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McLaren: Alonso's future rests on getting competitive F1 car

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McLaren: Alonso's future rests on getting competitive F1 car
By:
Mar 15, 2017, 9:43 AM

McLaren admits that Fernando Alonso's future at the F1 team will be out of its hands if it fails to turn around its current struggles and deliver him a competitive car.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
The McLaren MCL32 of Fernando Alonso is recovered back to the pits
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, talks to the media
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Eric Boullier, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, talks to the media in the paddock

The Woking-based outfit is facing a race against time to get back on track for the start of the campaign, with its Honda engine proving to be unreliable and down on power during pre-season testing.

While Alonso maintains faith for now that Honda can get its act together and make a strong recovery this season, there is also the possibility that its problems are too big to solve in the short term.

And, after two already difficult seasons with McLaren, the current situation has prompted fresh speculation that Alonso could walk away if his frustrations get too much.

Alonso's contract runs out at the end of this year, and he has already indicated that he wants to stay in F1 for 2018.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has admitted that it is essential his team gives the Spanish driver a car that makes him 'happy', otherwise there is a chance he could give up on the project.

"There are always a lot of stories about this," Boullier said in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS about Alonso not staying at the team if the results are not good.

"I think Fernando is being honest with us, just as we're being honest with him. He first wanted to see how the new car was. And how the new regulations are. And I think he likes the new F1. He wants to be competitive because he has talent to show the world and to himself.

"And we need to be competitive to keep him happy. If we're competitive he'll be happy and if not he'll take his own decisions..."

Boullier said he had already spoken to Alonso about next year, but said that no progress had been made in working out whether or not they carry on.

"It's still early days," said Boullier. "But of course we've spoken."

Still the best

Although Alonso has not won a championship since 2006, Boullier says he has no doubts that he remains the best driver on the grid.

Pushed on why he believed that, Boullier said: "I don't want to give you too much information, because I know a lot of teams want that information, but he's the best.

"Without a doubt. He's the best because he is, clearly, but over and above that, it can be shown."

 

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso Shop Now
Teams McLaren Shop Now
Author Jonathan Noble