McLaren are merely hours away from announcing that Fernando Alonso is staying with the British team in 2018. Team executive Zak Brown said “We’ve been close for some time. We wanted to get the Asian races out of the way and our new power unit partner in place which is now done. I expect we’ll have a positive conclusion to our plans with Fernando soon”. So after weeks of speculation, an Alonso deal is indeed on the horizon. So This will be Alonso’s final year with Honda before McLaren switch to Renault.
On Tuesday, the FIA announced that Alonso will appear in the official Thursday press conference in Austin, and Brown hinted that the Spaniard may have some news to share. The American said, “He’s in the FIA press conference on Thursday. We have to get a deal done before anything is announced.”
Alonso Deal Nitty-Gritty
The talking points are likely to be contract duration, and whether Alonso will be free to race in other categories, as he did at the Indy 500 this year. Brown confirmed that a new Alonso deal would include provisions for him to race elsewhere, decided “on a case by case basis”. But he said Le Mans might not be on the cards for 2018, because the current regulations would not accommodate McLaren’s own GT3 or GT4 cars.
Brown said “Le Mans is something we’re looking at. As a manufacturer we’re participating in meetings. Le Mans is of interest but whatever rules they land on need to be a good platform.”
So it seems more and more likely that Fernando Alonso will stick around in Formula One for another season. I for one cannot wait to see him in a McLaren-Renault and at the sharp end of the grid. It would bring McLaren back to a place where they belong. With Alonso at the wheel and a young rising star in Stoffel Vandoorne, the future looks bright for McLaren. Besides, who could resist the possibility of 4 teams battling for the championship.