|Jens Button was eyeing an IndyCar go before the Chinese Virus hit.|
UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' for 2020, as schedule changes brought on by the Chinese virus negate any chance Button or Johnson would have to test. Alonso will contest the Indy 500 only.
“Our decision to go with just our two young drivers, two Indy Lights champions, is an exciting line-up," Zak Brown told Racer. “We know rookie drivers will make some mistakes; so will some experienced drivers. Our plans for 2020 are now changed because of the lack of testing available.
"I think the other drivers that we’re talking to recognize how difficult IndyCar racing is; they have a tremendous amount of recognition for the drivers, and while they’re confident in their ability to be successful, they recognize they need to test. So I think the likelihood now, of a third car popping up in 2020, is probably unlikely."
“The original plan was, let’s get through the first half of the year, let’s make sure we have a good Indianapolis, and then let’s test some of these guys and see if they want to try a race or two, because maybe that would lead to something on a more full-time basis in 2021," Brown said. “I don’t think we’d ever have guest appearances just for the sake of guest appearances; it would be because it could lead to something else."
“I think now, with the restricted schedule, potentially no testing, it’s highly unlikely any driver of that caliber would just think they can hop into a car Friday morning and practice at a track they’ve never been at, and be competitive. And these drivers are too professional, and want to be prepared, and would not put themselves in that situation. So I think it’s probably going to be a ‘wait till 2021’ to replay what we were looking to accomplish in 2020."
05/04/20 McLaren CEO Zak Brown told Autosport that 2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button and NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson have expressed interest in racing in IndyCar in 2020.
So far, double F1 world champion Fernando Alonso has been confirmed by McLaren as one of its drivers for the 2020 Indy 500. We already knew that Alonso was due to run a third McLaren SP in the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course.
In early March, Autosport says they told off the record that Arrow-McLaren staff were preparing for its third entry to be piloted by Button at the Road America round, slated for June 21st.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson has also showed interest
However, in the latest Autosport podcast, Zak Brown admitted that Johnson's and Button's IndyCar ambitions have been temporarily put on ice by the lack of testing days available in the revised 2020 calendar.
"I've spoken with all three of them," Brown declared.
"All three of them really enjoy IndyCar racing. All three want to race.
"All three are extremely competitive. I think IndyCar now has just come out with a testing restriction, so unfortunately that might make this year more difficult, because I don't think any of those would want to just jump into a car cold in Friday practice.
"I think they're all too professional and know the sport is too competitive to think that they can just hop in without an appropriate amount of testing.
"But I would say all three of those drivers… I wouldn't be surprised to see one or all three in an IndyCar at some point, and I think that'd be very exciting."