Andretti IndyCar team hopeful of McLaren Indy 500 tie-up for 2018
|By David Malsher, Dominik Wilde and Tom Errington||Monday, October 16th 2017, 09:48 GMT|
Michael Andretti says he hopes his IndyCar outfit will be able to partner with the McLaren Formula 1 team for a second attempt at the Indianapolis 500 in 2018.
McLaren raced at this year's Indy 500 for the first time since 1979, offering Fernando Alonso an attempt to complete the second leg of motorsport's triple crown.
Alonso's car was run in partnership with Andretti under the McLaren-Honda-Andretti banner and the two-time F1 world champion was in contention for a top-five finish before his engine failed late on.
While Alonso's future with McLaren has yet to be decided, Andretti told Autosport there is a possibility that McLaren could still return to Indianapolis for 2018.
"There's still a good chance that McLaren can be at Indy with us next year, so we'll see," said Andretti.
"Zak [Brown, McLaren CEO] is trying to get his house in order a little bit, but the plan is to do things together in the future, hopefully at Indy."
Andretti said he had been in talks with McLaren but that its F1 priorities meant no deal was imminent.
"We're talking," he said. "I think we're just waiting for the dust to settle and getting everything in order in Europe, and in Formula 1, and then hopefully we can talk about still doing something.
"There's still a good possibility we could do something together."
McLaren would not be drawn on an immediate return to the Indy 500.
"IndyCar remains of interest to McLaren," Brown told Autosport.
"We had an outstanding experience with Andretti Autosport and we continue to explore ways to continue our involvement.
"[But] 2018 is around the corner and we are very focused on F1 right now."
Brown has been looking to expand McLaren's influence outside of F1, having previously stated his desire to return the brand to Le Mans in the near future.
De Ferran wants to work with Alonso again
One-time IndyCar runner-up and Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran says he would love to work with Alonso again after assisting the McLaren driver through the month of May.
Honda employed de Ferran as Alonso's "extra pair of eyes and brain" for his first experience of oval racing.
De Ferran believes he could still offer something to Alonso if he attempted the Indy 500 once more.
"If Fernando came back, I would love to work with him again," he said.
"If he decided to return and asked me to be there to bounce ideas off, or whatever, then absolutely I'd be there.
"I believe you never stop learning. I was learning right up until my last day in a racecar.
"I think I could still help. It would be only his second race in IndyCar, his second race on an oval.
"There's a lot of experience to catch up on some of the best oval drivers out there."