Alonso given go-ahead by McLaren for stunning F1 return

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McLaren wouldn’t block their former driver Fernando Alonso from returning to Formula One action with a rival team.

Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris will remain with McLaren for the 2020 season as well and that is also the reason why they wouldn’t stop the two-time world champion from getting back in F1 action.

Alonso is contracted as a McLaren ambassador, tested its F1 car this season and was part of its failed bid to make the Indianapolis 500 grid, but McLaren F1 CEO Zak Brown has clarified that the company would not have a problem with Alonso joining a rival Formula One team.

Rumours over potential driver changes for next season has included the suggestion that the Spanish driver has explored the prospect of a return to Ferrari, even though the team has Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc under contract.

When asked to comment about this possibility, Brown said: “Fernando remains an ambassador for McLaren.

“We have got a great relationship with him and speak with him about some racing programmes in the future that are not Formula 1-related.

“But we’re happy for him if he wants to get back into Formula 1 – because we don’t have a seat available – to go race for another team. We’d very much support him in that if that’s what he wants to do.”

Some of Alonso’s latest successes include the Le Mans 24 Hours which he won twice with Toyota over the past two years as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship title with Toyota as well.

However, he will not continue his LMP1 programme into the 2019/20 WEC season and has ruled out a full IndyCar campaign despite being keen to return to the Indy 500.

In Alonso’s absence, Sainz and Norris have made strong starts to their McLaren careers and their efforts have helped the team to a current fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

Brown said McLaren wanted to sign both drivers to 2020 deals before the “silly season” took off in earnest.

“Carlos has been extremely quick every weekend and Lando is also extremely quick and a quick learner,” said Brown. “He’s not making some of the mistakes, knock on wood, that you would maybe anticipate from a rookie driver. He drives quite mature, his feedback is good, he gets along with Carlos very well.

“We felt we’d get that out of the way to continue with our programme, heads down, and keep racing.”

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