McLaren chief Zak Brown has insisted that Fernando Alonso is the first name on the team's list of drivers they would call should they be in a position when they require an emergency driver, saying he "wouldn't hesitate" to call the Spaniard.
After 17 years, Alonso will leave Formula 1 at the end of the 2018 season, having claimed two world championships in his time in the sport.
In the summer, the announcement was made that he would be departing in order to pursue interests in other motorsports. Alonso has not confirmed or denied that he could return, but Brown claims that if McLaren needed someone, they would contact him immediately.
“We certainly wouldn’t hesitate, if we needed a driver that’s not one of our current two, to have Fernando be the first on the speed-dial list,” the McLaren boss told Reuters.
“(Michael) Schumacher came back, (Alain) Prost came back. I wouldn’t rule that out. We’re very happy with our driver lineup for the future — that’s what we are very focused on at this moment — but never say never. He’s certainly driving at the top of his game.”
Brown went on to reveal that Alonso has previously spoken of his aspirations for a management role within the sport, and he expects him to be in and around the paddock in F1 even if it is not as a driver.
"He talks about one of these days having a management shirt,” Brown continued.
“He loves being at racetracks: when he’s not at a Formula 1 track or endurance, you’ll find him at his go-kart track. He can’t stay away from racetracks. He’s still a McLaren driver. We’re doing the Indianapolis 500 together, so I think Fernando has other ways he can influence and help our team.”
Alonso will perform in his last F1 Grand Prix this weekend in Abu Dhabi.
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