Zak Brown, Fernando Alonso, McLaren, IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway ,2019

Brown wants Alonso back for McLaren Indy 500 return


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McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown hopes he can persuade Fernando Alonso to join them for another attempt at the Indianapolis 500 following their failure to qualify for this year’s race.

Alonso was one of three drivers who failed to make the cut for the 33-car grid following a series of errors by the team. However Brown wants to take McLaren back to Indianapolis and hopes they will be joined by Alonso, whose contract with the team is up for renewal following the race.

“He was disappointed as we all were,” said Brown. “We clearly let him down.

“He’s a racer, he understands Indianapolis is unique. He drove brilliantly, he gave it everything he got, he was great with the fans and the media and that’s exactly how he was internally. He just wanted to be competitive.

“I think he wants to go back to Indianapolis. I think it would be great if we did it together.”

Brown said he hasn’t had any discussions with Alonso yet about him returning to the race with the team.

“We haven’t got into that,” he said. “I know Fernando very well and I think one of the reasons we get along as well as we do is I understand how he operates and I think when you come off such a low like that you don’t want to have a microphone in your face 24 hours later when we don’t need to make decisions right now.”

“We have a great relationship with Fernando,” Brown added. “He’s had lots of highs and lows with us. Arguably probably more lows the last three or four seasons.

“He really enjoys McLaren, McLaren enjoys him, he sees what happened, he sees how close we got to making the show and the effort we put in. I think we’re all disappointed but it won’t change the relationship between Fernando and McLaren.”

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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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  • 18 comments on “Brown wants Alonso back for McLaren Indy 500 return”

    1. After 7 years of McLaren attempts in differing categories with similar results, I hope Alonso will be persuaded to join a capable team next year.

      1. @jureo I feel like all this time Zak must have some serious dirt on Alonso forcing him to stay. I just can’t see any other reason why Alonso hasn’t given up on the team at any point over the past 4 years.

        1. I know why Alonso is happy to stay with Zak. Loadsa money.

          Over the last 10 years, Alonso has been paid massive amounts of money despite consistently failing to win. He’s happy to keep on driving, all the time McLaren keeping paying. As we know, none of the other teams are queuing up to give him a seat.

          As for Zak Brown, he needs to produce the goods or he’s gone.

      2. Which team?
        Honda is a no-way for him, which ruled Andretti out.
        I don’t think Roger Penske is so fool to hire a prima donna like him.

        1. Penske is such a huge, formal corporate environment. I think Fernando would prefer being on a bit smaller team. Plus they have won the 500 18 ties now and certainly have plenty capable drivers.

          Andretti which is big also was the perfect match (like ’17). He obviously was happier than he had been for years when he was there. The Honda connection has been burned and that’s out.

          Dropping in once a year to try to win the worlds biggest race will be impossible. He needs to put together a deal with the right team and run full time ASAP.

    2. I disagree: Let Alonso and the Indianapolis 500 go. The problem is McLaren went into the Indy 500 with the wrong attitude. If McLaren are serious about the Indy 500 then they need to do more races, and especially a lot more races. If they aren’t prepared to do that then it is better they just go home.
      If McLaren decide they want to compete in the rest of this season’s races, then they might be able to persuade Alonso to stay, but equally they might not. Does it matter? Not really for the rest of this season McLaren’s results won’t actually help them to win a race.

      1. If McLaren decide they want to compete in the rest of this season’s races, then they might be able to persuade Alonso to stay

        They should participate in the four remaining oval races this year to show that they can improve, @drycrust.

        1. It’s not like it can get worse.

      2. i don’t think they actually do anything other than put the pre-made car together in their overpriced headquarters for a photo op. i don’t care what their marketing and press blurbs say.

    3. Surely by now Alonso will have learned his lesson and will move on from this back marker team. Well, not even back marker if they cant even qualify.

    4. Mark in Florida
      27th May 2019, 13:34

      I was shocked by the lack of a cohesive plan to attack the Indy 500 by McLaren. They looked like a pack of amateurs at work not one of the premier teams of F1. Indy racing may not be as deep technologicaly speaking but it is still an exercise in engineering. Going around in a circle at 230 plus mph may sound simple but it’s not at all easy to execute. Seeing McLaren running around getting suspension setups and such from other teams were shocking to say the least. If they try again they need to run more than just one race to be able to come to grips with the car and it’s setups. Really happy for Simon he dominated the whole thing , from the GP to the pole position and then laps led in the race. What a way to finish the whole thing off.

    5. They didn’t convert inches to metric for (a borrowed) set up. Total clown show. They need a total operational revamp before even considering putting a live human in a car they prepare.

    6. Gary Stanley
      27th May 2019, 17:51

      Thought they way Mclaren and Alonso tackled their first Indy 500 was the way to go with a top team. To enter with a team that is just doing one Indy race for the season is rather silly and fraught with many unforseen challengers that are difficult to resolve in time ..
      As we all embarrassingly witnessed with this years effort.

    7. McLaren and Alonso should go back to Indy, but not on their own…at least for a while. It’s such a unique place you need to gain experience to be competitive there. They should be going hell for leather to try tie up with a competitive Chevy powered squad for 2020. If I was them I’d be trying to cosy up to Ed Carpenter…that man knows how to get round the brickyard quickly…

    8. Well in the end it was an impossible task. Alonso has never been a great overtaker and position defendant driver. So if your driver hasnt great capabilities in the 2 main abilities you need to win Indy, then your chance to win that competition is slim, even with the best cars on the grid. Add to that few experience with that cars and doing setups. And he only participates in an alone event, then the result was going to be a clear failure. Nobody was expecting to be the 34 from 36 drivers, which is simply pathetic driving. Even with a car that isnt so tune up, its clear that is a ridiculous driving…
      So in the end he has all the ingridients to fail one time and another. Give him 10 years and he will win 0.
      Other thing is drive some laps in a respectable position, taking im account they are 200 laps, most drivers can lead the race at one point or another.
      Takuma Sato great overtaker and defending position. Montoya great overtaker and defending position. Alonso bad overtaker (los f1 worldchampionships by his mediocre overtaking capabilities (2010, 2012). And was the reason why f1 has drs now.

      1. Alonso almost won it the first time he tried though. Only his Honda engine blew up. Again.

        Besides, Alonso is actually great at defending and also pretty good at overtaking.

        1. Maurício de Souza Fonseca
          30th May 2019, 0:02

          Leading the race for some laps is very differente from “almost won it the first time he tried”…

    9. Maurício de Souza Fonseca
      30th May 2019, 0:01

      It was simply ridiculous.

      However is to blame, I think it is presprosterous to race only in Indy, no previous real race for testing/warming up before.

      I think Alonso should be entered for the whole season, really become a Indy car racing driver, not an ambitious driver trying in vain to secure the “Holy Trinity”.

    Comments are closed.