McLaren and Alonso moving ahead with 2019 IndyCar plans


Fernando Alonso won't be racing in F1 next season but he likely will remain a McLaren driver as the Woking-based outfit continues to work on a full-time IndyCar programme for 2019.

The two-time world champion will close the curtain on his 17-year career in Grand Prix racing in Abu Dhabi in November, but his competitive juices won't stop flowing.

Alonso will complete his World Endurance Championship duties with Toyota in the first part of the year as part of the series' "Super Season" that extends into 2019 and will conclude with next year's Le Mans 24 Hours.

Alonso's win in the endurance classic this past June enabled the Spaniard to add a second jewel to his Triple Crown ambitions, having already won in the past the Monaco Grand Prix. The missing gem is the Indy 500 which the 37-year-old will likely attempt to add to his track record, presumably with a McLaren-entered car.

Reports earlier this summer alluded to a full IndyCar onslaught for McLaren in 2019, with a two-car team and Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon among the drivers.

Since however, the Kiwi has renewed his allegiance to Chip Ganassi Racing, but according to Mark Miles, the CEO of IndyCar parent organisation Hulman & Company, McLaren is still moving forward with its US plans.

"Today’s announcement certainly has fueled excitement among IndyCar fans who hope that Alonso will compete throughout the championship in 2019," said Miles on Tuesday.

"McLaren is working to put all the necessary arrangements in place, and we are supporting their efforts.

"I don’t expect this to be resolved until closer to the end of this year," he added.

If indeed a finalization of McLaren's plans is still a few months away, it's likely the team will opt for a partnership with an existing outfit to put itself - and Alonso - on the IndyCar grid next year, rather than set up its own independent effort.

The two teams most often cited as potential McLaren partners are Andretti Autosport, which handled the team's Indy 500 entry last year, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

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