A few days ago, McLaren announced they would create an all-new team to tackle the Indy 500 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With Fernando Alonso in tow as the driver, Zak Brown announced the intentions earlier this week.
Today, another interesting detail in that ex-Force India boss Bob Fernley, who was sent to the curb during the Lawrence Stroll acquisition of the team in favor of Otmar Szafnauer, will now join the McLaren project and run the Indy 500 operation.
I wonder if it crossed Zak or the team’s ownership that perhaps Gil de Ferran, a stalwart in Indycar, might be the guy for that roll while Fernley, a long-time F1 team boss, might be best for the current F1 team given Bob’s ability to squeeze blood from the Force India turnip during the lean, pre-Stroll years?
No doubt Bob has had his share of Indycar experience with the Ensign team in the 80’s but Gil has current experience with the series. Regardless, I am sure Bob will do a good job of it.
McLaren Racing announces today that Bob Fernley has been appointed as President, McLaren IndyCar, with immediate effect.
Fernley will report directly to Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, and will lead the McLaren 2019 Indianapolis 500 programme, when Fernando Alonso will attempt to secure the Triple Crown of motorsport.
Fernley is a widely experienced and respected figure within the world of motorsport, with relationships across the industry. His extensive career portfolio most recently includes a role as Deputy Team Principal at the Force India Formula 1 team, and previously a focus on North American motorsport, including successful periods in IndyCar.
Fernley’s appointment is consistent with McLaren Racing’s plan to run its IndyCar programme as a separate entity to its Formula 1 activities. Fernley will build and lead a technical team entirely focused on the 2019 Indy 500, while helping to evaluate the feasibility of a longer-term McLaren involvement in IndyCar.
Further details on the 2019 McLaren Indy 500 project will be shared in due course.
Zak Brown, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Racing, said:
“Bob is a fantastic operator and someone I respect greatly. His experience and leadership will be essential for us on this project. He is particularly talented at putting effective teams together and extracting maximum performance with finite resources. The Indy 500 is no easy race and Bob’s is a key role, so I’m delighted he’s on board.”
Bob Fernley, President, McLaren IndyCar, said:
“Heading back to The Brickyard will be a very special experience for me and I am proud to be leading this McLaren project and team. The 500 is a hell of a challenge and we have incredibly strong competitors to overcome if we’re to be successful. We will need to prepare well for the month of May and that work starts now.”