McLaren yet to discuss Alonso role in 2020 IndyCar return

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McLaren is yet to discuss whether Fernando Alonso will be part of their return to IndyCar full-time in 2020.

This week, the British outfit confirmed their first permanent entry in the American series since 1979, teaming up with the Arrow SPM squad to create Arrow McLaren Racing SP.

Currently, James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson are the two drivers behind the wheel of their cars, and CEO Zak Brown admits the line-up is one of many areas that are being looked at to ensure their endeavour is a success.

"James Hinchcliffe is a great member of the team and has a contract through 2020, and we look forward to confirming drivers soon," he told RACER, indicating that deal would be abided by.

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"As we now get into our review of what do we want to do together, drivers and long-term thinking, even beyond ‘20, is arguably one of the most – if not the most - important element of a successful IndyCar team.

"And so, no decisions have been made yet. Experience is very important and having a long runway."

What is notable though is McLaren has taken on-board the benefits of trusting young drivers to push the team forward.

"If you look at what we did in Formula 1, we have two young drivers, one rookie, one quite experienced, and that’s working really well with Lando [Norris] and Carlos [Sainz]," Brown continued.

"So, I’m not saying that’s exactly the same approach we’ll take, but I think it gives you a sense of the type of thinking that we think makes sense.

"And we’re going to do this very hand in hand with Sam [Schmidt]. Drivers is something he knows a lot about and moving forward, our decisions are not McLaren decisions or SPM decisions, they’re group decisions. We’re now one team."

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With Alonso still looking to complete the Triple Crown by winning the Indianapolis 500, however, questions over his presence in the project continue.

"The door’s always open for Fernando," the McLaren chief insists.

"He’s part of the family, he’s a contracted McLaren driver and for the first time in a long time, he doesn’t have a full racing calendar ahead of him.

"He’s obviously well aware of what we’re doing here, and I’ll be seeing him later in the year and we’ll be discussing our plans and his plans and see if those converge at any point."

Indeed, while another Indy run is likely in 2020, it is understood his first outing might be a debut in the Dakar Rally with Toyota as rumours suggest that will be confirmed in the coming days.

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