After months of speculation, McLaren has confirmed Fernando Alonso will continue to drive for the team next season. The news comes ahead of this weekend’s US Grand Prix and will no doubt relieve fans of the Spaniard.
Alonso suggests the new deal is more of a “long term partnership”, even going on to say he’d be happy to finish his career with McLaren. The Spaniard has had an interesting time with the outfit up until now. Earlier this year, Alonso participated in the Indy 500 race and did surprisingly well. As you may have guessed, his efforts were undone by an engine failure.
It’s been no secret that McLaren has struggled since re-aligning itself with Honda. The partnership has yielded more disastrous results than those of genuine benefit. Since then, the car has matured a bit and has netted the team some surprising results.
Notable among them is Alonso claiming the fastest lap at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Despite this, the team’s struggles with Honda’s engine haven’t gone unnoticed. While Sauber announced it would be switching to Honda power for the 2018 season, the decision was soon flipped. McLaren would follow suit after three years, bringing an end to its relationship as well.
Beginning next year, McLaren will be running with Renault power. Alonso is no stranger to Renault as that’s what drove him to both world championship wins in 2005 and 2006. The two-time champion believes the new engine deal will be integral to the team’s success, insisting the team has “never forgotten how to win.”
His confidence in the new powerplant is not without merit as Red Bull demonstrates time and again. The Milton Keynes team has remained a consistent threat in the face of Mercedes’ and Ferrari’s dominant ways. Should things not go up in smoke, we may be on the verge of seeing Alonso and Vandoorne fighting for podiums in 2018.