Brown ‘could see’ Norris racing in Indianapolis 500
Monday 19th December, 2022 - 11:43am
McLaren boss Zak Brown “could see” one of his Formula 1 drivers, Lando Norris, racing in the Indianapolis 500 in future.
The Woking-based organisation has demonstrated a clear willingness to cross-pollinate between its F1 programme and IndyCar.
Not only has it fielded its own Pato O’Ward in F1 machinery during the year, it has named Alex Palou as a Reserve Driver for 2023 despite the Spaniard remaining with Chip Ganassi Racing in the North American category.
However, the flow of drivers between IndyCar and F1 might not be one-way, with Brown floating the possibility that Norris could compete in the Indianapolis 500 in future.
“Lando’s mentioned he’d like to do the Indy 500 one day,” said the McLaren Racing CEO in a video published by the team.
“And of course, one of my first days on the job was bringing over Fernando Alonso to do the Indy 500, which was such an awesome experience for everybody.
“So yeah, you know, the calendars are pretty crazy these days, but I think racing drivers like to drive racing cars and, yeah, I could see that day happening.”
Alonso has thrice contested the Indianapolis 500, with McLaren on each occasion, albeit with limited success.
The 2017 tie-up with Andretti Autosport saw the two-time World Drivers’ Champion lead the race on merit before retiring when his Honda engine failed.
After the infamous failure to qualify in 2019 when McLaren Racing ran on its own, he finished 21st in a McLaren SP entry hamstrung by a clutch failure in 2020.
The latter two campaigns occurred during Alonso’s spell out of the World Drivers’ Championship, while the 2017 entry demonstrates the difficulty in finding a window for an active F1 driver to compete at The Brickyard.
They were separated as recently as 2021, when F1 raced in the Principality on May 23 and IndyCar at the venue after which it is named on May 30.
However, even that sort of timing creates a clash between qualifying for the latter, which takes place on the weekend prior to the race.
Even that is not an insurmountable issue in itself, although it is worth noting that the Spanish Grand Prix follows Monaco by a week on the 2023 F1 calendar, and hence a clash between races would remain.
McLaren SP, to be renamed simply ‘McLaren’ (commercially, ‘Arrow McLaren’) effective next year, will still field an additional car in next year’s Indianapolis 500.
While its full-time programme has swelled to three cars, with Alexander Rossi joining O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, there is still room for an extra entry in May, which will be piloted by Tony Kanaan.