McLaren announces full-time IndyCar return in 2020 but no sign of Alonso

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McLaren will return full-time to IndyCar for the first time since 1979 next season after announcing a partnership with Arrow SPM.

The Woking-based outfit has conducted two one-off entries at the Indianapolis 500, the most recent coming this year as Fernando Alonso's bid to secure the Triple Crown didn't even see him qualify for the big race.

Since Zak Brown took over in 2016, however, an IndyCar project has always been a goal and he is delighted to see it now come to fruition.

"IndyCar has been part of McLaren since our early years of racing, and the series today provides not only a commercial platform to continue to grow our brand in North America but competition with some of the best teams in international motorsport," said the McLaren CEO.

"This team provides McLaren with the right synergy as a strategic partner for our return to the sport. We believe together we can help each other achieve our mutual ambitions."

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Under the partnership, Arrow SPM founders Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson will remain in place while sporting director Gil de Ferran oversees McLaren's operation as part of Arrow McLaren Racing SP.

The IndyCar team will also be completely separate from the F1 team, as this tie-up seemingly learns the lessons from the botched standalone entry attempt this year at the Brickyard.

"Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson have built a solid foundation and we look forward to working together to take the team to the next level," Brown continued.

"I’m absolutely delighted that we will expand our relationship with Arrow Electronics across both F1 and IndyCar while renewing our long affinity with Chevrolet as our engine partner.

"McLaren and Chevrolet have a special history together in North America and it is fitting they are part of our full-time return to IndyCar.

"We come to IndyCar in full respect of the sport, our competitors, the fans and the task ahead.

"At our core, we at McLaren are racers and where there’s the competition that puts us to the test, we will race. The NTT IndyCar Series provides such a challenge."

On the Arrow SPM side, Schmidt hopes the new partnership can take their team to the next level.

"I’m extremely proud of the team that Ric and I have built and that a legendary brand like McLaren Racing has decided to partner with us to form Arrow McLaren Racing SP to continue our march to the top of IndyCar," he said.

"Arrow is a tremendous partner which has been integral to our growth as a team since 2015 and the creation of this new partnership.

"The combined technical resources and commercial opportunities both McLaren and Arrow bring to the table provide a winning combination."

Of course, the big question will be whether Alonso will be part of this new venture, having previously ruled out a full IndyCar program.

Currently, James Hinchcliffe and former F1 driver Marcus Ericsson sit in their cars, but only Hinchcliffe has a contract for 2020.