home icon / F1 News, Reports and Results / Alonso 'wants to remain loyal' to McLaren

Alonso 'wants to remain loyal' to McLaren

McLaren Honda Split Terminate Renault
© XPB 

Fernando Alonso says that he stills feels loyal to McLaren, and that he's very optimistic about how the teams' current engine situation will turn out.

"I want to be loyal to the team," he told Spain's Antena 3 broadcaster on Monday. "I'll give them a chance. We have shared very hard times together.

"I feel part of the team and I think they deserve it," he added.

McLaren has endured a miserable few seasons since partnering up with engine manufacturer Honda at the start of 2015. Poor reliability and lack of power have left Alonso increasingly frustrated on the grid.

Alonso is a free agent at the end of this season. The team want to keep him, but much depends on whether they can offer a package capable of winning races in 2018. Much of that comes down to whose power unit they have in the back of the car.

"McLaren is in a difficult situation because for three years it has been very uncompetitive," said the two-time former world champion.

"I think three years of not being competitive is the limit for a team like McLaren, one of the best in F1 history," he pointed out. "Starting next year, I think it's going to change.

"I don't know what will happen, but I'm very optimistic.

"One option is to change the engine. I will wait for their decision before taking mine," he continued. "When they decide and they know the package they will have, I will make a decision."

McLaren executive director Zak Brown said at the weekend that a decision about an engine supplier could be made as early as this week. The sticking point is that only viable alternative to Honda engines is Renault - and they're already supplying three partner teams in 2018.

It's understood that talks in recent days have been focussed on getting Toro Rosso to agree to back out of their new deal with Renault. That would make room for McLaren, while Toro Rosso would take over their arrangement with Honda.

"The ideal scenario is where everyone is smiling at the end," said Brown. "But to get there Toro Rosso has to play along."

"We are ready," Renault advisor Alain Prost told Germany's Bild newspaper. "But first, Toro Rosso, McLaren and Honda have to agree."

"The situation is complicated because it's not just about McLaren," added McLaren racing director Eric Boullier. "We also need to consider what is best for the whole of Formula 1. All parties to the negotiations understand this.

"I cannot tell you any more about it," he concluded.

Honda's Yusuke Hasegawa still hopes to persuade McLaren to stay with them in 2018. "I'm still trying to make good performance to convince them. But I'm not sure it will be enough," he admitted.

Red Bull's Christian Horner revealed this weekend that his team could veto any Renault deal with McLaren. However, he said that it was unlikely they would do so.

"It was something that went into the contract 10 years ago," he said. "Theoretically we could do, [but] we’d be happy for them to get Renault engines."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter