McLaren keen to re-sign Alonso partnership but don't get excited F1 fans

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown is hopeful of negotiating a new ambassadorial deal with Fernando Alonso for 2020 and beyond.

The Spaniard took a back-seat role at the British team after retiring from Formula 1 at the end of last season, appearing at a couple of races and conducting a test back in April.

His only racing activity with McLaren was a failed Indianapolis 500 attempt in May and looking forward, Brown hopes it is their non-F1 activities which appeal to the two-time world champion.

“Well at the end of this year, we’ll have a conversation about what the future may or may not look like,” the American said. “We’ve got an IndyCar team now, we continue to look at WEC.

“We’ve got Mika Hakkinen on a long-term contract as an ambassador, so I think we’ll sit down with Fernando at the end of the year and just talk about what does he want to do moving forward, what do we want to do moving forward, and is there something there working together that makes sense.”

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A full-time seat in IndyCar is already off the table but a possible third car entry for another bid at completing the Triple Crown at the Brickyard is a distinct possibility.

Earlier this year, however, there was a murmur of unhappiness between Alonso and McLaren following their Indy disaster and though the 38-year-old has hinted at an F1 return in 2021, Brown insists they remain strong.

“You know I think he’s an immense talent. I’ve got a really good relationship with him,” he said.

“I think with the different racing activities that we’re doing, if there’s something that we have that makes sense to put Fernando in a car, I still think he’s one of the fastest drivers in the world.

“We’re set with our direction in Formula 1 with our current drivers, but depending on what other activities are, very open-minded continuing a relationship with Fernando.”

Currently, Alonso's focus is on a first attempt at the Dakar Rally with Toyota next year and preparations are continuing after a solid first official Cross Country Rally event last month in Morocco.

“We are in Saudi Arabia to compete in a round of the national rally. This is the first time for me in Saudi Arabia and I’ve been discovering the country and the terrain which we expect to see at the Dakar Rally in January,” he explained.

“It’s great to have an opportunity to race in Saudi Arabia in our continued preparations. It’s an all-new experience for me but I’m looking forward to it.

“Marc and I have been out here testing before the rally as we have a brand-new car. We completed some shakedown mileage to make sure everything works because we will use the same car at the Dakar Rally, so it’s very important to make sure we are 100 per cent ready.”