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McLaren rules out second IndyCar race for Alonso in 2017


Fernando Alonso will not be heading stateside for a second appearance in this year's Verizon IndyCar Series.

McLaren have firmly quashed rumours that the 36-year-old was set for another IndyCar outing in September.

There had been speculation that the two-time world champion might return to IndyCar for the season finale at Sonoma. However that is the same day as the Singapore Grand Prix on the other side of the planet.

"It's completely crazy," McLaren executive director Zak Brown told RACER's Marshall Pruett when asked about the prospect.

"He would have to first make that request through us, which he has not," he stated. "And that event conflicts with Formula 1 in Singapore.

"It's fake news," he concluded.

But that's not to say that Alonso won't return to IndyCar sometime in the future, after his successful début at the Indianapolis 500 in May.

That race was the same day as the Monaco Grand Prix in Europe. Jenson Button was recalled for a one-off return to F1 duty to deputise in Alonso's absence.

Alonso was an instant hit with the huge crowds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And he returned the love, citing the Indy 500 as his highlight of 2017 so far - with little in Formula 1 to compete.

The Spaniard's entry in the race was the result of a collaboration between McLaren and Andretti Autosport. The two teams have Honda in common as an engine provider. However, both McLaren and Andretti are both reviewing their engine options for 2018.

Andretti is believed to be negotiating a switch to Chevrolet. Similarly, McLaren has been seeking a deal with other F1 power unit manufacturers such as Renault or Mercedes, albeit with little luck so far.

"[It's] 50-50, it could make a difference or not make a difference," Brown said. "It really depends where our Honda relationship goes as to whether it's important there would be a Honda engine in the car."

And Alonso himself might not even stay at McLaren beyond the end of the current season. With alternatives in Formula 1 limited for 2018, he's keeping his options open about a potential full-time switch to IndyCar next season.

In the meantime, if Alonso is indeed ruled out of Sonoma then the fifth seat at Andretti Autosport his place is likely to be taken by Britain's Jack Harvey.

Harvey also made his IndyCar début in this year's Indy 500, alongside Alonso. He completed 65 laps before retiring following contact with Conor Daly. Alonso led the race for a spell before engine failure forced him out 21 laps from the finish.

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