Bob Fernley exits McLaren’s Indycar program

I’m not sure about you but I was stunned to see McLaren fail to qualify for this year’s Indy 500 race. Alonso’s crash, the time it took to rebuild the car and the lack of pace were all shocking when Alonso compared similar efforts of the underfunded Juncos team who managed to rebuild a wrecked car and qualify for the race.

Last November, McLaren announced they were bringing for Force India boss, Bob Fernley, in to run the Indy project for the company. Bob has a history with Indy back in the 80’s, the press release said at the time, and he also had a penchant for extracting the most out of limited resources as his time at Force India proved. It seemed a good fit.

At the time, I was stumped as to why a guy like Gil De Ferran wasn’t leading the Indy effort, given his pedigree, and Bob brought in to lead the F1 program but I’m not privy to the internal trajectory of the team.

After such an embarrassing result, McLaren have found the fall guy for the Indy failure and it is none other than Bob Fernley. That’s a harsh situation and having not spent time in the Indy garage with Bob, I have no way of knowing if he was the reason for the failure to qualify for the race. Perhaps he was but I find that surprising given what he did while at Force India.

Regardless, if there is no Indy race to run, then Bob’s role seems futile at this point and one wonders if his departure means the McLaren Indy project is basically over.

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Let this be end of McLaren’s dubious flirtation with Indycars. I never believed they were, ever, serious about a full time effort. Maybe they are, if nothing changes inside F1. If I were Gene Haas, I’d definitely bring Bob Fernley into the team.


Does F1 even know how to do IndyCar (except for Alonso)?

the captain

I didn’t get to follow this in real time, but I always kinda figured it was a bit os a mistake to just go in for Indy and not a whole season. But hot damn was this more of a disaster all around than I could have imagined. Didn’t have a sterling wheel at testing, backup chassis was in paint for months because it wasn’t the proper color orange, bad Imperial to metric conversions. Wrong gear ratios!

I don’t even know what to say.