McLaren's professed interest in an Indycar entry for the 2019 season, and links with potential partners Andretti Autosport or Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, made the likelihood of Indycar involvement appear near certain. At least, it did, until Eric Boullier's resignation from McLaren Wednesday, following a report that came forward alleging McLaren's Indycar plans have been scrapped.
Formula 1 journalist Joe Saward reported the update in his column in Motorsport Week, though he stated the Indycar effort was independent of Boullier's involvement. Boullier, as manager of trackside operations, would likely have nothing to do with the operation of a team in another series, and his elimination from McLaren is part of a management compression the team is undergoing to bring itself back to competitiveness in Formula 1.
The reason for reportedly backing out of Indycar is stated by Saward to be related to McLaren's focus on reinventing its Formula 1 team, which last won a Grand Prix in 2012. The team is on track to finish below fifth in the Constructors' Championship for the fourth straight year. Prior to 2015, and excluding its 2007 disqualification, the team had not finished sixth or below since 1981.
Many speculate that McLaren can return to its former competitive glory by streamlining operations, specifically by reducing its bloated management structure. As an Indycar entry would only further complicate its internal order, it is thought to be antithetical to the team's focus on crawling back up the field in Formula 1.
The Drive contacted both McLaren and Andretti Autosport for comment, and we will update when we have a response. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing could not be reached.