McLaren Racing has confirmed that Fernando Alonso’s return for his second attempt at winning the Indy 500 at Indianapolis in the 2019 season.
The British outfit has announced that the team will run under the ‘McLaren Racing’ banner in the 103rd running of the Indy 500 race in 2019 unlike the previous time when it partnered with Andretti in 2017.
“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown,” said Alonso. “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.” The Spaniard did well in his maiden attempt in 2017 where he took the rookie honours despite not finishing the whole race where he was running ninth when he retired.
In his quest to clinch the Triple Crown, Indy 500 is the only win he needs after having won the Le Mans 24 Hours with Toyota earlier in 2018 – while he already has the two Formula 1 titles and also a race win in Monaco.
McLaren’s CEO Zak Brown added: “We are relishing our return to the Brickyard and this incredible race. 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 will be announced at a later stage. It looks like Indy 500 will be the sole race for McLaren in 2019 after it ruled out a full season in the IndyCar Championship. The main question remains of the power he will use.
After his and McLaren’s fall out with Honda last year, it is unlikely that he will run with the Japanese manufacturer in 2019, which leaves him and the team with only a Chevrolet-powered car and a team which runs that power to partner with.