Fernando Alonso and McLaren will return to the Indianapolis 500 in 2019 as the Spaniard chases the Triple Crown.
McLaren ran Alonso at the Brickyard in 2017 and challenged for victory in collaboration with Andretti Autosport before a late Honda engine failure saw him fail to finish. After announcing he will leave Formula 1 at the end of the season, Alonso said he would not switch full-time to IndyCar racing but has now confirmed he is heading back to the Indy 500 in a McLaren Racing entry.
“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown,” Alonso said. “I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there.
“I’m especially glad to be returning with McLaren. This was always my first choice if the team decided to do it, so I’m delighted they’ve decided to go ahead. It’s a tough race and we’ll be up against the best, so it will be a huge challenge. But we’re racers and that’s why we race. One of the things I’m looking forward to most is seeing the fans again, who are absolutely fantastic.”
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says the failed 2017 attempt leaves the team eager for victory upon its return.
“We are relishing our return to the Brickyard and this incredible race,” Brown said. “McLaren has a long and fond relationship with the Indianapolis 500 and it’s a case of unfinished business for us with Fernando.
“No Indy 500 is a cakewalk, it’s a massive challenge. We have the utmost respect for the race and our competitors. So, we are under no illusions. But McLaren are racers first and foremost, as is Fernando. We’re going for it.”
Further details of the attempt — such as any team collaborations or engine supply — are currently unconfirmed, with McLaren saying it will provide more information in due course.