McLaren F1 driver Alonso set for first 2018 IndyCar test soon

Autosport understands McLaren Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso will test a 2018 Indycar in the coming months, an opportunity the driver admits is possible

McLaren F1 driver Alonso set for first 2018 IndyCar test soon

IndyCar confirmed to Autosport earlier this week that it was working with McLaren on a plan to enter the series in 2019 with Alonso, who announced earlier this week he will not race in F1 next year.

McLaren had already been looking into the potential of a test for its driver, which will likely be in an Andretti-run car.

Alonso's test is expected to take place in the days following the Portland race in September, and he could drive at the Barber road course - the scene of his first visit to an IndyCar paddock in 2017 ahead of his Indianapolis 500 assault.

"I know there is that possibility [to test], that came into place in the last couple of days," said Alonso.

"I will think and I will decide. It could be interesting because last year I enjoyed the Indy 500 a lot.

"I don't know that car [Alonso has not driven a 2018-spec Indycar] in a normal set-up or on a normal circuit, so it can be a possibility.

"But first of all, I want to take time to digest the retirement, let's say, from F1, and I want to prioritise this weekend in the World Endurance Championship."

Although all indications are that IndyCar will be his 2019 destination, Alonso insisted his future was undecided.

"I'm thinking [about next year] and this is probably bad news, but I will not decide or be ready to confirm anything until a couple of months, maybe October or something like that," he added.

"It's going to be a long wait and [feature] lots of predictions".

Alonso described last year's Indy 500 as "unpredictable" and said he would welcome more testing when he is free of F1 commitments.

"If I'm not racing in F1 next year, I can prepare a little bit deeper, a lot more testing will always be welcome," he said.

"Last year it was limited time and testing, and I was in the simulator in the morning and on the track in free practice in the afternoons.

"If I can relax that a little bit, and do more testing, I can be better prepared."

Autosport understands a McLaren IndyCar programme could be confirmed by the end of the month as it had prioritised sorting its F1 line-up for 2019 first, with Carlos Sainz Jr now signed as Alonso's replacement.

McLaren has long been linked to an affiliation with Andretti and is known to be planning a two-car team - Scott Dixon was high on the shortlist until he signed a new deal with Ganassi - but the finer details of the programme are yet to be clarified.

It has been suggested that Chevrolet would be more likely to supply McLaren in IndyCar, although this would clash with Andretti's Honda deal and require a workaround.

Honda did not respond to an Autosport request for comment, while a Chevrolet spokesperson said: "As has always been the case, Chevrolet doesn't comment on past, current or future contractual relationships in any context."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams McLaren
Author Tom Errington
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