Zak Brown with Fernando Alonso

Ahead of McLaren Racing's run at the 2019 Indianapolis 500, chief executive Zak Brown said competing in the IndyCar Series will help his team's Formula One program better reach American fans.

“I think North America remains a key growth market for Formula One, the biggest sporting market in the world, and I think Formula One has lots of room for growth,” Brown said Tuesday. 

“That is one of the reasons why we are competing in the Indy 500, because we think Indianapolis and the IndyCar Series … for seven out of 10 sponsors, America is an important market.

"Formula One right now can’t quite ring that bell as loudly as a lot of partners would like, so we feel Indy car racing for a variety of reasons, but that being one of them, helps round out a global proposition for our partners.”

McLaren Racing will field Fernando Alonso at the 103rd Running of the Indy 500 in May while evaluating the feasibility of longer-term McLaren involvement in the IndyCar Series. Alonso, the two-time F1 champion, made a highly publicized Indianapolis 500 debut in 2017, when he qualified fifth and led 27 laps before a mechanical failure ended his race 21 laps from the finish. The popular Spaniard was named Sunoco Rookie of the Year for the effort.

Formula One currently visits the United States once per year, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. INDYCAR will make its much-anticipated debut at COTA in March.