Wednesday, May 15 02:36pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

McLaren considering buying IndyCar team?

McLaren’s future in the NTT IndyCar Series remains unclear as it enters its second Indianapolis 500 with Fernando Alonso.


Fans of the series have been left wondering whether McLaren would conjure up full-time campaign for the Spaniard, and despite several tests, nothing came of it.


In 2017 they ran with support from Andretti Autosport under the McLaren-Honda-Andretti banner and last year the team opted not to run in the 500-mile race.


This year though it’ll be the first attempt by McLaren Racing without support from another team. It’s possible that the Indianapolis 500 campaign is a test to see whether the team can cope on their own. Certainly their chances would be boosted by having some more support, though single-car operations aren’t uncommon in the sport - albeit, generally aren’t the most successful.


What’s also being considered is whether the team could buy out an existing team and rebrand the outfit. Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport have been identified as one possible place, but team owner Sam Schmidt has dispelled those suggestions.


“Look, I know where all this is coming from, it's a former employee,” Peterson told IndyStar.


“But I think from last June to last December, (McLaren) has talked to everyone in the paddock about everything from partnerships to equity to whatever.


“I think if there was a deal like that to be had, they'd probably be with us this month. But they're not. Out on their own, and now they've bought all their equipment.”


Rumours that McLaren could buy out SPM resurfaced when tech company Arrow Electronics signed up with McLaren and their Formula 1 team. Arrow are the primary sponsor for SPM and have been for over a year. Peterson brokered the team himself though and snuffed out the fire that had been fanned by speculation.


Speaking at this year’s Grand Prix of Long Beach, McLaren CEO Zak Brown said McLaren will eventually end up in IndyCar on a full-time basis.


“Inevitable would be a 100%, and I wouldn’t say we’re there,” Brown


“But we’re doing this with a purpose and a reason, and it fits well within the McLaren Racing umbrella, and it’s something I’d like to see us do in the future.”