INDIANAPOLIS – Bob Fernley was hired last November to lead McLaren Racing’s NTT IndyCar Series project for their Indy 500 aspiration. Fernley, wasn’t just another guy added to this program. He was their president.
McLaren, viewed him as a big piece to help their Indy Car efforts. The only person he reported to was CEO Zak Brown. At the time of his hiring, Brown said, “Bob is a fantastic operator and someone I respect greatly. His experience and leadership will be essential for us on this project. He is particular talented at putting effective teams together and extracting maximum performance with finite resources. The Indy 500 is no easy race and Bob’s role is a key role.”
Well, now the role is gone.
McLaren officials confirmed on Monday Fernley’s departure from the team. This comes in wake of Fernando Alonso failing to qualify for Sunday’s 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network).
While the original agreement was for Fernley to run the program through the ‘500, I don’t think they realistically thought that it would end this soon.
Gil deFerran said this past week that they don’t know what their plans are for the future as he nor Fernando Alonso know if a future opportunity in Indy Car is in the cards.
See, Brown sold the shareholders that Indy Car is a viable option for their future. The initial goal was to be a full time entrant as soon as 2020. But, with McLaren and Alonso failing to qualify and for how embarrassing this month was for them, I’m not so sure this is the only person on staff that will be cut loose.
Does McLaren want another embarrassment in the future or is this it in terms of their Indy Car future plans?