Fernando Alonso isn’t going anywhere — for now.
The Spanish Formula One driver, whose struggles with McLaren-Honda have been a major talking point in the sport in recent years, will return to the team for the 2018 season, McLaren announced Thursday. The news comes roughly a month after McLaren orchestrated a three-way deal that allowed it to ditch Honda in favor of running Renault power units in 2018.
Since joining the Woking, England-based team in 2015, Alonso hasn’t earned a single top-five, thanks largely to the notoriously inconsistent performance of Honda’s power units. But with Honda now out of the picture, Alonso thinks the team can return to championship-level.
“It’s fantastic to be able to continue my relationship with everybody at McLaren,” Alonso said in a statement. “It was always where my heart was telling me to stay, and I really feel at home here. This is a fantastic team, full of incredible people, with a warmth and friendliness that I’ve never experienced elsewhere in Formula 1. I’m incredibly happy to be racing here.
” … Just as important, McLaren has the technical resource and financial strength to be able to very quickly win races and world championships in F1. Although the last few years have not been easy, we have never forgotten how to win, and I believe we can achieve that again soon.”
Alonso’s decision to continue with McLaren ends months of speculation, with the 36-year-old previously being linked to Scuderia Ferrari, Reanult Sport Formula One Team, and even IndyCar. Still, the prevailing feeling was that Alonso would return and pilot the MCL33.
“I’m delighted to be able to confirm that Fernando will remain at McLaren,” Zak Brown, executive director for McLaren Technology Group, said in a statement. “He has been a fantastic asset to the whole organization for the past three years, is an incredible individual and is one of the most accomplished and talented racing drivers of the modern era.
” … It always made sense for us to continue our journey together.”
With Alosno’s short-term future in F1 now set, perhaps we soon can get some clarity on whether we’ll see the Spaniard compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Thumbnail photo via Honda Racing
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