By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
AUSTIN, Texas – Fernando Alonso is set to continue on with McLaren after the two announced a contract extension on Thursday ahead of the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, which keeps the pair together for the 2018 Formula One season.
The 36-year-old Spaniard returned to the Woking-based outfit for a second time in 2015 and has since struggled for results at the disappointment of a Honda relationship which comes to an halt at the end of this season.
The two-time Formula One world champion currently sits 16th in the overall standings with a season-best finish of sixth at the Hungaroring in July.
The team will move to Renault power for next season as it aims to move further up the grid.
“It’s fantastic to be able to continue my relationship with everybody at McLaren,” said Alonso.
“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.
“Just as important, McLaren has the technical resource and financial strength to be able to very quickly win races and world championships in F1. Although the last few years have not been easy, we have never forgotten how to win, and I believe we can achieve that again soon.
“The last three years have given us the momentum to plan and build for the future, and I’m looking forward to that journey.
“I’m excited for our future together – and I’m already working hard to make it a success.”
McLaren Racing Director, Eric Bouiller, was pleased in retaining the services of a driver widely regarded as one of the best in the paddock, and continue their current lineup with Alonso alongside Stoffel Vandoorne.
“With Fernando, you really can’t ask for a better driver to deliver a result for you on a Sunday afternoon – and I think everybody in Formula 1 would acknowledge that sentiment,” said Bouiller
“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.
“Consistency of driver line-up is one of those small but essential elements that really helps a team to maintain momentum, and, 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.”