Austin - Two-time
world champion Fernando Alonso on Thursday signed a new one-year
contract with McLaren in a boost for the struggling Formula One team.
"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," the Spaniard announced in a team statement.
By penning a deal for the 2018 season Alonso is pinning his hopes on
the famous British marque regaining its winning tradition as they switch
from the under-performing Honda power unit to Renault engines.
"McLaren has the technical resource and financial strength to be able
to very quickly win races and world championships in F1," the
"Although the last few years have not been easy, we have never
forgot-ten how to win, and I believe we can achieve that again soon," he
Alonso, who has dabbled in IndyCar, has chosen to stick with the team
he joined three years ago rather than accept offers from both inside
and outside F1.
He has a long-term goal of becoming only the second driver to
complete the Triple Crown - winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans and
Speaking later Thursday at Austin's Circuit of the Americas he revealed his deal contained options for beyond 2018.
"We never discuss the contract clauses and we are not going to do it
now, but it's a long-term contract and we'll see how things go," Alonso
"I'm very excited for next year, with different expectations and keen
to put McLaren back where it deserves to be. I want Australia (opening
race of 2018) to arrive already."
He welcomed McLaren’s decision to switch engine suppliers from Honda,
after three disappointing years, to Renault, whose team carried him to
his titles in 2005 and 2006.
"It's very exciting," added the Spaniard whose best placing this season was a sixth in Hungary.
"Driving again for Renault, even though it's just the engine, is a
good feeling. Red Bull has been showing it this year, with two cars on
the podium in Japan, both cars on the podium in Malaysia - so we know
what the Renault engine is capable of.
"Now we have to step up and make it happen."
McLaren, who have not won a race since 2012 when Jenson Button
triumphed in Brazil, were thrilled at their star driver's vote of
"With Fernando, there is no doubt that we have a driver who can help
us achieve our goal of winning again in F1 - and, believe me, we are
all keen to do that," said McLaren executive director Zak Brown.
The team's racing director Eric Boullier added: "Today’s announcement
shows that he's fully committed to racing and winning as a McLaren
"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."
Alonso will once again be teamed up with Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne in 2018.
"With Fernando and Stoffel, we’re lucky to be writing a fresh chapter
with what we believe to be the best driver line-up in Formula 1,"
Ahead of Sunday's United States Grand Prix in Austin, Alonso is 16th
in the driver's standings after mustering just 10 points, three fewer
The 2018 Formula One drivers line-up after Fernando Alonso signed a new one-year deal for next season with McLaren on Thursday:
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) - unchanged
Sebastian Vettel (GER) and Kimi Räikkonen (FIN) - unchanged
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) and Max Verstappen (NED) - unchanged
Esteban Ocon (FRA) and Sergio Perez (MEX) - unchanged
Nico Hülkenberg (GER) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP, ex-Toro Rosso)
Lance Stroll (CAN) with either Felipe Massa (BRA), Robert Kubica (POL) or Paul di Resta (GBR)
Fernando Alonso (ESP) and Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) - unchanged
Yet to announce their drivers, with Pierre Gasly (FRA), Brendon
Hartley (NZL), Daniil Kvyat (RUS) and Nobuharu Matsushita (JPN) in the
Romain Grosjean (FRA) and Kevin Magnussen (DEN) - unchanged
Yet to announce their line-up with Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Pascal Wehrlein (GER) and Charles Leclerc (MON) amongst the possibles.