It looks like McLaren will no longer have to find a new driver for next year's Formula 1 calendar as Fernando Alonso has agreed to stay with the Woking-based team for the 2018 season.
Last June, the 36-year old Spaniard voiced out his frustrations with McLaren-Honda due to powertrain problems that hounded his race car. This resulted in Alonso of being non-competitive in majority of the races this year. What's worse is that Alonso's car sometimes failed to start or failed to finish the race entirely. This prompted Alonso to state that his future with the racing team proved to be uncertain and even on to say that he plans on leaving if things don't change.
But with McLaren switching to Renault to source its power units for next year's racing calendar, the Spaniard has finally decided to stay with McLaren. This puts the final nail in the coffin of rumors that Alonso was planning to switch teams for 2018.
With it, McLaren's driver lineup for 2018 will consist of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso.
“It’s fantastic to be able to continue my relationship with everybody at McLaren. It was always where my heart was telling me to stay, and I really feel at home here. This is a fantastic team, full of incredible people, with a warmth and friendliness that I’ve never experienced elsewhere in Formula 1. I’m incredibly happy to be racing here,” said Alonso.
Eric Boullier, McLaren's Racing Director, stated that there is no other driver that can deliver results aside from Alonso.
“He’s always been clear to me that this is a team he loves, and that his heart has always been set on staying. Today’s announcement shows that he’s fully committed to racing and winning as a McLaren driver, and, while we’ve often shared his frustrations over the past few years, we now feel that we can deliver on our promise to give him a competitive car next season,” added Boullier.
In review, McLaren Racing forged an engine supply deal with Renault Sport Racing (RSR) for the 2018 season. This technical partnership marks the first time that McLaren and Renault will be working together in motorsports. This means that RSR will be supplying engines for both Red Bull Racing and McLaren come next year.