As widely expected, Fernando Alonso will be racing in Formula 1 next season, having extended his contract with McLaren for 2018.
The Spaniard has endured a difficult time with the Woking-based outfit on the back of Honda’s inability to deliver a reliable and performing engine since 2015.
Alonso’s winless three-year period prompted many to believe the two-time world champion would move on to greener pastures, and perhaps seek refuge in the IndyCar series following his impressive debut in the Indy 500 back in May.
However, McLaren’s decision to terminate its partnership with Honda and work with Renault from 2018 likely offered a compelling reason for Alonso to extend his stay at Woking.
“It’s fantastic to be able to continue my relationship with everybody at McLaren,” Alonso says in the team’s official release.
“It was always where my heart was telling me to stay, and I really feel at home here. This is a fantastic team, full of incredible people, with a warmth and friendliness that I’ve never experienced elsewhere in Formula 1. I’m incredibly happy to be racing here.
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“Just as important, McLaren has the technical resource and financial strength to be able to very quickly win races and world championships in F1. 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.
“The last three years have given us the momentum to plan and build for the future, and I’m looking forward to that journey.
“I’m excited for our future together – and I’m already working hard to make it a success.”
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Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group, said:
“I’m delighted to be able to confirm that Fernando will remain at McLaren. He has been a fantastic asset to the whole organisation for the past three years, is an incredible individual and is one of the most accomplished and talented racing drivers of the modern era.
“It always made sense for us to continue our journey together.
“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. Fernando fully understands and buys in to the direction we are taking.
“Our shareholders have ambitious plans for the whole Group, and success within Formula 1 is a central pillar of that strategy. With Fernando, there is no doubt that we have a driver who can help us achieve our goal of winning again in F1 – and, believe me, we are all keen to do that.”
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