Alonso could test McLaren’s 2019 entrant

Date published: November 23 2018

McLaren boss Zak Brown has said that there is a chance of Fernando Alonso getting behind the wheel of the 2019 car at some point.

The two-time World Champion is calling time on his Formula 1 career (for now…) as he goes in search of the infamous Triple Crown.

Brown believes that the Woking-based outfit will have a hard time keeping the Spaniard away from the papaya machine.

“Fernando is extremely intelligent and extremely experienced, loves Formula 1, loves racetracks, if he’s not at a World Endurance race or Formula 1 race, he’s at an IndyCar race or he’s at his go-kart track,” Brown admitted.

“So I think you’ll see him around McLaren, he remains part of the family, and where his influence will come in is helping our two drivers, he knows Carlos pretty well, he’s gotten to know Lando very well, so he’ll be a big benefit there.

“And then with the engineers and just helping us all work together to understand what next year’s car is doing, what the feedback is from the drivers, and what would Fernando do in a certain situation, that experience will be very valuable to us.”

Brown also admitted that he “wouldn’t rule that out” when it came to Alonso testing the 2019 car at some point.

“If he wants to test the car, we’re certainly open-minded to that, getting his feedback on the car,” the American said.

“[We’ll] kind of cross that bridge when you come to it, if he were to make that phone call.”

Even if the Spaniard does not return to the cockpit of an F1 car, he will stay with McLaren through his other ventures in motorsport.

“We’re doing Indianapolis together, we’d like him to be part of our racing programme because we’re also reviewing other forms of motorsport, which has been widely noted – World Endurance, a full season of IndyCar – and he’s certainly not done driving,” McLaren’s team boss added.

“So yeah, we’re working through what a longer-term relationship can look like.”

Brown also spoke about James Key, the former Toro Rosso technical director, who was signed by McLaren in July.

However, the junior Red Bull team would not allow him to leave early, meaning Key has been on ‘gardening leave’ since then.

However, Brown is confident that he will have his man on his team come the start of the 2019 season.

“James will be with us next year,” Brown said confidently, suggesting that a deal with Toro Rosso had been reached.

“Obviously we’ve recruited him cause we think he’s immensely talented.

“We’re excited for him to start, but he’s had no input or communication as it relates to the 2019 car.

“Pat Fry and Andrea Stella and the whole design team are working really well together.

“This is part of a recovery journey, and with that is getting the right people in place and that doesn’t happen overnight.”

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