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Alonso is likely to be part of McLaren's test team in 2019

Written by  Dec 21, 2018

Fernando Alonso has expressed interest in helping McLaren develop their 2019 Formula 1 car, CEO Zak Brown has revealed.

Despite retiring from the grid at the end of this past season, the Spaniard was never expected to be far away from the British team next year, particularly as he'll compete in a McLaren entry at the Indianapolis 500.

Also, as McLaren try to bounce back from one of the toughest periods in their history and an all-new driver line-up, it makes sense for them to continue a working relationship with Alonso.

“I have spoken to Fernando about it. He is very open to it,” Brown told Crash.net on the prospect of him testing the MCL34.

“These F1 world champions, whether it’s Michael Schumacher or Mika Hakkinen, who came close to a comeback, don’t want to be too far from the F1 pit lane.

“There’s a lot he can contribute experience-wise. Carlos [Sainz] and Lando [Norris] are open to any ideas that will bring us experience.

“Fernando knows the team very well, Lando doesn’t have that experience, and Carlos doesn’t have that experience with us. It’s something I’ll be talking to him about.

“I’ll go to Daytona for Fernando’s Daytona testing and we’re going to chat to him further then.”

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Alonso won't be able to step in for every single test day during the year, however, with the rule that at least two of the four in-season dates must be given to drivers with less than two years F1 experience.

“[I’m] ultimately working with Gil [Ferran, sporting director] to decide what he thinks is the best driver testing programme for next year, as it’s not only Fernando, but we have rookie tests, we have tyre tests, and we have reserve drivers that we need to consider," the CEO continued.

“So Gil is putting together the ultimate driver-race-testing programme, and we’ll make a decision in early January.”

Currently, McLaren has F2 racers Nick de Vries and Sergio Sette Camara on their books that will meet that requirement.

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