Full-time McLaren 2020 IndyCar entry 'highly unlikely' - Zak Brown
McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes it is now "highly unlikely" that his team will venture into the NTT IndyCar Series on a full-time basis in 2020.
After failing to qualify for the Indy 500 due to a large number of operational errors, Brown wants to maintain focus on McLaren's Formula 1 programme and not take any time or resources away from the team as it aims to continue the strong start to the 2019 season - which sees them currently in fourth place after six races.
"I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll be in IndyCar full-time next year," Brown told Racer. "As enthusiastic as I am for IndyCar, given where we are in Formula 1, given what we just went through at Indy.
"I’d like to see us go back to Indy and get that right as a next step instead of totally jumping in. So I think it’s highly unlikely we’re in IndyCar full-time in 2020."
Any further entries into IndyCar for the remainder of 2019 have also been ruled out despite both having Fernando Alonso and a car readily available to go, should it be needed.
Brown also recognised the benefit the team would have by running additional races in the build-up to the Indy 500. The Indianapolis Grand Prix at the start of May often plays host to drivers or teams looking to gather momentum or preparation ahead of the famous race at the end of the month.
"Could we do races before Indy next year in preparation? Yeah, that’s something we’ve spoken about," he added. "So that will be all part of the thinking.
"Had we got into the show, we missed all the pit stop practice. We were practicing over the months in the race shop and things like that, but Thursday was the pit stop practice day, and we missed that. So we would have gone into Indy cold.
"So one of the things we’ve discussed, we’ve started to throw around that we should have done the road race. Even though it wouldn’t have taught us anything about the set-up of the car, operationally it was good practice.
"So definitely not this year, but probably if we go back to Indy, doing a race or two in preparation for Indy feels like good preparation."