Arrow McLaren SP has pigeonholed its third IndyCar entry until 2021 amid constantly evolving schedule changes and the series’ decision to eliminate in-season testing.
The team’s third car was expected to run alongside McLaren’s full-time pairing of Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew.
The likes of F1 superstars Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have been primed for stints in the car, while seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has also declared his intentions to compete as a wildcard in the USA’s premier open-wheel category.
The 44-year-old even participated in the recent IndyCar iRacing Challenge where he proved to be rather handy behind the virtual wheel.
But McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown confirmed today to RACER.com that the coronavirus-induced season hiatus has meant the highly anticipated third car has been put on ice.
“Our plans for 2020 are now changed because of the lack of testing available,” said Brown.
“I think the other drivers that we’re talking to recognize how difficult IndyCar racing is; they have a tremendous amount of recognition for the drivers, and while they’re confident in their ability to be successful, they recognize they need to test.
“I don’t think we’d ever have guest appearances just for the sake of guest appearances; it would be because it could lead to something else.”
“So, I think it’s probably going to be a ‘wait till 2021’ to replay what we were looking to accomplish in 2020.”
However, Brown reaffirmed the team remains committed to ensuring two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will partake in August’s rescheduled Indy 500.
Alonso has twice attempted to qualify for the blue riband event in 2017 and 2019, finishing 24th on his debut attempt but failed to make it to the starting grid last year having missed out in the ‘Last Row Shootout.’
The revised 2020 IndyCar season gets underway behind closed doors from Texas Motor Speedway on June 6.