McLaren has appointed former Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley as the president of McLaren IndyCar.
In announcing the team’s return to the Indianapolis 500 with Fernando Alonso in 2019, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown stated the project will be run separately from the Formula 1 operations. As a result, Fernley has been named president of McLaren IndyCar with immediate effect, and “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.”
Fernley has been out of work since a Lawrence Stroll-led consortium purchased Force India in August, but has previously worked in both Can-Am and IndyCar in North America back in the 1980s.
“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,” Fernley said. “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.”
Brown says Fernley’s track record at Force India makes him well-suited to constructing a small and efficient McLaren IndyCar outfit, that at present is only confirmed as racing at Indianapolis next year.
“Bob is a fantastic operator and someone I respect greatly,” Brown said. “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.”
McLaren says it will announce further details about the IndyCar project in due course, with any technical partnership yet to be confirmed and the team exploring options for a second car alongside Alonso’s entry.