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McLaren tight-lipped on full time IndyCar plans

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McLaren is contemplating a tie-up with a leading IndyCar outfit to put a car on the IndyCar grid, possibly as early as next year.

Reports from the US confirmed that several McLaren representatives attended last weekend's IndyCar Grand Prix held on the IMS' road course, apparently initiating potential partnership talks with Andretti Autosport and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

McLaren teamed up with Andretti Autosport for last year's Indy 500, fielding Fernando Alonso in the blue ribbon event.

The British outfit is historically linked to America's premier single seater series however, its cars winning at the Brickyard three times in the 1970s, with Penske's Mark Donohue in 1972, and with Johnny Rutherford driving for the works team in 1974 and 76.

Andretti Autosport is seen as McLaren's de facto choice for an IndyCar endeavor given last year's collective effort but also because of the underlying business relationship which exists between Michael Andretti and McLaren boss Zak Brown who are partners in the Australian Supercar series under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

In Barcelona last weekend, Brown was queried on McLaren's IndyCar ambitions, but the American was tight-lipped on the subject, admitting however that the probable implementation of a budget cap in Formula 1 could entice the team to branch out into other championships.

"We did the Indy 500 last year," said Brown.

"North America is an important market for us and we’re a fan of IndyCar racing. So as we look at the budget cap and how you manage that, looking at additional forms of motor racing is something we are considering."

Stateside, an Andretti Autosport representative failed to offer more insight on the potential plan.

"We think McLaren would be a valuable addition to the IndyCar paddock," said the team.

"Our partnership for the 2017 Indy 500 proved to be successful and we would welcome the opportunity to work with them again.

"As for any of McLaren’s 2019 plans, that is a question best directed to McLaren."

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