Fernando Alonso revealed he will speak to McLaren about driving in other series in 2018, as he looks to continue his bid for the Triple Crown
Fernando Alonso says he wants to race outside of Formula 1 on “two or three” weekends in 2018 and is waiting to talk to McLaren about the possibilities.
The Spaniard’s new contract includes a provision for him to compete in non-F1 events, with speculation mounting that Alonso could take part in the Le Mans 24 Hours after ruling out another crack at the Indianapolis 500.
But Alonso insists he is keen to race as much as possible next season, even though he is expecting a more competitive F1 campaign in a Renault-powered McLaren, and is open to multiple racing series.
“For me, I would race every weekend in any car in any country,” Alonso told Sky Sports F1 at the United States GP.
“Obviously that would be difficult for McLaren to allow me to race every weekend, but I think two or three weekends on the year [I will race] in a different series.
“So at the right time I will speak with the team and we’ll see what happens.”
McLaren announce the news of Alonso's contract extension with a video from their base in Woking of their workers learning Spanish
Alonso’s comments appear to suggest his motorsport goals branch outside a career ‘Triple Crown’ – winning Le Mans, the Indy 500 and the Monaco GP, which he first won in 2006.
He is reportedly set to feature in the Daytona 24 hours race with United Motorsport in January 2018.
McLaren director Zak Brown, who organised Alonso’s Indy attempt this year, has already stated that while there isn’t a ‘Le Mans clause’ in his star driver’s deal, the team would discuss his 2018 opportunities.
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“If Fernando would like to do some additional racing that doesn’t compromise our Formula 1 efforts then we’ll be open to that conversation and flexible,” Brown told reporters.
McLaren chassis to deliver in 2018?
McLaren have endured a nightmare 2017 campaign with Honda, in which they have been hamstrung by a lack of power and reliability.
But Alonso is adamant that now the team have ditched their much-maligned engine partners in favour of a new Renault partnership, the potential of the McLaren chassis will finally be unlocked.
“I think this year we’ve really progressed and developed the car in the right way and the right direction,” said Alonso.
“Sometimes we’ve had difficulties to see the results from the wind tunnel on the track but this year, every part we’ve put on the car is delivering what we expect.
“Definitely that gives us confidence for next year. All the stuff currently in the wind tunnel, we have to have the trust that it will deliver next winter when we put it on the track.”
The engine deal also convinced Alonso that McLaren was where he needed to be in 2018 as he strives to compete for a third world title.
“I had this feeling inside that we were doing everything right on the chassis part,” the 36-year-old added. “We have all the data analysis, where we lose at which part of the corners – high speed, low speed, straights.
“If we put some other power unit on our chassis, we know what we can do, and I think that’s probably the best news I had and what convinced me [to stay].”
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