McLaren executive director Zak Brown believes Fernando Alonso’s seat with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship is in his team’s best interests.
Alonso will compete in the full 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ for Toyota as part of his attempts to win Le Mans, with the Spaniard chasing the Triple Crown of victory in the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans and Indy 500.
With McLaren permitting Alonso to compete in four WEC rounds this year – he will miss the 6 Hours of Fuji due to a clash with the United States Grand Prix – the Spaniard will take part in 25 world championship races but Brown says the Toyota program will not detract Alonso from his Formula 1 duties with McLaren.
“It’s no secret that Fernando has wanted to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours,” Brown said. “And I think everybody within our organization appreciates that a motivated, hungry and happy world-class driver such as Fernando is a formidable asset for any team in F1.
“Last year, we came to the joint decision to go racing with Fernando at the Indy 500 rather than at the Monaco Grand Prix. But we’ve always said that we would consider each opportunity on a case-by-case basis, and we both know that, in 2018, our core priority is success in Formula 1.
“Like Fernando, at McLaren we’re racers at heart, and our team is built on a brave heritage of competing and succeeding in different forms of the sport. Equally important is the confidence that nothing detracts from our number one goal of Formula 1. After proper evaluation, we are satisfied that this campaign does not do that, and that McLaren’s best interests prevail.”
Alonso will share the No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing car with Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima and will make his WEC debut at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5, in the weekend between the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix.
The most grueling part of Alonso’s schedule will see him driving in either F1 or the WEC on seven consecutive weekends, starting with him competing in the Monaco Grand Prix on May 27 before testing for Le Mans on June 3. The Canadian Grand Prix on June 10 is then followed by Le Mans on June 16-17 and a triple header of F1 races in France, Austria and Britain from June 24-July 8.