McLaren considering a full-time entry into IndyCar, says Zak Brown
Brown also thinks there's an appetite for Indianapolis to host F1 once again
By William Esler
Last Updated: 25/05/17 5:24pm
Fernando Alonso's Indy 500 debut could see McLaren return to the IndyCar series full time, according to the team's executive director Zak Brown.
The marketing guru also thinks the publicity the Spaniard's presence has brought to the 2017 race could see Formula 1 return to the Brickyard for the first time since 2007.
The McLaren name had been absent from IndyCar for 38 years prior to Alonso's entry this year, with the Spaniard set to line up on the second row for Sunday's race.
"North America is a very important market for us," Brown said. "We're a racing team but also have other businesses.
"Our criteria for competing outside of Formula 1 is that it has to be commercially viable, we have to feel we can be competitive, it fits our brand, and it doesn't detract from our Formula 1 efforts.
"Indy 500 and IndyCar tick those boxes.
"It [IndyCar] is something that we're definitely going to discuss and [we] have met with IndyCar, and are certainly interested in competing in some way, shape or form in the not too distant future."
As F1 looks to expand, particularly into the American market, Brown thinks a return to the venue which hosted a grand prix eight times at the start of the century would be wise.
"I think it makes sense for Formula 1 to be at the world's greatest racetrack," said Brown. "Personally, I'd like to see it happen."
Other than the U.S. GP's current home at the Circuit of The Americas in Texas, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the only other track in the United States to hold the FIA's Grade 1 classification required to stage a Formula 1 race.
The question, as usual, is money.
"We'd have to figure out the economics," Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles said. "That's why it wasn't here after 2007. In order for it to come back here, the economics would have to make sense.
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"When we redid the road course between 2013 and 2014, one of the things that was important to us was to make sure our road course remained FIA Grade 1, so if that there ever was a point in time where we had the opportunity to host an F1 race, we wouldn't have to go through a complete renovation of our road course again. So theoretically they could run here."
There has been increased speculation surrounding additional races in the USA following F1's takeover by American group Liberty Media. Cities such as New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles have all been linked with staging races.
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