IndyCar 'not trying to poach F1 drivers'

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IndyCar boss Mark Miles has insisted that he's not looking to actively lure more current and former Formula 1 drivers to the US open wheel series.

IndyCar has benefitted greatly from the huge global interest in Fernando Alonso's bid to race in this month's Indianapolis 500.

But Miles said that such a decision was down to individual teams and drivers, and not part of the series' approach to building its popularity.

"I don't think it's a strategy for us," Miles said on Friday. "We're not going to be following the Grand Prix series around, trying to poach drivers.

Alonso's decision to enter the Indy 500 "was a unique set of circumstances in so many respects," he added.

"I think more drivers will pay more attention to it," he suggested. "We'll see what happens. There may be points in their careers where we make some sense. It's not a strategy per se.

"It's really about the attention," he continued. "It helps to expand both sports.

"For us it means a lot. Not commercially because the contribution will be marginal. But it does put us in the sights of many people who don't know about our series."

That was proved by the number of people who live streamed Alonso's first test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week. More than 2 million race fans from around the world watched him complete mandatory rookie orientation on Wednesday.

"It's clear just from looking at the audience for the test this week and streaming that it's quite exciting around the world," Miles said.

"We didn't expect that the broadcast would have that impact," he admitted. "Some even thought that no one would watch it. But it was impressive - and we haven't even started yet."

Miles said he agreed with new Formula 1 boss Chase Carey comments that Alonso's American adventure would be good for F1.

"It is indirectly beneficial to us as a great F1 driver who reaches the American audience in a different way," Carey said earlier in the week. "But it is not an ideal situation. If I could choose, I would prefer to see him in Monaco,"

"I would have thought the same thing if a month ago our champion, [Simon] Pagenaud, asked me if he could do a [F1] race," Miles told Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

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Mark Miles, IndyCar, Indianapolis 500, Fernando Alonso, Chase Carey