Saturday, 10 february 2018, 05:12
McLaren director Zak Brown has insisted that Fernando Alonso will remain 'fresh and focused' on his Formula One duties despite now having commitments in other motorsport disciplines such as Le Mans and Toyota LMP1 as he continues his pursuit of the 'triple crown'.
Alonso is considered by many to be one of the most talented drivers in the history of the sport, but has found success hard to come by in F1 in recent years, having not won the driver's championship since 2006.
He has continually spoken of a desire to try out other motorsport challenges, and now that he will compete in Le Mans and 'The Six Hours of Fuji' he will be involved in 26 race weekends this season.
There has been speculation that the Spaniard could 'burn out', but Brown believes the constant competition will keep his mind 'fresh and focused'.
"I think what would he be doing those weekends otherwise?" Brown said.
"He wouldn’t be testing in a Formula 1 car, he wouldn’t be here on a simulator, there’s only so much he can do. We’ve got everything we need out of him on a Formula 1 front so these are weekends that he’d be in a go-kart or golfing or whatever he wants to do. So he’s just going to be in a Toyota WEC car.
"I’ve never seen anything like it. He races or drives every weekend, half the time under a different name when he’s karting. So he just wants to be in race cars.
"I think it keeps him fresh, it keeps him focused, it’s what he wants to do."
Working for both McLaren and Toyota could present some difficult moments for both teams due to their contrasting commercial commitments, but Brown insists that Alonso is simply 'on loan' from the Woking outfit and will mainly be there to drive.
"Fernando’s effectively restricted to just driving the race car," the McLaren boss continued. "As far as commercial appearances, sponsor commitments, things of that nature, that’s very minimised.
"He’s on loan from us, we came to an arrangement with Toyota to allow him to race the car but not travel the globe having commercial commitments.
"Toyota doesn’t have many sponsors on there so there aren’t any sitting there today that conflict with McLaren but if they do find any partner that’s conflicting with McLaren we couldn’t have Fernando walking around in competing sponsors attire and also he’s a McLaren driver first and foremost and a Formula 1 driver.
"That programme, while he’s going to go there and try and win the championship – because that’s what he does – when you think of Fernando you think of him as a McLaren Formula One driver first and foremost."