Le Mans 24 Hours beckons as Fernando Alonso says ‘there are options everywhere’ beyond F1
McLaren
Posted By: Editor   |  14 Sep 2017   |  2:14 pm GMT  |  49 comments

Fernando Alonso expressed his wish to move to a winning Formula 1 team in 2018 and his continuing motivation to achieve the ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport.

The two-time champion hinted that he may have a Le Mans 24 Hours seat ready for him next year as the endurance race does not clash with an F1 event on 2018’s calendar. His decision hinges on those taken by McLaren, which is expected to announce a 2018 switch to Renault engines this week.

“My priority is Formula 1 and winning here. The triple crown is in the background and as I said there are many races, not only [the Indianapolis 500], so there are many, many possibilities to [have] a fantastic 2018,” said Alonso during the Singapore Grand Prix press conference on Thursday.

“As I said, my plans haven’t changed. I’m waiting for my current team to make their decisions and after that to negotiate wherever the possibilities I have are.

“The triple crown, to win it one day – I think that will put me at a good level as a complete driver who can win in any series at any time,” he added.

WEC Le Mans

Alonso did miss the Monaco GP to compete in the Indy 500 this year, the race in which he led 27 laps but finished 24th due to a late engine failure.

Zak Brown has reportedly told Alonso not to skip the Monaco GP as the McLaren Executive Director expects his team to be far more competitive next year, and Alonso agrees.

“The triple crown is clear target for me in the future and there are a few races there [to complete],” said Alonso.

“One of those is the Indy 500 and together with Monaco as we know. There is another one there to complete. The triple crown is ongoing.

“But yeah I agree with what Zak said – if I remain in F1 it is because I believe I can win next year so that will ease the decision a lot, because I will be in Monaco – I don’t want to lose any points there.

With McLaren’s announcement to use Renault engines due soon, and Toro Rosso’s switch to Honda power units pending, Alonso’s tone was markedly more optimistic. Yet he continued to pile the pressure on McLaren as he maintained his wish to be in a winning car next year.

“As I said, I will think what is the best option, and as I said many times whatever I do next year is because I want to win.

“I will not be around in any series to be fighting for top 10, or top 15 or anything like that.

“There are many options like that which I am studying or looking at and I said Formula 1 is my first and only priority so I will wait to make a decision on that before making a decision on other series.

“At the same time I want to give time to my team after the last three years with so much struggle that we went through together: to have time for them to make decisions, to see the future and the next year’s car.

“After they take decisions I will take mine. I want to stay loyal to that and not make any decisions without them making their decisions.

“So those objectives [to achieve the triple crown] are still there and as I said, for my fans and motorsport lovers, they will have a fantastic 2018 season, so the plan is still going and very good news is coming,” added Alonso.

How do you rate Alonso’s chances of achieving the triple crown? Will the two-time champion be in a winning car next year? Have your say in the comment section below or on our Facebook Page.

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1

Alonso may as well pack in F1 now.
McLaren has left it far too late to shoehorn a Renault powertrain into their chassis for 2018.
Red Bull are struggling to compete against Ferrari never mind Mercedes using Renault power.
On top of that Honda has belatedly saught outside expertese from Ilmor to shake down their engines and get them into race winning condition.
Perfect for Red Bull from 2019.
Disaster for McLaren and Alonso, who yet again finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

2

I think McLaren have the technical resources to do it, and it looks like Renault are giving them all the data they need. It makes sense to me for Renault to want McLaren challenging at the front while they (Renault) may be a bit short still. Alonso is the one and only Renault champion and it would make a nice story for the brand for them to bring him back to competitiveness after Honda did the opposite.

3

I don’t believe the line that Renault will deny supply to RB in 2019. Given they have capacity to supply three teams, where will the third set go? McLaren is a threat to the rise of Renault too. What favours could McLaren have given to be preferred over RB who have sacrificed a driver in the short term? Is Honda paying big time to place their engines with a capable team? Why didn’t McLaren take the money again? McLaren was the beggar in this but on the surface seems to come out on top.

4

Fernando has nothing to prove. He is one of the all time greats already. In a way his bad luck just adds interest to his legend.

5

Virtually impossible to see Alonso winning a championship. He might have options out of F1 but literally none in F1 and maybe has maximum 2 peak years.

McLaren could be better off offering huge paycut to Alonso and put the savings towards car development.

6

When negotiating, I guess a perceived BATNA is better than none, so props to FA for trying. Trouble is, it’s all for naught. F1 is the place, and FA doesn’t have any realistic options there except McLaren. The good news for him, however, is that by ditching Honda for Renault, McLaren has turned all their cards up on the table…and they all say FA! I’m not a betting man, but FA/McLaren is a lock.

7

James is there any chance the renault pu could improve over the winter and do they expect to be closer to ferrari/merc in 2018?

8

I can’t guarantee it, but experience tells you that they will converge year by year yes.

9

I’m a big time admirer of Alonso’s driving abilities so I guess that makes me a fan.
But I have no freakin clue as to what he will do and I wonder if he does. He seems to be delusional in these circumstances.

He says he wants to stay in F1 and I think there is a 90% chance he will.
So he has a couple of decent options in F1 – McLaren or Williams. McLaren is probably the best as Merc won’t let a customer team get a whiff, engine wise whereas Renault seems to be more fair in that respect. But it’s a crapshoot as far as either Williams or Mclaren being much better than the 4th or 5th best team.

He says there are plenty of great options and his fans will be happy with his selection for 2018 as he won’t be fighting for 10th or 15th but for podiums and wins. I think not. Better off than this year for sure but podiums and wins – good luck with that.

If anyone else thinks they know what he will do please enlighten me because I think his options are limited and not that desirable – F1 with the teams I mentioned or Indy (Andretti or Penske). I think his chances would be better in Indy but he wants to stay in F1.

10

I think Renault will give McLaren and Alonso an equal engine to the Renault team, given their successful history together: Alonso is their one and only F1 champion.

11

Alonso & McLaren… too much attention to a lot of “plans”…
Is it like daydreaming all the freaking time?

12

I still think McLaren is screwing up massively by making this change. You have to be a Works team to win championships, no matter how long it takes for the Works partner to come good. With that in mind, McLaren should have had an eye on 2021 and the new engine formula starting then- and the opportunity that is there for Honda to get a jump on the new rules as Mercedes and Ferrari slug it out for the last three years. Red Bull gets to let Honda develop the engine in a low pressure environment at the junior team, get it to a positon of respectability before supplying the senior team, and then prepare to do what Mercedes did in 2021 to get a big jump and dominate from the get-go.

McLaren may be hoping that either they will have the resources to build their own engines (from where, I don’t know) or that someone like Porsche comes in as a potential Works partner, because as of now they have condemned themselves to the head of the midfield for the forseeable future by becoming a Renault customer.

Of course, the chassis may really be good enough to surprise us, and we could all be wrong.

13

McLaren risks being captive to the ambitions of Fernando Alonso and I have no doubt that he would stab them in the back if Ferrari or Mercedes called him in 2019. McLaren should just bite the bullet and move on. They have a new engine, contract and they should concentrate on rebuilding their driver stable for the future. Pending a miracle of biblical proportions, there is no way McLaren is going to win a race or the championship in 2018. It is too far behind Red Bull and the works Renault in the engine department and it normally takes a year to understand how the power train works within the rest of the system. Finally, McLaren must have lost some talent during the 4 year slump, so it will have to prove it self again to the F1 technical elite all over again.

14

I don’t think this is the gamble that it seems. If the Toro Rosso year with Honda doesn’t produce any results I think they will pressure Honda to end their ill-fated attempts to produce engines for these regulations. This will allow the Red Bull fold to pick their engines as there will already be 2x Renault Teams, 3x Ferrari and 3xMercedes teams. The rules guarentee them a engine supply – Renault again for Toro Rosso and then either Ferrari or Merc power units for the main team. Lets be honest at somepoint it just doesnt make sense for Honda to continue to pour money into this PR disaster.

Option B is selling Toro Rosso which is a huge expense now they are limted in the parts they can share between the teams. If Honda want to stay they can buy Toro Rosso and run it as a factory effort for the right price. Would make the main Red Bull teams engine situation more of a problem but they could probably spin it to retain a Renault deal.

I expect noises to appear all year that the Renault is out performing the junior teams Honda and what a good job their doing to repair the burnt bridges, assuming Honda don’t pull a rabbit out of the hat.

The cancellation of engines for 2019 suits both parties well as Renault will want to limit the data they send too Red Bull about future developments as they will have Honda staff sniffing around. Red Bull have put their feet in two engine camps here not thrown their lot in with Honda as it first appears.

15

Oh no, Alonso is putting too much pressure on himself by wanting to win the triple crown, because there is a likelihood he may not win it thus ending up disappointed.

I think it would have been much better if he said he was participating in other forms of motorsport as a bit of some fun and if he were to win it then that would be considered as a unexpected bonus.

As for Mclaren, the Renault partnership is the only realistic option available on the table after going through trying times with Honda

I guess the team will be targeting podiums and the occasional win as a short term goal with the long time goal being Mclaren producing their own engines from 2021 onwards because Ron Dennis told the team that nobody can win the titles as a customer.

Overall, Mclaren still need Alonso for 2018 because with a competitive fight for the podium places, his good racecraft will come in handy thus helping the team score good constructor’s points

16

There are just too many unknowns here. Mclaren are in possession of more data than anyone and they have decided to pull the plug on Honda. Considering the enormity of what they are doing then surely they have the courage and conviction that what they are doing is best for them! Red Bull are a switched on group of people who are not known for their unwillingness to take a gamble. There must be a plethora of variables that have been put to the test and the decisions they have taken will have been considered and cover all contingencies that they see over the next three years. To try and second guess what the outcome is likely to be is fraught with variations too numerous to ponder. What will be will be and i just hope that out of all this we get to see some spirited and competitive racing this year and next. I do happen to think that ’18 will still be a Mercedes flush once more.

17

Good post!

18

We all know how this goes…McLaren and Fernando parts ways with Honda so…I predict many Red Bull victories in 2019-20 with Honda power…

19

You think he is a jinx to himself and his team, whichever one it is at the time? What ever should make you believe that?

20

Looks like Red Bull have been told that they wont be using Renault engines after next year as well. Clearly La Régie didn’t read the script of Red Bull’s masterplan to use Renault until Honda become competitive and then ditch them…

21

I think that will be long enough for Honda to become somewhat competitive. They have surely discovered all the wrong ways to do things and by now must have only the right ways left to choose from!

22

You have a lot more faith that I have. As this year showed performance from year to year can go up as well as down…

23

AndrewM, revenge for Horner’s ill advised insults over the last couple of years?

24

Just Alonso stirring the pot.
Getting abit of Angst going in Zak Browns under crackers.
Alonso needs F1.
LeMan is one race.
The LeMan championship is okay to dip in and out of. You only watch the whole 6 hours when your hungover 🙂.
He will stay with Mclaren. Williams can’t afford him. Williams will pick someone young bit Kubica (that’ll be dangerous to the team and the other drivers. Kubica has had his day in the Sun…it’s over move on ).
Alonso will be drifting from one team to another.
Mercedes don’t want him after he blabbed.
Ferrari can’t have him or Vettel will cry.
Red Bull like em young (sorry that came out wrong..but you catch my drift).

25

With Alonso’s luck of late, he will arrive at LeMans driving the latest Honda prototype, and we know how that ends.

26

I honestly don’t understand Mclaren’s plan here. Keeping in mind none of this is official, Mclaren will use Renault engines till 2021. They’ve helped get Toro Rosso Honda engines, and now the new word is that Renault have told Red Bull they will no longer supply them with engines from 2019.

To me this leaves Red Bull with far more options than Mclaren. Red Bull could negotiate with Ferrari or Mercedes, two far better engines, and if that fails they’ll still have Honda, who in their fifth year will likely be doing a better job. I don’t believe Mclaren are anywhere near Red Bulls level, so it seems like they’ve opened the door to a stronger competitor. Have Mclaren so much confidence that Honda will not be able to compete at all?

27

I think Honda may get to being somewhat competitive by 2019 given that TR can be the development platform.

28

Ferrari or Merc won’t give their engines to their rivals…did mclaren get merc engine? ask yourself why not?
Honda’s are rubbish maybe they will get better when the aliens arrive but does mclaren have anymore time left being the back marker team for the last three years…how do you justify funding such an expensive f1 campaign. the whole team will be destroyed if they keep performing like this…they have given enough time to improve and results are nowhere to be seen. Which seems to me that honda don’t have the technical knowhow to make an f1 engine.

29

RB will force Mario Illien on Honda and from half 2018 they will be reliable and in 2019 pass Renault.

30

Cheesypoof. Apparently McLaren will build there own engine when the new regs come in for 2021. Three year stop gap deal with Renault, then go it alone. Matches up well with the road car business if they can do their own thing as well.

31

do you think they’d do better than honda after 2020?

32

Renault is a short term plan until the new engine regulations come along and by then they can decide if they want to continue or go with a different option. With other potential engine suppliers like Porsche coming on board you can imagine that RB and McLaren will be scrambling for their engines. I also think that it would be good for McLaren in the long run that they build their own engines and they’ve confirmed that they are exploring that option especially if the new regulations will be relevant for their road cars.

33

Weren’t Aston Martin said to be dipping their toes in the field too not long ago? Also as a potential buyout to RB?

34

if mclaren want to win, they should convince bmw to return as engine suppliers.

35

Really? Can’t see Merc or Ferrari ever giving RB engines. Far too dangerous.

36

Kinda wimpy, isn’t it?

37

You always have to ask what would be a benefit. What would be a benefit for Ferrari or Mercedes to provide engines to RB? It doesn’t make sense from a business perspective and you have to remember these are big corporations where business aspects matter.

38

It’s beyond wimpy, it’s pure fear and is a clear example of what is wrong with the engine supply framework.

39

Laguna, its a competition. Why should Ferrari or Mercedes help a rival who has never helped them? F1 is a tough business, if Red Bull want an engine, they should either make their own or get someone new to supply them.

40

That is exactly the problem with the engine supply framework TimW. To solve it there needs to be engine suppliers that are independent of manufacturers. Like Cosworth used to be. I would also suggest the manufacturer teams only be allowed to supply themselves with engines. That way you get no nobbling of competitors with inferior engines.

42

McLaren want out of an engine supplier that’s been under performing for 3 years. They want stability with the best engine they can actually get, and that’s Renault not Merc or Ferrari.

Red Bull don’t have Merc or Ferrari as options in 2019, there’s no chance they’ll get an engine from them, way too dangerous to the factory teams.

They have either to hope Honda step up, or to go begging again to Renault in 2019 to extend. No new manufacturer will come in until the new engine regs, so Red Bull have the bigger gamble. I can see them being completely stuck for a decent engine and withdrawing after their agreement signed with Bernie runs out, and they have no exit penalties to pay.

43

PaulD I agree with what you say, if McLaren want to be in control of their destiny they should build their own engine then there in nobody else to blame or to give credit to. However that is very expensive with these regulations and even if the engines are simplified it will be a costly exercise. With Red Bull they had Ferrari engines and gave them away to go to Renault, since then they have been rubbishing the Renault brand at every opportunity even when they were winning. If I were Ferrari or Mercedes I too would not want to supply a team that’s going to rubbish you when things go wrong. You reap what you sow.

44

1. For all intents and purposes, no team has won the championship without being the manufacturer team….

2. Why would Ferrari or Mercedes supply Redbull?

45

Er.. Williams, Benetton, McLaren, Red Bull none are manufacturers but have won the title.
Why would Merc supply Red Bull? Well only if you believe EJ and Merc plan to sell the team and become an engine supplier then yes but I can think of no other reason.

46
Warren Groenewald

Just to draw your attention to a couple recent examples, Brawn GP 2009 & Red Bull in 2010.

47

There are rules in place that assures a team of an engine from the manufacturers. Mclaren made their decision very late. Ferrari and Mercedes could say Red Bull have the Honda option but if Red Bull can somehow remove the Honda option then one of the other manufacturers has to provide.

48

Agree but they have to remove the Honda option. How they do that is beyond me.. we live in interesting times

49

I thought this rule is no longer applicable in F1 since Honda is now a viable supply option for all teams and they currently only supply one team.

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