that matter. Their chassis hasn’t been anywhere near as good as they say it is. With a Merc engine in 2014 they had 1 podium and were fighting for 7th-11th place in most cases. That’s also where they were in 2014 and I’d say it’s where they are now but for Honda putting them a little bit further down.

        1. Monaco 2016 – Alonso 5th 10 points

          I’m not expecting them to win it, but considering how bad things are this year for them, I would say Jenson beating Alonso this season with that one result is an outlier.

        2. Also 7th and 8th on the grid in Hungary 2016

        3. @jeffreyj Mclaren were 5th at Monaco, and 7th at Hungary and Singapore which is great by their current standards. Not to mention 5th and 9th at Hungary 2015 as well.

      2. @philipgb

        Seriously doubt it. Last year Mclaren wasn’t particularly strong at Monaco and it was only Alonso’s driving and some luck that got them in P5. I pretty much remember Jenson whining about understeer, oversteer, balance and his usual rubbish… and scraping through in to the points at the end of the race. I really doubt he’s suddenly found the talent during his sabbatical to even trump Vandoorne’s performance.

    6. Ho. Ly. Crap. Definitely did not see that one coming. Guess Alonso wants to race a Honda V6 turbo that actually works. Here’s another, link to a related story on McLaren possibly pursuing a full-time Indy gig.
      https://www.motorsport.com/indycar/news/mclaren-open-to-full-works-indycar-programme-in-future-892893/
      More interesting to me was about halfway down where they say this, “…we may potentially enter the Le Mans 24 Hours again some time – we won it outright in 1995 with our iconic McLaren F1 GTR…”. All this time I figured Alonso would leave McLaren for a WEC drive with Porsche. How cool would it be for him to contest LeMans in a P1 based McLaren LMP1 against Porsche and Toyota for the outright win!?!

      1. That would be totally cool!

      2. Draft Hamilton, with Alonso and Button for the outright challenge. That would be as good as seeing smiles return to the F1 podium celebrations. #makeF1greatagain

        1. F1 dream team going into lemans would be amazing spectacle. See how the best endurance racers compare.

      3. American F1, I think you’re getting a little overexcited there, as the costs of competing in the LMP1-H category are pretty prohibitive to new entrants now (there were suggestions that Audi may have been spending as much as $240 million a year to compete in the WEC).

        The indication is that, if McLaren do enter a car at Le Mans, it would almost certainly be a GT category car – they’d most probably upgrade the 650S GT3 car into a GTE category car – because that is a relatively cheap way to participate at Le Mans.

    7. Surprising but very cool! Let’s see if he can pull off a ‘Hulkenberg’!!

    8. Well an alternative scenario is McLaren pulls out of F1. They do not seem to get things straighten out and the engine is only a small part of the problem.
      This could be the first step…

      1. Not going to happen.

      2. Engine is only a small part of the problem? I would think it’s the monster’s share of the problem.

        1. failing drive shafts.. electrical failures, etc.. The team does not deliver!
          With a real engine the ML probably falls apart during the race.

    9. Time for him to fire up iRacing and test like mad! spectacular news all round, it’ll make the 500 worth watching!

    10. Now the question is, which race am I going to watch?

      1. You can watch both, race times don’t conflict.

        1. for those who likes motor racing that sunday is always special. Here in South America is Monaco at breakfast, Indy at lunch and for the casual NASCAR fan the cocacola 600 in the evening

    11. Maybe this is a good way for Mclaren to part with Honda in F1 for next year,

      a good way of saying we had a good relation but things didn’t go too well in F1, so lets be partners in another sport while we get another engine supplier for us next year. Could be.

      1. A full time McLaren Indycar team for next year… that would be very cool.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          12th April 2017, 19:17

          McLaren in IndyCar would make me watch that season.

          1. Yes cool indeed, I never watched a live Indycar race, this will definitely tempt me. @graham228221 @mbr-9

    12. I’M OVER THE MOON!
      This is sooo exciting!

    13. First good McLaren news I’ve heard in ages!
      I do have a feeling that Bernie would have found a way to veto this — so glad he cannot.

    14. I’m really happy for IndyCar – this is hopefully a real shot in the arm for the series. For me, it is easily the most entertaining open wheel series going – whether road, street or oval, the vast majority of races are competitive and action-packed from start to finish.

      It’s a bit crazy when you think how excited F1 fans are that ONE other driver has a regular shot at winning this year, whereas it’s almost impossible to predict an IndyCar race even after qualifying.

      This year is already shaping up to be a stonker, with smaller teams winning the first two races, and the new 2018 car looks stunning and very racy. Hopefully Alonso joining the field will give Indycar the attention it deserves.

    15. I guess I’ll watch it then.
      Should be interesting.

    16. It would be absolutely hilarious if Alonso’s Honda engine blew up at the Indy 500 as well… and instead their Formula 1 team finally finished a race in a strong position at Monaco.

      1. To finish in a strong position you have to finish first ;)

    17. McLaren should enter Indy, and LeMans… Focus on winning those, while Honda builds expertise and then win F1 in 2029.

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