McLaren has confirmed that it will set up its own operational outfit for the 2019 Indianapolis 500. The team confirmed on Saturday night that it would enter next year's race with Fernando Alonso, two years after he made his debut in the US series.
However, it was not known if it would partner up another squad as it did in 2017. McLaren formed a partnership with Andretti Autosport and Honda to enter the race as a one-off event. But team CEO Zak Brown says that it will be a different situation next season.
“It is going to be people that are not currently on our Formula 1 team,” Brown said. “It will be built up from relationships that we have. It’ll be a new McLaren entry. We’ve always had a desire to go as McLaren Racing. Last time we did it on such short notice, I think it would have been impossible.
"It was six weeks between announcing and racing, and you can’t build-up a race team that quickly. That was one of things the shareholders and ourselves wanted to do, to go as McLaren Racing. That is why we have made the announcement today, to make time to bring those resources and the people in to have our own team.”
It is not yet known what engine the team will use, however Honda is rumoured to not be in favour of supplying the team following Alonso's criticism of the company when it partnered McLaren in Formula 1 from 2015 to 2017. Chevrolet is McLaren's only other option as it and Honda are the only two engine manufacturers in the series.
With Alonso confirmed, Brown was asked on whether the Woking squad would be entering more than one car at the event, to which he replied: "I don’t think I am going to comment on that at this moment."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing