Fernando Alonso will become a racing ambassador for McLaren, a role that the team says will see the double world champion test their Formula 1 cars for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Alonso had been linked with a pre-season run in the MCL34, but it appears he will instead take part in a mid-season test.
Alonso had two spells with McLaren in his F1 career before retiring from the sport at the end of last year amid the Woking team's continued struggles to return to their former glories.
He has remained under the McLaren umbrella, however, and will race with the team at this year's Indianapolis 500 as he goes in search of the 'Triple Crown' by adding a brickyard win to his victories at the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours.
Alonso has even been linked with a return to F1 if McLaren can deliver a suitable car, and it is now confirmed that the veteran will play a role in developing that machine.
Alonso said: “Becoming a McLaren ambassador is a true honour. It is a special team, and despite the challenges we have endured recently, it remains so. I said before I stopped racing in Formula 1 last year that I see myself with McLaren for a long-time to come, so I am delighted at this new role and the ability to stay closely involved with the team I feel is my spiritual home.
“We have the Indianapolis 500 in May of course, which I am looking forward to immensely, but this is just the beginning of many things we can do together.
“I am particularly passionate about nurturing young talent, whether that’s with my own team or helping the new generation of Formula 1 drivers at McLaren unlock their true potential. This is important to both the team and myself, so will be an especially rewarding part of my role.”