Could Mike Harding really go from Gabby Chaves to Conor Daly to Fernando Alonso and complete the biggest glow up in the history of racing? According to the Brazilian motorsports press Grande Premio that is the plan for next season. Andretti Autosport will join Harding Racing and McLaren to field a Chevy-powered entry for the two-time champ.
Citing sources, Brazilian motorsports media outlet @GrandePremio is reporting that Fernando Alonso (translated via @Google) "will be making the entire season next year by the Harding team, in a support that involves Andretti, McLaren and Chevrolet."
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) August 15, 2018
Essentially what it appears will happen is Harding Racing will house the team in their shop (the old ECR shop) and supply Chevy engines. Andretti will field the car and employees and McLaren lends their monetary backing and without a doubt engineering help.
Andretti Autosport and Harding Racing were already flirting before the Alonso announcement by forming an Andretti junior team. With the Alonso announcement though it now appears Mike Harding and his outfit could be the landing spot for Alonso in potentially the biggest move of the year. Mike Harding just had a treasure chest dropped off on his desk at a time his personal life could be taking a financial hit. (connect the dots, folks).
One Hang Up
McLaren can only partner with a Chevy team in IndyCar. It is understood that Honda wants nothing to do with McLaren and Alonso going so far as not even wanting to supply them with engines. Which leads to a precarious situation at Andretti. They will field Honda-powered cars at Andretti Autosport. While simultaneously fielding a Chevy-powered car at this conglomerate being created in the shadows of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Rumors Rumors Rumors
This deal isn’t set in stone but at this point, it seems to be the most logical rumor and the most factually backed rumor. Marshall Pruett said on his podcast Andretti had been searching for a shop to “expand.” It is now understood why he was searching.
McLaren still wants to run a two-car team and Alonso potentially could be getting a teammate. Whether that is an established veteran or an Andretti junior driver we don’t know yet. Pruett mentioned on his podcast as well that McLaren reportedly reached out to Alexander Rossi, Robert Wickens, and Sebastian Bourdais but all were too locked into their contracts. The other rumor was Ryan Hunter Reay moving to the McLaren team with Alonso.
This is a convoluted mess that Michael Andretti wants to get sorted out in a week or so. Oh, Fernando will be in an Andretti car September 5th at Barber just to stoke the fires and make this more of a story. Hopefully, Mike Harding can keep his name on this deal to pull off the greatest coup in modern racing history.
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