McLaren CEO Zak Brown says the team’s failed bid to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 was down to a “lack of execution” and being “unprepared”, rather than financial reasons.

Fernando Alonso suffered a humiliating return to The Brickyard as he was knocked out of qualifying following a last-gasp run by American Kyle Kasier and subsequently missed out on a spot on this year’s Indy 500 grid by just 0.019mph.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion had been hoping to win the prestigious race on his second attempt to become just the second driver in history to complete the ‘triple crown’ of motorsport, but he wound up 34th out of 36 qualifiers.

“We announced it in October, we bought two cars right away, we had a healthy budget,” Brown said while addressing the media ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. “The car was sold out, it wasn’t a financial drain on the team.

“I don’t think it was a lack of resources - I think it was a lack of execution that cost us and got us the result. I don’t think I could have seen that coming in. I thought I had everything in place, but I got it wrong.

“I’ve learned a lot but I’m not done yet with my post-mortem,” he added. “I know what I know, but I also know that I don’t know a lot of the finer details. So I want to review everything, talk to everybody on the team which I started doing yesterday.

“But right now, I’m focused on Monaco, so I’ve got some time to understand. Ultimately it was a people issue, starting with myself of not having all the bases covered. We were just unprepared.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Brown detailed a “comedy of errors” behind McLaren’s Indy 500 attempt, including missing a steering wheel.

Pressed on the subject further, Brown replied: “Everything that was said was correct, but let me give a little context around things like the steering wheel, because it’s not like we showed up to the test and went ‘someone forgot the steering wheel’.

“We were going to do our own steering wheel, and we didn’t get it done in time. You need a steering wheel. Cosworth, you can buy them off the shelf, they didn’t have any on the shelf, so I had to pull some favours and Carlin helped to get us a steering wheel.

“So everything in there was factual, but as you can imagine, there’s a story behind all of those elements. It’s not like we unpacked the bags and we forgot a steering wheel, that’s not what happened.

“Everything in there, I thought it was important. I share what happened. It’s tough, because I know it opens yourself up for a lot of criticism, but when you don’t perform, I think a good CEO stands up and takes accountability and responsibility for it.”

 

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