Alonso, McLaren open to further Indy 500 attempts

Both Fernando Alonso and McLaren CEO Zak Brown have said that their run at the 101st Indianapolis 500 next month with Andretti Autosport-Honda may not be their only attempts at winning the event.

Speaking to the media at this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Alonso said: “Let’s take it day by day and see on May 29th – the Monday afterward – what is the situation, how much I enjoyed the experience, how competitive I felt, and if I had fun, which is the priority for me.

“I do this because I love racing cars, I love driving the fastest cars, and the Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world so it’s very attractive to race it, enjoy it and to feel that unique experience. Everyone is telling me it will be a very unique atmosphere and a very intense day.

“So after that, whatever the result we will achieve on the Sunday, we will think together what is the future from that point.

“I’m very open. If I want to to be the most complete driver in the world or the best driver in the world, then I want to experience all the different cars and different driving techniques, and I need to adapt and grow up as a driver.

“And if I want to do that, I need to win it and if it’s not this year then we need to plan it for the next event.”

Brown added: “I would like to see McLaren-Honda competing at Indianapolis every year. Originally I thought this was an idea we could pursue in 2018 and given the circumstances of how we are running in Formula 1 right now, and Fernando’s desire and our desire, and Honda’s desire, this created a very, very small window of opportunity that we jumped on.

McLaren is a big fan of IndyCar racing, we think it’s fantastic motorsports and I’ve personally been around it my whole life so I’m very excited on a personal level to be here. And we had just enough time to do this very properly. When I called Mark [Miles, CEO of IndyCar], and ultimately Michael [Andretti, Andretti Autosport team owner] it was good that he was already far down the road with the car, because we need to be competitive. The whole idea is to run at the front of the field.

“We have good preparation. We’ve brought in [two-time CART Indy car champion and 2003 Indy 500 winner] Gil de Ferran to assist Fernando in learning his way around Indianapolis.

“Yeah, I’d like to see McLaren here on a more regular basis. And would we do it with Fernando again? Absolutely. I hope that we have the problem of Monaco and Indy in the same weekend and we are fighting for the championship.

“So what happens in 2018? We’ll have to wait and see, because obviously we’re working very hard to get Fernando and Stoffel Vandoorne a much more competitive [Formula 1] car than we are producing right now.”