Monaco Grand Prix – Zak Brown admits that Fernando Alonso is yet to decide on his future McLaren activities after their failure to qualify for the 2019 Indy 500.
McLaren were shock elimination from the legendary Indianapolis 500 race after they were one of just three entries to fail to qualify for the race.
Alonso and McLaren had been struggling for pace in the build-up to Indy, and the team finished in the bottom six on day one of qualifying last Saturday.
The bottom six drivers then contested a ‘Last Row shootout’ on Sunday, with the bottom six drivers from this session being eliminated from the race.
Alonso finished fourth in that session after being pipped to the top three by a much smaller outfit, Juncos Racing.
In the aftermath, Bob Fernley left his position as head of McLaren’s IndyCar project, and an investigation will be undertaken to assess and rectify the situation.
Answering questions ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, McLaren CEO Zak Brown said that he takes all responsibility for the team’s failure and labelled their performance as ‘an embarrassment’.
“We got it wrong and I thought it was important to be transparent and open as much as sometimes the truth hurts. I think the industry isn’t necessarily that open, that often. And we got it wrong and I’m responsible for that.
“There’s of course little stories behind each of those individual issues and how they transpired but y’know, we didn’t execute and therefore we didn’t qualify for the Indy 500. It’s happened to the best of them before and we learned a lot.
“I was watching this morning, a little tribute to Niki and, when he grabbed his Laureus award, talked about how he learned more from losing, which is what made him a winner, so we’ll dust ourselves off. We’re racers. It was a big, public failure.
“It’s embarrassing. It’s not to the McLaren standard. It’s not acceptable – but it happened and we’re going to learn from it and we’ll come back stronger.”
When asked about Alonso’s future with the McLaren team, Brown said that the decision on Alonso’s post-Le Mans activities lie with Alonso himself.
“Our relationship with Fernando has never been stronger. He was obviously very disappointed. We let him down, he deserved to be in the race, he was an absolute star as he always has been when he’s raced with us, and my personal relationship in working with him.
“What he does post-Le Mans is up to Fernando. We have a contract with him for some McLaren activities. I think when you come off an emotional weekend like that you want to take some time to reflect and see what he wants to do in the future and if that aligns with some of McLaren’s activities then that would be great.
“I think he’s a bit undecided on what he wants to do yet so we will pick up those conversations when I see him in Le Mans.”