Brown: New Alonso Indy deal a result of failed Andretti talks

Indianapolis 500: Fernando Alonso to drive for McLaren at famous race

"I have maximum respect for the race and everyone who competes in it, and all I want is to race against them and give my best".

The Spaniard returned past year for another attempt with McLaren, which was running as a one-car team making a one-off appearance in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing".

It's a fine way to contest our first Indy 500 as Arrow McLaren SP and to have Ruoff Mortgage backing Fernando is a flawless partnership. "Right now, it's the Indy 500, and in the next couple of weeks, we'll decide how the preparation will go". The team struggled to obtain a steering wheel in time for testing.

After dropping Hinchcliffe, the new McLaren team instead hired Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew and Pato O'Ward, who will form the youngest IndyCar lineup in history.

Alonso will race the team's Chevrolet-powered vehicle, having been blocked in his attempts to race for a Honda outfit.

Unless Arrow McLaren SP completes another deal similar to Arrow SPM's technical partnership with Team Stange Racing and solid veteran driver Oriol Servia, Alonso's solitary start in the Indy 500 will render him the most experienced of the team's trio in the Memorial Day Weekend classic.

Alonso had been in talks to race with Andretti Autosport in one of its Honda-powered cars, but that move was vetoed by Honda due to Alonso's past criticism of the Japanese vehicle manufacturer and its F1 engine program. "I have a special place with McLaren, we've been through a lot together and that creates a bond, a loyalty that is strong".

The Indianapolis 500, which is one of the most prestigious motor races on the world-wide calendar, is held at Indianapolis' Brickyard.

"I already said a year ago I wanted to explore more options", Alonso said.

"It gives them a chance to watch a world-class professional", Brown said.

"But more than that, I am impressed with how the new organization and operation is developing into a strong package with the Chevrolet partnership". So I think we are lacking maybe some experience (on ovals).

Alonso, who made his highly impressive Indy 500 debut with a McLaren-backed Andretti Autosport entry in 2017, failed to qualify for last year's 500 in a purely McLaren-run vehicle, and when he ditched his ambassadorial role for the famous Woking, UK-based brand in January, it freed him up to negotiate with Michael Andretti's team.

However, that deal disappeared, allegedly as a result of Honda Japan (as opposed to California-based Honda Performance Development) spurning the opportunity to work with a driver who had publicly criticized the brand for its early efforts at a Formula 1 hybrid unit and had since scored two Le Mans 24 Hour wins and a World Endurance Championship for Honda's fierce automotive rival Toyota.

Alonso finished 13th on his Dakar Rally debut in January, almost five hours behind victor Carlos Sainz.

"I'm focused and excited", he said.

He said he has turned attention to preparing for Indy.

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