Wednesday, 16 may 2018, 13:34 , by Matthew Scott
Fernando Alonso will not discuss his future with McLaren until the middle of the season, team CEO Zak Brown says. The two-time world champion's deal expires at the end of 2018 and he refused to commit his future to Formula 1 at the recent Spanish Grand Prix.
Alonso's decision to leave Ferrari for McLaren in 2015 has sent the veteran backwards, falling from the fight for victories to often midfield at best.
The switch from Honda to Renault power units has given the team greater reliability in 2018, but outright pace still eludes them and Alonso's fifth-place finish in Australia is their best result of the season.
Running alongside all of this is Alonso's packed 2018 schedule as he takes on a full season in the World Endurance Championship as well as his F1 commitments - a chance to secure his second leg of the 'Triple Crown' at the Le Mans 24 Hours is a key target for Alonso this year.
Brown remains hopeful that Alonso will commit to McLaren, but says talks will not start until the team has a better idea of where they stand in the fight for honours.
"We want him to continue here for many years and we want him to continue at McLaren," Brown told AS.
"Formula 1 is his passion, but he's been doing it a long time and he's achieved everything. So we'll see.
"But he loves McLaren, the work we do, everything. I don't think he was this happy at another team.
"We'll sit down in the middle of the year and see. He will see how the car develops and the further improvements we are going to bring.
"I think Fernando's heart is in Formula 1 and at McLaren. He wants to win."
Alonso is one of only three drivers to have scored points in all five races this year, alongside Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, while he is the only driver on the grid to have outqualified his team-mate at every event in 2018, having beaten Stoffel Vandoorne every Saturday so far.