Lights Out: McLaren near begging point with Alonso

Thursday, 17 may 2018, 04:30 , by Matthew Scott

While much of the forecasting of the make-up of the 2019 grid has focused on Daniel Ricciardo's movements and whether Valtteri Bottas or Kimi Raikkonen can hold on at Mercedes and Ferrari respectively, could the real story be developing just behind them, with Fernando Alonso at McLaren?

Like Ricciardo, Bottas and Raikkonen, Alonso too is out of contract at the end of the year - a year in which he has added a full calendar in the World Endurance Championship to the intense globe-hopping of Formula 1.

The two-time world champion's passion for motorsport is clearly undimmed, for proof just look at his jubilant celebrations as he won the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on his WEC debut recently.

It was particularly interesting, just five days later, to hear Alonso speak of his "sadness" at F1's modern-day predictability, in which McLaren remain firmly outside of the conversation for major honours at any weekend, despite their more powerful and more reliable power units.

Alonso's importance to McLaren is clear. Only title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel can match his record of scoring points in every race so far this year, while Stoffel Vandoorne's promise appears to be fading.

The Belgian has been beaten in qualifying and raceday at all five grands prix this year in what is already F1's most one-sided intra-team battle.

Team boss Zak Brown is a shrewd mover, indulging Alonso's 'Triple Crown' ambitions by letting him combine F1 duties with trips to the Indianapolis 500 and now a WEC season in which he will have two stabs at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

But talks over keeping the Spaniard in the team will not start until the middle of the season, a point which Alonso has previously said he expects to be challenging for podiums.

Brown's charm offensive has kicked up a gear since Alonso's press conference in Barcelona, but it is the mechanics and engineers who will be crucial in keeping him not only in the team, but possibly in the sport altogether.

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Comments (11)

  • Anet Kotze
    Give him a better car, BECAUSE we want Alonso to stay in F1 for a few more years, can not effort to loose his ability and skills in the racing world and F1 is the top of all racing he should be competing in F1 and other classes as a extra choice
  • Mike Collada
    Wouldn't be surprised to see Grosjean out at Haas and Alonso come in. I know they have denied the rumors, but usually where there's smoke there's fire!
  • Michael Haskey
    Mclaren have plenty of other problems to try to deal with. Stoffle is not doing so well as the team are focusing on keeping Alonso happy.
  • Tiago Schwingel
    I would like to see Alonso replace Bottas at Mercedes and Ricciardo replace Raikkonen at Ferrari! And no team orders!!!!
  • Vernon Naicker
    Sad the way his career has gone ... it's over for him because he's been up and down the pitlane ....
  • Eduardo Aparicio
    If McLaren continues to be junk like it is, he better change teams or go to WEC
  • Christopher Thiesen
    Let him go. His good days are behind him !!!
  • Gabriel Andrisan
    he should go back to ferrari
  • Fernando Oliveira
    I do not care.

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