With the inquest already underway at McLaren after their failure to qualify for the 2019 Indy 500, what are the next steps for Fernando Alonso?
Fernando Alonso's dream of an Indy 500 win was thwarted before the race had even begun. He and the McLaren team failed to qualify for the prestigious event after being eliminated in the Last Row shootout.
After a difficult build-up to the qualifying weekend - with Alonso crashing out in practice and the car incapable of showing sufficient pace - they were pipped to last place on the grid by one of the smallest teams on the grid, with Juncos Racing's Kyle Kaiser edging Alonso out of the race.
Whilst Alonso won't be participating at Indianapolis this year - and McLaren have refused to try and buy another driver's seat - where does this leave any future McLaren-Alonso combination for the future?
McLaren opted against completing a full IndyCar campaign and chose to only contest the Indy 500, which has rightly raised questions about their confidence in being able to be competitive.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is only one of a couple of oval circuits on the calendar, but it's the first of its kind in the IndyCar season, so the earlier circuits wouldn't have been a good guide. However, competing in a full season might have given them more operational experience as an IndyCar outfit, even with the employed help from Carlin.
In reaction to the team's inability to qualify, the head of McLaren's IndyCar programme, Bob Fernley, has left his role, and the bosses at Woking now have some thinking to do about the future of their project, or even if they believe the project should continue at all.
As things stand, McLaren would be very unlikely to use a driver other than Alonso if they continue in America, and their future inclusion in IndyCar could depend on whether or not Alonso believes they can ever challenge for the win.
But what about Alonso? If he feels like returning to Formula One, then McLaren are probably the only option available to him. Could he risk breaking up with McLaren in an effort to find another IndyCar team?
Do you think we will see McLaren or Alonso back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next year? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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