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McLaren IndyCar return designed to boost F1

Mat Coch

Saturday 24th August, 2019 - 9:21am

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McLaren’s IndyCar return is designed to boost the squad’s F1 team

McLaren’s full-time return to IndyCar racing next year is designed to complement and add strength to its Formula 1 team according to CEO Zak Brown.

The British squad earlier this month announced a partnership with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports which will see it return to competition in North America for the first time since the 1970s.

However, Brown claims the program is not about diluting interests from F1 but adding commercial depth to McLaren Racing with a view to strengthening the team.

“Returning to IndyCar enables us to offer more commercial opportunities to our partners, in a very important market which F1 does not yet penetrate to the level I ultimately think it will do,” explained Brown.

“This is about commercially differentiating ourselves from our competitors to help bring additional resources to our F1 team. It will have, and already has had, an impact.

“It means we’re better positioned for partners coming into the sport. Take Arrow Electronics for example, it’s title sponsor of our IndyCar team and a very important partner of our F1 team.

The American, who took over the role of CEO at McLaren after Ron Dennis was ousted, was quick to point out that Formula 1 will remain the team’s primary focus, though says racing and competition is key to the broader McLaren business going forward.

“F1 will always be the pinnacle of motorsport and the pinnacle for McLaren Racing,” he said.

“That being said, racing is in our DNA and we have a long history of competing in other forms of motorsport.

“We’ve got a great GT program with McLaren Automotive, we’re now in IndyCar, and we see sports car racing as a possibility in the future.

“We’ll enter other forms of racing when we think it fits with our brand, complements our F1 team, and will result in success both commercially and on the track.”

McLaren currently sits fourth in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship, comfortably clear of Toro Rosso in fifth though a considerable distance behind Red Bull in third.

Heading into the British Grand Prix weekend the team confirmed both Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris will remain with its F1 team for 2020, though it has not yet confirmed who will pilot its IndyCar effort.

Formula 1 returns from its summer holiday next weekend with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, while IndyCar is in action at Gateway this weekend for the final oval race of the 2019 season.

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