McLaren chief executive officer Zak Brown expects to have talks with Fernando Alonso regarding his future with the team during the summer break.
Alonso signed a new contract with McLaren last year but it is believed to include performance-related options beyond the end of this season. With McLaren currently fifth in the constructors’ championship and so far unable to deliver on its target of fighting with fellow Renault customer Red Bull for podiums, Alonso’s plans are uncertain, and Brown doesn’t expect the Spaniard to make a decision before August.
“I think our situation is the same as everyone’s,” Brown said. “It’s a little early in the season. Of course, we’re all talking to our drivers, probably talking to each other’s drivers to a certain extent up and down the pit lane.
“I think that we’re now back in Europe, it’s usually around the summer time that things start really taking shape as far as our conversations with Fernando. Just like last year, we decided to wait until about the summer time and I think Fernando will let us know what he wants to do here pretty soon.”
There is a possibility Alonso’s decision over his McLaren future won’t be limited to F1, with the team exploring the idea of entering the IndyCar series next season. When Alonso took on the Indy 500 last year, he received support from Gil de Ferran, who has now joined McLaren in an advisor role, and Brown says his remit covers a number of topics.
“Gil’s a good friend of McLaren, we have brought him on as an advisor to McLaren. We want him to help with our young drivers. We are looking at some other forms of motorsport, most notably IndyCar is under review – he obviously has great history there, having owned a team, won the Indy500.
“And generally he is a great racer that knows his way around a garage, and so any expertise he has that he can volunteer to help us improve, we’re very open-minded to that. So you’ll see him around: in Detroit at the IndyCar race in a couple of weeks’ time and around our Formula 1 garage often.”