Alonso and Vandoorne or Latifi as teammates in IndyCar? (12th Update)

Alonso sounds like he will cherry-pick the Indy 500 in 2019
Alonso sounds like he will cherry-pick the Indy 500 in 2019

UPDATE At Thursday's USGP press conference Fernando Alonso was asked about his plans for spending more time in America in 2019.

“I don’t have 21 races in F1 to travel around for so maybe more free time, I will come to the States for a holiday (and) a little bit more," joked Alonso Thursday at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, presumably his last.

When pressed further on his 2019 plans, Alonso continued: “Let’s see. As I’ve said many times, the Indy 500 is still very attractive as it was last year. After winning Le Mans this year, it’s even more attractive."

“I’m still working on plans for next year," he added. "As soon as they are finalized, you will know."

Nicholas Latifi
Nicholas Latifi

10/15/18 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today and may soon go to false. It looks increasingly likely that Canadian Nicolas Latifi and his wealthy father, will keep their Canadian money in F1 and combine it with Canadian Lawrence Stroll's Force Point India Racing team. If true, then both Vandoorne and Latifi will have turned their back on IndyCar.

So where does that leave Fernando Alonso and McLaren? Not sure yet, but the scenario that makes the most sense is either Alonso runs just the Indy 500 for Andretti Autosport, or he runs the full season for them because we doubt McLaren is coming to IndyCar given how bad they are running in F1.

Stoffel Vandoorne - dating the boss's daughter
Stoffel Vandoorne headed to Formula E

10/08/18 We are removing Vandoorne from our 2019 IndyCar Silly season page as word has come that he will soon be announced as a Mercedes Formula E (HWA to start) driver.

If, huge if, McLaren is going to have an IndyCar team, it will be with Alonso and Latifi.

Given how bad the team is doing in F1, should they be trying to do an IndyCar team too?

09/23/18 was the first to rumor that Stoffel Vandoorne was in play to race alongside Fernando Alonso in the McLaren IndyCar team way back in July. Now some of the other media publications are finally reporting it too.

Zak Brown revealed that Stoffel Vandoorne – axed and replaced by Lando Norris in the F1 team – could be part of the McLaren Indycar project if indeed it happens.

“I think he’s an extremely fast driver, very consistent. I think he’d make a great sports car driver and a great IndyCar driver. I think he’d make a good Formula 1 driver, we just had a difficult two years," explained Brown.

“Obviously, it’s difficult when you don’t renew someone, but he’s a professional. We’re fans of his. McLaren would definitely race with Stoffel in other racing series and I think it would be great to see his story continue with McLaren," Brown told RACER.

Zak Brown needs to pull a rapid out of his hat soon
Zak Brown needs to pull a rapid out of his hat soon

09/19/18 Our inside sources tell us today that the probability of Alonso running full-time in IndyCar in 2019 has dropped to under 25%.

We expect he will drive a 5th car for Andretti in the Indy 500 only……unless by some miracle Zak Brown is able to put together McLaren's own IndyCar team.

Zak doesn't even have a primary sponsor for his F1 team yet, let alone worrying about IndyCar sponsorship……and we hear the McLaren investors are growing tired.

Alonso is missing his right pectoral muscle and driving an IndyCar on road courses without power steering could present a challenge
Alonso is missing his right pectoral muscle and driving an IndyCar on road courses without power steering could present a challenge

09/17/18 Alonso has Poland Syndrome. He was born without a pectoral muscle on his right side. This may be a factor on road courses in a car without power steering. A few test laps is far different than an entire race. But he could be ok at Indy where minimal steering input is required due to stagger.

Poland Syndrome is a rare, congenital defect that is characterized by:

Absence or abnormality of the pectoralis major muscle, a major chest muscle that normally attaches to the upper arm on one side and the breastbone (or sternum) on the other side.

Only a guess on our part. Probably will never know for sure.

With that said he does do endurance racing for Toyota, but those cars, like F1, have power steering.

F1 paddock chatter says Alonso will not do a full season of IndyCar
F1 paddock chatter says Alonso will not do a full season of IndyCar – cars too slow

09/17/18 German Publication Auto Motor Und Sport reported that in Singapore this past weekend the word is that Alonso was only moderately enthusiastic about the IndyCar test drive at Barber.

He says the cars are too slow, too cumbersome, have too little power and unlike Formula 1 no power steering.

He estimates that they would be about 10 seconds slower than Formula 1 on one lap. That's why a whole year of IndyCar racing is unlikely.

Also, because there seems to be difficulties in putting together a team around the Spaniard with Honda. But the Indy 500 he will definitely do.

This is the chatter in Singapore, no idea if it is true, but it seems to make sense – that plus the danger of the lethal catch-fences IndyCar has yet to address.

Alonso is worth at least $1/4 billion. Does he want to end up like Wickens and not be able to enjoy the wealth he has accumulated? Of course not.

09/17/18 (GMM) Stoffel Vandoorne has admitted he may continue his motor racing career outside of formula one.

After a highly promising junior career, the Belgian has lost his full-time McLaren seat after two seasons and is unlikely to find another cockpit elsewhere.

"Staying in F1 is still possible but the chances are very, very, very small," the 26-year-old told Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

"The market has changed a lot over the last weeks, but nothing is decided yet," Vandoorne added. "We're even looking outside of F1, and I hope to have something very soon.

"There are other championships where the level is very high, and where there are a lot of people who still believe in my talent. I'm still the driver I was before who is able to win races and championships.

"I am convinced that in another environment I can do it again," he said.

IndyCar's failure to address the lethal catch-fences years ago comes back to bit it in the posterior once again
IndyCar's failure to address the lethal catch-fences years ago comes back to bite it in the posterior once again. Who will be next?

09/14/18 Stoffel Vandoorne says he may consider an IndyCar drive next year but admits Robert Wickens’ crash has made a potential move less appealing.

The McLaren driver is out of a seat for the 2019 F1 season and said he may look at other championships if he can’t find another race seat for next year.

“There’s been a lot of talks obviously and not only in Formula 1," said Vandoorne. “We’ve been exploring some different series as well which hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will know something more about.

“Until the Formula 1 door closes you’ve got to keep all the options open. There’s some interesting projects that could become a possibility for next year but at the moment nothing is done and I’m still a free agent."

Vandoorne said he is interested in taking on the Indianapolis 500, as his current team mate Fernando Alonso did last year. However he admitted the injuries Wickens suffered in his crash last month played on his mind.

Wickens suffered multiple fractures across his body and spine injuries when his car was launched into a debris fence during the Pocono 500. The last official medical updated issued on his condition stated the full extent of the damage to his back remains unclear.

Vandoorne said the Indianapolis 500 is “a special occasion" but “obviously after what happened with Robert it’s sometimes not always that appealing."

“It’s definitely one of the biggest events in the world and I think if you have an opportunity to compete in that and to maybe fight for victories is probably something very special. But there is a lot of risks involved as well. But you have to be prepared to take risks." Racefans

Nicholas Latifi
Nicholas Latifi

09/13/18 We are now hearing rumors again that instead of Stoffel Vandoorne moving to IndyCar with Fernando Alonso to resurrect his career after being sacked by the McLaren F1 team, F2 driver Nicholas Latifi may be Alonso's teammate (see original rumor below).

Latifi is a Canadian with Iranian heritage and his wealthy father Michael recently bought into the McLaren team as an investor and we hear he is putting money up to support Alonso and his son in IndyCar.

We also hear that Alonso's personal brand, Kimoa, will make the qualitative leap that he lacks for an international expansion.

Latifi is the son of Michael Latifi who invested 225 million euros this year in McLaren (to cover the gap left by Honda). Michael Latifi, an Iranian who settled in Canada and obtained refugee status when he was a student, and has been very successful in business including his agri-food group Sofina Foods, which has an important market in the United States. He was a former employee of McDonalds can may be able to bring in McDonalds as a sponsor.

For the same amount of money Sofina gets for a small decal on the nose of the Force India car (Nicholas Latifi is a Test Driver for them) Sofina can get primary sponsorship in IndyCar.

Latifi has been added to our 2019 IndyCar Silly Season Page.

Stoffel Vandoorne - dating the boss's daughter
Stoffel Vandoorne beat Alexander Rossi for the GP2 title in 2015

09/05/18 McLaren CEO, Zak Brown, has admitted that he is trying his best to find an F1 seat for Stoffel Vandoorne after sacking him, and if that does not work out, he may keep him in the team at IndyCar.

“Anything we can do to help Stoffel, we would help him in a heartbeat," Brown said. “I definitely think he’s a Formula 1 caliber driver, and if I was Toro Rosso – who appear to have two open seats – I’d put Stoffel in a heartbeat."

“We consider him family, he’s been outstanding to work with, hopefully he lands in Formula 1, that’s where I think he deserves to be."

“But we have some other racing activities that you guys know we are reviewing, and I wouldn’t hesitate to keep Stoffel in the McLaren family if there was a seat available and he had a desire to race in it," added the McLaren CEO.

Alonso has stated that Vandoorne is closer to him then most of his previous teammates in terms of lap times and appears to like him as a teammate. Might they stay together in the states?

Could we expect McLaren's 2018 F1 line-up to be its 2019 IndyCar line-up? To which Zak Brown laughed and said: "Highly unlikely." But is it?

Vandoorne is on our updated 2019 IndyCar Silly Season Page.

Vandoorne is dating Anna de Ferran
Vandoorne is dating Anna de Ferran

07/07/18 (GMM) Stoffel Vandoorne has dismissed as "part of formula one" a run of paddock rumors about him.

Earlier, it seemed possible that the British team would oust the Belgian, who has struggled to shine alongside Fernando Alonso both last year and in 2018.

Youngster Lando Norris is waiting in the wings for a seat, but suddenly everything might have changed. Gil de Ferran is McLaren's new sporting boss, and Vandoorne is dating his daughter Anna.

"They've known each other about a year," former Indy champion de Ferran told Brazil's Globo.

"But it's a completely separate relationship and I do not see any problem in that regard."

Also at Silverstone, Vandoorne sidestepped all the speculation.

"It's that time of year," he said. "It's part of formula one. And what the outside world thinks doesn't bother me that much.

"More important is what they think of me inside the team. How they judge my work," Vandoorne said.

As for Eric Boullier's departure as team boss, Vandoorne added: "I don't think it changes much for me.

"It's not like all the problems will now be resolved from one day to the next."

06/21/18 As we have rumored for months, hearing the McLaren IndyCar effort will happen with Michael Latifi money and Nicholas Latifi in one seat.

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