Tuesday , June 22 2021

McLaren will keep Alonso on speed dial, says Brown

McLaren says he will not hesitate to look for his services if needed.

21 October 2018; Austin, United States of America, USA; McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, 14, from Spain, drives a driver's parade ahead of the US Grand Prix on America's track. Compulsory credit: Jerome Miron-USA DENES Sports

The double world champion did not rule out the possibility of a return, admitting he is unlikely at 37, but team boss Zack Brown told Reuters on Wednesday that the Spaniard would be the first driver he called if there was a problem.

"We certainly will not hesitate if we need a driver who is not one of our current two, to get Fernando first on the speed dial list," he said.

"(Michael) Schumacher returned, (Allen) Prost returned. I would not reject it. We are very happy with our driving line for the future – that's what we are very focused on at this moment – but they never say .

"He certainly drives at the top of his game."

Jenson Button, the world champion in 2009 who left McLaren at the end of 2016, made a one-off return to the Grand Prix in Monaco next year, when Alonso had no races at Indianapolis 500.

Belgian Stephens Vandorn also had his debut in 2016, when Alonso was injured in Australia and dropped out of the race in Bahrain.

McLaren has a new line for 2019, while Spaniard Carlos Sainz joined Renault and British teenager Lando Norris, who withdrew from the backup role.

Alonso's two-time winner will continue at the World Driving Championship with Toyota after winning Le Mans 24 hours this year, and with McLaren again in India 500 while chasing the "Triple Motorsport".

Brown said Alonso will certainly attend some Formula One races next year and eventually did not rule out a new role for him.

"He talks about one of these days with a managerial shirt," the American said. "He wants to be on racing tracks: when he is not on Formula One or durability, you will find him on the track for movement. He can not stay away from the track.

"He's still McLaren's driver, we're doing Indianapolis 500 together, so I think Fernando has other ways that he can influence and help our team."


Brown welcomed the Spaniard as one of the greatest in his era and one who could win much more championships than his two with Renault.

The week of the race in I Marina, he said, will be emotional, if something disappointed.

"It's a shame that will not come up with a chance for victory or podiums – it's probably disappointing for all of us, because he is leading the best of anything ever," the American said.

"This weekend I'm sure it will be difficult even to enter points."

Former champion McLaren is sixth in the constructors' position with 62 points, and 50 of them scored by Alonso, who last won a grand prix with Ferrari in 2013 and has not reached the podium since 2014. "

"Unfortunately, given his long career, he won only two titles. If he was in real cars during this 17-year career, he could be in the same place as Lewis (Hamilton) and Michael (Schumacher) with five , six and seven, "Brown said.

Alonso will certainly win a third title in 2007 when McLaren favors his teammate Hamilton, who finished the season at the top, while Kimi Raikkonen scored another.

Hamilton then won the title in 2008, while Alonso returns to Renault before joining Ferrari in 2010 – the year in which he led the championship in the final race in Abu Dhabi before crashing down his hopes.

The return to McLaren, unthinkable after the bitterness of 2007, came in 2015, but also coincided with the toughest form of the team and the final breakdown partnership with Honda that ended last year.


Ferrari also did not win the title driver from Raikkonen.

"His stats are unlikely to be short of his huge talent," Brown said, refusing to talk about the Spaniard's involuntary influence and emphasizing his intensity and hard work behind the scenes.

"We are aware of the stories over the years, but from my perspective, he is a speedy driver of racing cars who wants the best equipment and the best of the people and does not accept anything less than perfection.

"He has the pleasure of working."

Report by Alan Baldwin, editing by Neville Dalton

Our standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principle.

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