Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

Alonso says McLaren deal is “not one year” and he won’t do 2018 Indy 500

2018 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso confirmed his new deal to drive for McLaren extends beyond next season and means he won’t return to the Indianapolis 500 in 2018.

Asked about the length of his new contract during today’s FIA press conference Alonso said “we don’t talk much about contracts but it’s not one-year.”

Alonso wouldn’t be drawn on exactly how long his new deal is. “We have enough to do for next year to put McLaren at the top of the grid and that’s the first priority right now,” he said.

“On my personal side there are no other priorities than Formula One at the moment. But with a door open for different series and different goals.”

“I always believe that you need to win in other series if you want to be a more complete driver and better driver.”

Driving in the Indianapolis 500 “opened the eyes a little bit”, Alonso admitted, but said he won’t be back again next year.

“Obviously now with the new McLaren deal for next year I can confirm that I won’t be in the Indy 500 next year because the Monaco Grand Prix is the same weekend and the priority next year will be to perform well in Formula one.”

“But at the same time I can confirm that I will be in the Indy 500 in the future. I don’t know if it will be 2019 or 2020 or whenever. But it’s a race that I definitely will experience again.”

“Formula One is just one more series in motorsport,” he added. “It’s a fantastic series, we are all very proud to be Formula One drivers and we dream from a very early age to become Formula One drivers. But there are other motor sport series that are as good and as fun as this one. That was a good discovery for me.”

Alonso said the relaxed atmosphere of racing in IndyCar is one thing Formula One needs to emulate to win over more fans in America.

“The races here I think are much more unpredictable what the result can be on Sundays,” he added. “That is quite attractive from a fan point of view.”

“In Formula One we know the starting grid on Sunday, we can write a paper now and sign and we will maybe miss one or two positions maximum. That’s the worst thing that we have. Hopefully we can change that.”

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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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  • 26 comments on “Alonso says McLaren deal is “not one year” and he won’t do 2018 Indy 500”

    1. Why all the secrecy about how long the deal is?
      Part of me thinks, while he’s a great driver, he loves a bit of drama

      1. We need context for Alonso articles. The guy is a known recluse. He’s regularly on the end of stupid media questions and outragous speculation, eh Andrew benson….

      2. @willienjg ”Why all the secrecy about how long the deal is?” – Good question. I can understand why contracts, in general, tend to be made confidential, etc., but the only thing I don’t really get is the inconsistency when it comes to the length. Sometimes the exact length of a contract is open information to the public, and sometimes it isn’t.

        1. My guess is it’s one year with options. I know FA is smart, so I think he is keeping his options open for 2019, depending on how things are going at Mac with Renault and depending on what might shake out with all the top drivers having their contracts up in the air at the end of 2018.

      3. Things dragged out because I believe he was courted by two large teams to sign in IndyCar. We’ll never know now how close that got, but obviously he’ll move to IndyCar full time when he retires fro F1.

      1. key phrase: “extends beyond next season”.

        1. ..perhaps also Mclaren car dealership concessions for Spain…hahaha

      2. Good point… He might quit F1 if the car/PU combo isn’t competitive in 2018 and then focus on LeMans or similar with McLaren.

    2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      19th October 2017, 22:08

      He’s running out of patience. If the team is awful next season he’ll quit at the end of 2018, if it comes good he’ll continue until 2019, maybe even 2020 if it’s very good. Alonso is getting a bit long in the tooth in F1 terms and I don’t think his motivation is at the same level as a younger driver – I’m hoping Vandoorne will have a cracker of a season next year and put Alonso under real pressure, because in terms of teammates, he’s had it too easy for too long. If McLaren does come on song next year, we could be in for a pretty sensational season.

    3. I am so glad to see him remain in F1! I really hope it gets better for him. Next year we will be able to compare the McLaren and the Red Bull and it’s the best thing McLaren could do for its own sake. I’m inclined to think that their chassis is quite decent and the Renault engine will surely be put to good use. Go Fernando!

    4. I think its quite clear from his comments that his contract with Mclaren is longer than 1 year but not necessarily in F1. McLaren have already said they would like to see one of their cars in Indycar, so perhaps FA will help them develop a car and then pilot it.

      1. There is no developing involved. The current and future car is now 5 years old, and will be in use for atleast another 3 seasons. The new chassis will be introduced for 2021 (unless they decide to go for an extension, which is more than likely based on history)

        UNLESS, McLaren makes a really BIG splash, and goes for the tender from 2021 and beyond !

        (JK, Dallara has pretty much already won…they don’t have any real competition anymore in single seaters)

    5. Sadly even if the car is half decent, I think Stoffel may be too good for him next year. Slowly I think we are seeing the regression of Alonso.

        1. Yes, I think alonso still is at a top level for a few more years, if mclaren is at the level of ferrari and mercedes he will fight for the title; I guess they should be similar to red bull and with how close red bull is getting to the other 2 now it’s promising.

      1. you could be right but i think the reason stoffel’s achieving better results is due to alonso being demotivated by the bad car. I think he will beat stoffel vandoorne again next year but vandoorne might be close

    6. Alonso told Nigel Roebuck in this week’s Autosport that the best racing would be F1 drivers in F2 cars. Thanks to crashes and unreliability, F1 hasn’t been quite as predictable this year. It’s never fun to hear the announcers say, “This race will be decided in the first corner.”

      1. That would be fun, they could organize a third F2 race in a race weekend, with F1 drivers in the cars!

    7. Not the Indy500 then – what about Le Mans?

    8. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      20th October 2017, 9:39

      I’d love to see Fernando on a podium next year.

    9. I predict the contract is a multi-year deal but with several performance options which almost guarantee that Alonso can leave at the end of 2018 if he wants to.

      1. You’re right on the money, I think. The way the last three years have gone down, there must be clauses in the new contract. I think McLaren have a few in their favor as well. I would guess that Alonso bad mouthing the team must be toned down a smidge from now on :D

        1. He’s never bad mouthed the team. On the contrary.

    10. Just as long as VER gets a decent car… I won’t miss ALO.

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