Formula One driver Fernando Alonso has put an end to the uncertainty by extending his contract with McLaren to the 2018 season.
The two-time F1 champion’s current three-year contract ends this year and the 36-year-old Alonso was considering his options with other teams, and even whether to continue in F1. Alonso, who won the title in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, said “it’s fantastic to be able to continue my relationship with everybody at McLaren” and that “my heart was telling me to stay.”
The Spaniard’s decision to stay for an additional year comes on the back of McLaren’s recent decision to ditch Honda engines next year and switch to Renault.
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Alonso re-joined McLaren from Ferrari in 2015 in the hope of winning a third world title but has so far failed to finish on the podium, let alone win a race, following three seasons of struggle with a Honda power unit he complained had “no reliability and no power”.
Alonso will now hope that the switch to Renault power, with which he won his two world championships in 2005 and 2006, will return him to the front of the field and potentially deliver the third title he craves. Like Alonso, McLaren executive director Zak Brown is adamant that the team can start winning again very soon.
“We head into 2018 feeling increasingly confident that we’ll be able to take a meaningful step forward,” said Brown.
“With Fernando, there is no doubt that we have a driver who can help us achieve our goal of winning again in F1.”
McLaren last won a race in November 2012, with the team’s most recent championship achieved with Lewis Hamilton nine years ago.