Alonso commits to McLaren for another year

2018 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso will remain at McLaren for the 2018 season, the team has confirmed.

McLaren announced Alonso “will contest the 2018 FIA Formula One world championship alongside Belgium’s Stoffel Vandoorne.”

The two-times world champion said “it was always where my heart was telling me to stay, and I really feel at home here.”

Alonso said he’s “incredibly happy” to be racing at McLaren. “Just as important, McLaren has the technical resource and financial strength to be able to very quickly win races and world championships in F1,” he added. “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.”

McLaren has severed its ties with engine supplier Honda and will be a Renault customer team next year.

“The last three years have given us the momentum to plan and build for the future, and I’m looking forward to that journey,” said Alonso.

McLaren executive director Zak Brown said it “made sense” for Alonso to stay at the team.

“His commitment will allow us to further improve the attractiveness and potential of the wider group, and will ensure we head into 2018 feeling increasingly confident that we’ll be able to take a meaningful step forward,” said Brown. “Fernando fully understands and buys in to the direction we are taking.”

Alonso returned to McLaren in 2015, having previously driven for them in 2007. The team’s lack of competitiveness had prompted speculation he might move to another team for next year, but top teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have all confirmed unchanged line-ups for 2018.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Alonso commits to McLaren for another year”

  1. expected, makes sense, and hope he can fight for a win at least once in 2018.

    Then reshuffle of 2019 card deck.

  2. I really hope it works out for McLaren next year. Would be great to have 8 cars contesting a podium.

    1. next year? forget it. 2019? forget it.

  3. I think McLaren will have better success in 2019, once Fernando has returned to his true home at Renault with his mate Flav by his side.

  4. Edsel Ramirez
    19th October 2017, 17:19

    As a long time McLaren fan, I really do hope and wish for a better 2018 for the team. It’s been long over due. Now if only they do something about those colors…

  5. For some reason I am happy about this, hopefully Renault can deliver what Alonso and McLaren wants. We can safely assume that they will be the 4th best team and Alonso will surely do some magical podiums along the way.

    1. Yep, I am sure Renault will take another step for 2018, provided the McLaren chassis is competitive with the current Top 3 teams then hopefully we can see both drivers fighting for podiums and the occasional win.

      The next three seasons are shaping up to be very tasty indeed and could be super competitive in the vein of 2012 and 2010.

  6. The silly season next year will be pretty interesting…pretty much all of the top drivers are out of contract.

  7. Key comment: Alonso’s presence will “further improve the attractiveness & potential of the wider group.” You see, this is what’s wrong. No sole focus on the F1 team. It’s this diversity into road cars I think ultimately pushed McLaren into the midfield and further back. The same thing happened when they built the first F1 road car, their eye simply went off the ball. They want to be like Ferrari and achieve both, but the Prancing Horse has almost 70 years of experience. McLaren used to be a racing team. What is it now?

    1. What is it now?

      McLaren is a top team struggling because of a risky decision they took when decided to join forces with Honda. Whenever an organization makes a strategic move as risky as they did, the risk/reward assessment is very difficult. None of us, F1 fans with decades of following the sport, would have guessed that Honda would fail so miserably in developing their power units.
      Personally, I think McLaren’s “road car” group just enhances the brand and does not distract at all of the F1 team. It hasn’t been for lack of focus, resources or financial backing the reason for their F1 ludicrous performance in the last 3 years.
      Risky decision. And they paid the price for Honda’s failure.

      1. @svianna: Lots of F1 fan’s, me included, guessed it. Ross Brawn guessed it – read his book, where he explains why the outcome was inevitable. I still don’t get it, why McLaren didn’t see it, and why they didn’t react after first or second season with the company producing Prius and only small transport cars. Back in the 80’ties, when Honda was great in F1, they were also great in the sports/fast/fun car market and so on.
        This time, they were a shadow of themselves, after a miserable failure as a Honda works team, where the Team in UK, and the engine developing team in Japan didn’t cooperate, so why on earth did McLaren think they could revive the good old days?
        And Alonso stays – because there is nowhere else to go?

    2. Pretty sure it was the whole Spy gate episode rather than what you mention @baron. Especially since the diversifying was a reaction to that – as the team+company were reliant on F1, they could not risk more conflict with the FIA/FOM by protesting the verdict and taking them to a real court, so they just had to settle for an unfair (see comparison with Renault getting off scott free for the same only a few months later) verdict.

  8. Dear Renault, please don’t make an engine that sucks in 2018.

  9. I’d say there is next to no chance McLaren will contest the world championship and I’m sceptical they will fight for wins on merit. But it’s going to be good to see Alonso scrapping against competitive drivers again and seeing him grab the odd plucky result.

    It’s just a shame he’s maneuvred himself into a corner career-wise. Ferrari will never take him back, Mercedes have Hamilton for the here and now with Bottas keeping a seat warm until a driver like Ricciardo or Verstappen become available as a long-term prospect. I don’t think Renault will be competitive in a soon enough timeframe to interest Alonso.

    I think the only wildcard is Red Bull. Yes, they have their own young drivers being fed through the ranks to the main team, but if they wound up in a situation losing Ricciardo and Verstappen with only Sainz really up to scratch to promote, I could see them letting Alonso finish his career there.

    1. Except for his current and next year’s partnership, wherever Alonso goes he ends up looking bigger and better than the team. Egos at Ferrari, Red Bull and Merc simply can’t deal with that. If those teams have severe staff changes at the top due to their sudden demise, he would be at the top of their lists. As it stands, they’d rather have lackluster number 2 drivers and keep their fingers crossed their number 1s will shine enough.

      Mark my words, if Renault produce an engine on par with the others, Alonso and Vandoorne will be described as the best driver pair in F1.

  10. Am pleased we at least have Alonso for another season……if they hit the ground running next year and Alonso has a half decent season…..he will be in demand for 2019…..

    1. In demand from who? Merc and Ferrari are both happy with lackluster number 2s. Lewis might say he likes competition but everyone seems relieved with that pesky Rosberg out of the way.

      McLaren and Renault is a massive partnership that ought to be on regular podiums. The rules allowing such a gap between engine manufacturers are a farce. F1 died and will die again after the next set of rules are dominated.

    2. Next year will be his last.

      Hopefully he ends up on the podium one last time, let alone win! Would be sad if he retired without a podium in his last season.

  11. As expected.

  12. Great news! I sincerely hope that McLaren, Renault and Alonso can make a great combination that’ll at least score some podiums in 2018 (and Vandoorne as well of course).

    On another note: I’ve recently read quite a lot about Renault, both as a works team and engine supplier, and I have to say that I think Renault is probably the most sportsmanlike of all engine suppliers/works teams. A couple of things I’ve come to know about them:
    1. They’re not afraid to supply engines to customer teams that might outperform their own team, even in the long run. This was the case with Red Bull and is now the case with McLaren for 2018 and beyond.
    2. They supply equal engines to all teams and don’t keep advantages or priorities in their own team. Last year they even provided Red Bull with an engine upgrade before one of their own cars.
    3. They’ve openly admitted they might’ve been too conservative with oil burning when looking at Mercedes and Ferrari having that edge on performance, but also said they want to win fair and square and oil burning doesn’t belong in the sport. In hindsight this might be easy to say since they’re the ones behind on performance, but it also takes guts to take such a stance in a world that’s primarily all about winning ‘no matter what’. I think they’re doing the right thing and this only emphasizes their commitment to a greener cars, both in F1 and with their road cars.

    Apart from that, I also think that even though especially Verstappen has had his fair share of reliability problems this year, Renault have made huge steps in recent years, especially taking into account they always need to supply 6 engines.

    Final note: although Honda still has to swap out components at almost every race, I think they’re finally on their way towards a reliable engine combined with respectable performance. Too little, too late for McLaren, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Toro Rosso would be able to score some podiums if one of the other engine manufacturers has an off-year next year.

  13. Nothing will ever make me laugh more than the use of the term ‘samurai’ by McLaren about Alonso. For one, a samurai is Japanese, as is Honda. Who are leaving McLaren largely due to the frustrations of their star driver. Knowing irony? Probably.
    But even more, Fernando Alonso is the very opposite of a samurai. A samurai is a quiet, dignified warrior, someone for whom loyalty is the very highest goal, someone who would rather commit suicide than commit a dishonorous act or lay the blame elsewhere. Alonso is none of these things. He has publicly gone around stabbing multiple teams in the back, never accepts the blame for anything, and is capable of drawing the attention to his own talents whilst dishonouring whatever master he serves.
    It had me rolling in laughter. But it’s kind of sad.

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