Formula 1 will remain McLaren’s priority if it goes ahead with plans to enter the IndyCar series or World Endurance Championship in the future, according to Zak Brown.
McLaren has been investigating the possibility of racing full-time in IndyCar as early as next season, following the success of Fernando Alonso’s attempt at the Indy 500 last year. With WEC’s new rules also interesting Brown, the McLaren Racing CEO says the F1 side of the team will not be impacted by any new project.
“Firstly, our number one priority is and always will be Formula 1 so any time we review another racing activity our first criteria is that it does not compromise our Formula 1 efforts in any shape or form,” Brown said. “Then beyond that for us to consider another form of motorsport, in no particular order as they are all equally important, we have to make sure we are competitive and it fits our brand and commercially viable and what our partners want.
“If you look at IndyCar, North America is an important marketplace for us in our automotive business and our applied technology business. McLaren is a group of racers and we like to race as often as possible and we can be competitive.
“The same can be said for World Endurance and Le Mans. We have this great automotive business and last time we went to Le Mans, we won. We like to race what we produce so both of those are, within the rules, changing on World Endurance going from the budgets that they’ve been to the budgets that they are suggesting to go to. The formula and look and feel of the car, we feel it is attractive, so we are monitoring that closely.
“In IndyCar, with the reasons I mentioned before, we find it attractive and it could be a good fit within our motorsport portfolio, so that too is under review.”
Brown also says McLaren doesn’t need a F1 budget cap to be phased in for the 2021 season following a meeting about future rules in Monaco, but is keen to have finalized regulations as soon as possible,
“We’ve got a growing business in our applied technologies and in our automotive. I do think that the budget caps which are being suggested by Formula 1 will cause a reduction in headcount. Some teams more than others. But we have the benefit of maybe looking to redeploy those people as opposed to limiting positions, where some other teams may not be in that same position.
“There is always a great debate that when you make change it can be slow and painful or fast and painful and what is the right approach. They did suggest [in Monaco] there could be a glide path but we are a nimble racing team and a large organization so I think we will be well suited to react to whatever rules will be ultimately presented. That’s why we want to know sooner rather than later so we can start making the right plans.”