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Video: Ferrari and McLaren’s abandoned Indycar projects

by Matt Beer
1 min read

The history of the Indianapolis 500 could have been so different, as both McLaren and Ferrari made strides towards IndyCar programmes in the late 1980s, before both canned their projects and elected to focus on Formula 1.

McLaren’s curtailed bid was encouraged by major sponsor Phillip Morris, with communication between it and Ron Dennis throughout 1985.

Ultimately Dennis went back on the proposal of a two-year programme to stick to F1 – a decision that can’t be criticised looking at McLaren’s F1 title haul between 1985 and 1992.

It did however cost Phillip Morris money to buy its IndyCar driver Emerson Fittipaldi out of a contract with 7-Eleven he’d signed while the cigarette firm waited in hope of a McLaren move.

In a recent feature on The Race, the Ferrari IndyCar project was investigated with some new stories and revelations exposed.

Whether it was a ploy by Enzo Ferrari to gain favourable terms in F1, or a genuine attempt to win the Indy 500, Ferrari did at least get as far as building a car.

Jack Benyon investigates both stories, with further research by Glenn Freeman.


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