McLaren's Brown wants F1 team to have Indy 500 presence every year

McLaren executive director Zak Brown says he would like to see the Formula 1 team "competing at Indianapolis every year", after Fernando Alonso's upcoming Indy 500 debut

McLaren's Brown wants F1 team to have Indy 500 presence every year

Alonso will skip F1's Monaco Grand Prix next month to contest IndyCar's blue ribband event, with McLaren teaming up with the similarly-Honda-powered Andretti Autosport.

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For McLaren, it represents a return to the race it won three times in the 1970s, and major shareholder Mansour Ojjeh hinted it could lead to more.

Visiting the Barber IndyCar round with Alonso, Brown outlined his vision beyond that.

"I would like to see McLaren-Honda competing at Indianapolis every year," he said.

"Originally I thought this was an idea we could pursue in 2018.

"Given the circumstances of how we are running in Formula 1 right now, and Fernando's desire and our desire, and Honda's desire, this created a very, very small window of opportunity that we jumped on.

"McLaren is a big fan of IndyCar racing, we think it's fantastic motorsports and I've personally been around it my whole life so I'm very excited on a personal level to be here.

"I'd like to see McLaren here on a more regular basis.

"And would we do it with Fernando again? Absolutely. I hope that we have the problem of Monaco and Indy in the same weekend and we are fighting for the championship.

"So what happens in 2018? We'll have to wait and see, because obviously we're working very hard to get Fernando and Stoffel Vandoorne a much more competitive [F1] car than we are producing right now."

Michael Andretti will act as Alonso's strategist, with the Spaniard to test at Indianapolis for the first time on May 3, and Brown revealed 2003 Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran had been brought in to "assist Fernando in learning his way around".

ALONSO - DEBUT WILL SHAPE FUTURE PLANS

Two-time world champion Alonso said he was also "very open" to contesting the race again down the line, but wanted to get through his debut first.

"Let's take it day by day and see on May 29th - the Monday afterward - what is the situation, how much I enjoyed the experience, how competitive I felt, and if I had fun, which is the priority for me," he said.

"I do this because I love racing cars, I love driving the fastest cars, and the Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world so it's very attractive to race it, enjoy it and to feel that unique experience.

"So after that, whatever the result we will achieve on the Sunday, we will think together what is the future from that point."

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