Brown: We’d be open to Alonso for Indy in 2021

Fernando Alonso, Zak Brown

Fernando Alonso could return to McLaren for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 despite his return to Formula 1 with Renault, says CEO Zak Brown.

A veteran of two Indy campaigns with McLaren, Alonso is set for a third in August before making his way back to the F1 grid after a two-year hiatus.

Asked about the possibility of the partnership continuing despite the impending switch in 2021, Brown admitted that there was interest from his side.

“I don’t know what his Renault contract says,” he told reporters, including Grand Prix 247, on Saturday. “From our part of view next year the races don’t conflict and the way the Indy 500 is run the car qualifies, not the driver.

“So it is not out of the question, especially as he’ll have more experience, that if he wanted to do the Indy 500 in 2021 and his contract allowed, you could have a situation where someone qualifies the car for him and if he wanted to come compete at the Indy 500 in ’21.

“We’d have to see where we were at as a team, but certainly that wouldn’t be something that I would be opposed to if we had a seat available and he wanted to do the Indy 500 in ’21 and he was allowed to do the Indy 500 in ’21, then that scenario could play out in a positive way.”

Having endured a mixed-bag with McLaren and Indy so far, Alonso qualified fifth and temporarily led the race before engine problems relegated him to 24th in 2017, and failed to qualify in 2019. Originally, the Spaniard was set to drive this year’s edition with Andretti Autosport, but that move was vetoed by engine-suppliers Honda due to his vocal criticism of the power units they supplied McLaren in Formula 1 from 2015-2017.