Ex-Force India Formula 1 deputy team boss Bob Fernley has been appointed president of McLaren’s new IndyCar programme ahead of its launch for 2019.

Fernley spent over a decade with Force India before leaving the team following its takeover by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll in August, playing a key role in its rise from the back of the grid to the head of the midfield.

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Fernley will now link up with McLaren, having been named as the president of its new McLaren Racing IndyCar programme that will see the team enter its own car to the Indianapolis 500 next year with Fernando Alonso behind the wheel.

“Fernley’s appointment is consistent with McLaren Racing’s plan to run its IndyCar programme as a separate entity to its Formula 1 activities,” a statement from McLaren reads.

“Fernley will build and lead a technical team entirely focused on the 2019 Indy 500, while helping to evaluate the feasibility of a longer-term McLaren involvement in IndyCar.”

“Heading back to The Brickyard will be a very special experience for me and I am proud to be leading this McLaren project and team,” said Fernley.

“The 500 is a hell of a challenge and we have incredibly strong competitors to overcome if we’re to be successful. We will need to prepare well for the month of May and that work starts now.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown added: “Bob is a fantastic operator and someone I respect greatly. His experience and leadership will be essential for us on this project.

“He is particularly talented at putting effective teams together and extracting maximum performance with finite resources.

The Indy 500 is no easy race and Bob’s is a key role, so I’m delighted he’s on board."

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