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Brown confident Alonso can win 2019 Indy 500

  • Published on 17 Jan 2019 13:27
  • comments 6
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Zak Brown believes that McLaren's work to put together a "very experienced team" will give Fernando Alonso a good chance at winning the 2019 Indianapolis 500. Alonso will return to the Brickyard in May with McLaren, having made his debut in 2017.

Alonso was contention for the victory two years ago before engine issues forced him to retire. For the race, the team entered in a partnership with full-time IndyCar entry Andretti Autosport and engine manufacturer Honda.

However this time around, it is developing its own team for the race, and will run with Chevrolet engines. With experienced F1 boss Bob Feneley overseeing proceedings, Bown stressed that having a strong team will be key to finding success.

"Indianapolis is a difficult place that bites if you get it wrong,” McLaren CEO Brown said. “We’ve seen Rahal not qualify there before, Penske not qualify, Schmidt Peterson last year with [James] Hinchcliffe, so you’ve got to get your baseline right.

“We’re trying to think about winning the race as oppose to not qualifying for it but those are the two different extremes. We’ve got Gil de Ferran, who’s won the race a couple of times and ran a team, so he obviously has a wealth of experience.

"Bob Fernley, who’s responsible for putting it all together, he’s been back at Indy in the good old days. He was brought in because he’s a really good operator and knows his way around Indy. He’s in charge of making sure we hire all the right people.”

McLaren is yet to identify other key members that will work on McLaren's entry, however Brown hinted at bringing in some experienced IndyCar personnel as well as using people from its own camp.

"We’ve yet to announce the individuals, but the engineer has won the Indianapolis 500 four times in about the last 15 year," Brown continued. "He’s very current. We’ve got crew chief that was on Fernando’s car in 2017, Michael [Andretti] was kind enough to let him join us, so we’ve got a very experienced team using some of the hands that we have at McLaren.

“We have people who put their hands up and said they would like to be involved in IndyCar or have been in the past. I’m confident it’s going to be very difficult, but I’m also very confident that we are going about it in the right way to give Fernando a chance to win.”

Replies (6)

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  • I will most definitely be watching Indy 500 this year. However, my expectations are a bit lower. What Alonso did last time was so incredible that my rational side tells me that I can't expect that again.

    • + 0
    • Jan 17 2019 - 18:59
    • I'll give it a shot. Watched it a bit last year, wasnt impressed. I do believe I had a bet with someone here involving me getting that time back in case I didnt enjoy it all that much? ;)

      • + 0
      • Jan 17 2019 - 20:35
    • haha is that right? Please refresh my memory, I take bets very seriously! ha

      • + 0
      • Jan 17 2019 - 21:39
    • I dont think that was you actually, but I'll remember the one about Gasly! ;)

      • + 0
      • Jan 17 2019 - 21:51
  • xoya

    Posts: 531

    He certainly should be a contender. Whether he'll win it...
    Maybe, but I doubt it. He will be handicaped this year not having driven in F1 like in 2017.

    • + 0
    • Jan 18 2019 - 08:24
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    He's as a good a driver as anyone in that race. Wasn't it the ultimate irony that it was a Honda engine that failed in 2017.... So Chevy power this year and a great team by the sound of it being built - but a one-off race entry to me is a huge compromise - the our guys have a huge advantage - its gonna be tough but I will def be watching !!

    • + 0
    • Jan 19 2019 - 12:16

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