Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Monza, 2019

McLaren rule out bringing Alonso back to F1

2019 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso will not return to Formula 1 with McLaren, the team has confirmed.

The two-times world champion stepped down from his race seat at the end of last season but tested their current car in Bahrain earlier this year. Alonso has yet to confirm his plans for 2020, beyond an appearance in the Dakar rally, and McLaren has already confirmed Carlos Sainz Jnr and Lando Norris as its F1 drivers again for next season.

The introduction of sweeping new rules for the 2021 F1 season could have offered an opportunity for Alonso to return. However when asked by RaceFans whether McLaren intends to offer Alonso an F1 drive again, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said: “No.”

Alonso’s current contract with the team expires at the end of this year. However Brown said the team could offer Alonso a role in its other racing activities.

“At the end of the this year we’ll have a conversation about what the future may or may not look like. We’ve got an IndyCar team now. We continue to look at WEC. We’ve got Mika Hakkinen on a long-term contract as an ambassador.

“So I think we’ll sit down with Fernando at the end of the year and just talk about what does he want to do moving forward, what do we want to do moving forward and is there something there that working together makes make sense?”

Brown said he’s keen to keep Alonso as part of McLaren. “I think he’s an immense talent,” he said.

“Obviously, I’ve got a really good relationship with him and I think with the different racing activities that we’re doing, if there is something that we have that makes sense, to put Fernando in a car, I still think he is one of the fastest drivers in the world.

“We’re set with our direction on Formula 1 with our current drivers. But depending on what our other activities are, very open minded to continuing a relationship with Fernando.”

McLaren has already confirmed its two full-time IndyCar drivers for next year. However the team has raised the possibility of running an extra car at the Indianapolis 500, a race Alonso is keen to win.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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 “McLaren rule out bringing Alonso back to F1”

  1. Either way, I’m not sure Alonso was ever going to return anyways. He stated that he would return if the competition was close and the gaps between cars was small, which is definitely not going to be the case for 2021. The top 3 teams know that the budget cap will be enforced from the start of 2021, so they are going to probably invest considerably extra in 2020 to get a head-start on the new regulations. If you can start the 2021 regulations ahead of the opposition, you can lock in an advantage, like we saw in 2014 or 2017. Moreover, I see no potential race-winning seat opening up for Alonso. The only seat he will probably have a shot at is Alfa Romeo in place of Kimi Raikkonen, but what would be the point of joining a midfield squad that probably won’t really move up the grid in the next few years?

    1. McLaren is one of the big spenders, and with its talented staff and future PU have no excuse to be a backmarker.
      I only wish they would leave running the team to Seidl, including the interviews.

      1. Assuming all goes perfect for McLaren I still won’t see them in contention for wins, they’re using Mercedes engines… Mercedes won’t be keen on supplying a car that’s taking victories away from them.

        1. They’ll have to provide the same spec, so tough on them!

        2. Doubt they care too much, money is money (to offset their own costs) and a PU developer position gives them more power and leverage on the sport since there aren’t many others.

          Besides it hasn’t done Williams any good……

  2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    2nd November 2019, 8:31

    I realize that a lot of F1 fans hold Alonso dear to their hearts, but I really wish they’d stop holding F1 hostage, and we’d be able to move into the post-Alonso era, where every struggling driver isn’t being rumored to be replaced by Alonso.

    1. Have to admit, even though I wouldn’t mind Alonso returning, I felt that reading the headline! How many more years/decades of this rumour? You can imagine in 100 years time: ‘McLaren rule out bringing Alonso back from the dead to F1. Alonso’s medium says he’s still considering 47th Indy 500 attempt.’

      1. X10, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop covering this non story!

        Alonso just isn’t that into you! Your embarassing yourself and our sport!

  3. OMG. Now we’ll have an ugly all out war for him between merc and Ferrari and doubtless RB won’t want to miss out.

    Seriously, though: Williams?

    1. Good one Islander

  4. Its a sad day for f1 when drivers like Alonso don’t have a competitive seat while drivers like Vettel are sitting in race winning cars

    1. *championship winning cars

    2. Well, one of them won 4 titles in 12 seasons. The other one won 2 titles in 17 and couldn’t even get into Indy 500 (not entirely his fault but not blameless).

      Both drove for Ferrari for 4 years.

      1. Context mate, not just stats. ALO could/would have been 5 time world champion by 2012 if he didn’t hold up HAM at hungaroring 2007, Ferrari didn’t pit him to cover Webber at Abu Dhabi 2010, and he wasn’t spun out at Suzuka in 2012.

  5. It’s a good day for F1 , hope he stays away from the races too, aren’t Uber and Lyft short of drivers Barcelona?
    Obviously he doesn’t want to be embarrassed by kids half his age in IndyCar (although I’d love to see it).

    1. Uber’s currently suspended in Barcelona, so he won’t even be able to get a seat there.

  6. *In Barcelona

  7. Give Alonso a proper car and he will win
    The problem is not Alonso
    The problem is there are not enough competitive cars
    F1 is becoming sow predictable

  8. It’s a mystery to me why he didn’t grab one of the IndyCar seats, which I’m sure was offered to him. If he’s serious about winning the 500, running a full time schedule would help him immensely.

    It’s a waste of time doing Dakar (blah, blah, blah) and other things in the mean time to keep busy. Maybe McLaren can run three cars full time for the IndyCar season???

  9. I watched some of those IndyLite races last year, sadly the fields were small but the racing was intense, particularly between Michael’s 4 team mates. (Apparently MA is upset that more team owners aren’t fielding Lite teams)
    IMO McLaren have picked two excellent drivers, young talented and hungry, good luck to them I say.

  10. Good. Unfortunately, his timing was off and his tenure at McLaren was basically fruitless.

    Lando and Sainz are a great pairing fit for 2021 if things go the way they’ve been going

  11. Alonso left the door open, but it is clear that he is only coming back in a ‘Prost-93’ manner. The car to the WDC there waiting for him to cruise unchallenged. Why would he come back to Mclaren? To be happy to finish best of the rest? I’m sure this is great for Lando Norris, but not for a guy in his late 30s.

    No even a win capable car is would make him comeback. And Mclaren is still far from that.

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