BELLE ISLE, MI – Scuderia Corsa officials told me last Sunday after the Indianapolis 500 was over that they definitely will be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series next year. They 100-percent will be at Indy in May with ongoing plans of possibly joining the series in a larger capacity in 2019 too. That’s the plan they told me on more than just the ‘500. It will all just need to work out.
Now, they may have some company in the new team department.
If you see Zak Brown and McLaren officials around Detroit this weekend, your eyes are deceiving you. It’s actually them. While it could be a fluke that they’re in town because Formula One is off this weekend and their next race is in Canada next week, I’ve heard this is more of a potential “business trip.”
Brown, Gil de Ferran and Fernando Alonso’s manager will be in the Belle Isle paddock looking for 2019 options. It’s no secret, the McLaren team is wanting to join the series in the future. They’ve hinted about a possible 2019 leap for almost a year now. At the very least, a return trip to the Indy 500 is likely, as Alonso has even said that he’d like to do the ‘500 again in the future and possibly do so in 2019.
After last weekend, it appears that Alonso is already out the door in F1. He said the Monaco Grand Prix was one of the most boring races ever. He tweeted that the ‘500 was THE best race of Memorial Day weekend. He was tweeting INDYCAR drivers all weekend and genuinely seemed like he had more of an interest for Indy than Monaco.
Plus, if he didn’t have an interest, why would his manager be in Belle Isle?
The fact that the trio of gentlemen is in Belle Isle says a lot. It appears that Alonso is coming this way very soon.
The two biggest teams that they can merge with is Andretti Autosport and Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing. While Andretti makes the most sense, can they really field six cars on a full-time basis? Steinbrenner Racing will likely be moving up with Colton Herta and I can’t see Andretti letting them get away. Herta, is the son of Bryan Herta, who’s Bryan Herta Autosport team is merged with Andretti already. Why would Andretti let both Herta’s get away?
So, it’s likely they’ll be a five car group at the very least in 2019, but a six car?
That’s where RLL comes into play. They almost had a deal with McLaren last year and have room to grow for the future. McLaren would be a huge addition to them. But, would Scuderia Corsa come back with RLL again next year too? The potential is there for RLL to be a three or even four car team in 2019. Bobby Rahal told me at Mid-Ohio last year that the goal is to have three or even more full-time cars down the line.
Maybe that’s 2019.
RLL can play a key role here.
But, it’s not like McLaren and Scuderia Corsa are locked into Honda. McLaren was in 2017, but they have since left Honda. Scuderia Corsa is with Ferrari in sports cars, so they’re not tied to Honda too. Either team can look at Chevrolet teams too.
Moral of the story here, I can see both teams in the series on a larger capacity in 2019. Full time is an option, Indy seems definite, but a part-time scale at the very least seems very likely.
How big is this for the series? They’re gaining new teams like crazy and even gaining a ton of European attention.