A full-time entry to the NTT IndyCar Series remains a serious consideration for McLaren in the near future, with group racing CEO Zak Brown saying it seems like “more of a when than an if” it expands its racing interests.

McLaren will return to the Indianapolis 500 next month for the second time in three years as Fernando Alonso bids to win the race and complete the ‘triple crown of motorsport’.

McLaren has established its own operational team for its Indy 500 entry this year (with some support from Carlin), and remains interested in a possible expansion to a full-time IndyCar effort in the future.

“We're a big fan of the racing series. The racing is outstanding: great teams, great drivers, great venues,” Brown said.

“It's a place that McLaren would like to race. We've been very focused on Formula 1, and we remain very focused on Formula 1.

"But I've now completed the hiring of the balance of the leadership for the Formula 1 team now that James Key has started as technical director and Andreas Seidl is the managing director of the Formula 1 team. He'll join next month, and so we really needed to get that completed.

“And so going ahead and getting the equipment, making the investment in doing Indianapolis this year in the way we are, is another step in that direction.

“There is no doubt that the shareholders at McLaren would like to be in IndyCar. I think it's more of a when than an if, and if we were to do it for 2020, I think you'd need to make that decision in the summer in order to be properly prepared.

“It's nothing that we've ruled out for 2020, and that decision will come sometime in the summer, and if not then, then we'll look towards 2021.”

Brown said that if McLaren were to launch a full-time IndyCar programme, it would “definitely” be with a two-car team, but said a multi-entry to the Indy 500 was never considered this year.

“We never really considered two cars. That's one of the reasons why we've created an association with Carlin,” Brown said.

“As we know, one car, you just have one data point, and now we'll have three or four data points. So we haven't considered two cars for this year.

“We knew one car was going to be a big enough of a task, and so we wanted to focus on that.”

McLaren is also known to be considering a possible entry to the FIA World Endurance Championship in the future, but is awaiting further information for its planned Hypercar regulations from 2020-21.

 

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