McLaren will not buy an entry for the Indy 500
McLaren CEO Zak Brown has gone on record to confirm that his team will not be seeking to buy an entry into the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 after Fernando Alonso failed to qualify.
Two-time Formula 1 champion Alonso was edged out of the field of 33 by Juncos Racing-Chevrolet’s Kyle Kaiser in the Last Row qualifying shootout session, the young American’s four-lap average proving just 0.019mph faster.
There have been a couple of instances in the past when teams have bought the entry of a rival team in order to get its driver and sponsor in the race. However, when James Hinchcliffe was bumped out of last year’s race, team owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson did not buy him back in, and Brown has confirmed he will take the same “suck-it-up” attitude.
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Brown confirmed to AP’s Jenna Fryer: “We'll come back fighting. We don't want to buy in. We want to earn it. Anyone can buy in. We want to get in on merit."
Motorsport.com asked Juncos Racing’s owner Ricardo Juncos what his response would be if approached by McLaren to buy his entry. He replied: “We’re racing next weekend. That’s it.”
The grid for this year's Indy 500 is the closest in its 103-year history, with just 2.748mph covering the pole-winner, Simon Pagenaud, and the slowest qualifier, Pippa Mann, who set her time yesterday and will therefore start 30th, ahead of today's Last Row qualifiers who eclipsed her speed.
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