Alonso backs Brown, distances himself from changes

Image by Steven Tee/LAT

Alonso backs Brown, distances himself from changes

Formula 1

Alonso backs Brown, distances himself from changes


Fernando Alonso says Zak Brown is the right man to lead McLaren but has distanced himself from recent changes made to the team’s racing management.

Eric Boullier resigned from his position as racing director on Tuesday, with Andrea Stella becoming performance director and Gil de Ferran named as sporting director. Alonso has worked extensively with Stella in his F1 career and was supported by de Ferran at last year’s Indianapolis 500, but when asked what the latter can bring to the team, he replied: “I don’t know.

“I just drive cars. If Zak thinks there are other people now doing other jobs in the team, it’s because he thinks it’s the best thing to do. I trust 100 percent Zak, I trusted 100 percent Eric; I trust always the bosses because they are always the one that have all the information. We just drive cars.”

Brown himself said he had consulted the drivers about the changes to the team’s structure, but Alonso disagrees that was the case.

“I was not consulted — I was informed about the changes and the new possibilities. As Stoffel [Vandoorne] had been informed. I had more experience with Andrea than Zak, who only knows Andrea for one year, so he wanted my opinion and how I see Gil and things like that.

Gil de Ferran (left) and Alonso at Indy in 2017. (Image by Geoffrey Miller/LAT)

“He knows Gil for 20 years and I know Gil for one year, so he knows much more than me in terms of what possibilities and what scenarios Gil can come into play. So I fully trust whatever decision. Moving forward, the most important thing is to improve the car and be more competitive and hopefully from this weekend we’ll see a step forward.”

Although distancing himself from having any influence in the changes, Alonso says the importance of his experience has only grown at any of the teams he has raced.

“Some of the feedback or some of the input you may have with 18 years experience is different than other people who are quite young and quite new to the sport. So I think in that aspect it has always been like that in a way.

“In every team I was in, after two or three years they seem quite happy and quite enthusiastic. I’ve always been in a long-term relationship apart from McLaren 2007, which was only a one-year contract but five years later they want me back and they sign me for another year. So there is always some good things that probably we do, off-track and on-track.

“With Zak, obviously we have a very close relationship even if it’s a short time [since] we met. As I said before, he’s a racer — he understands racing commitment and spirit and I think he’s going to be a good leader for the future at McLaren. I trust him, even if he’s not designing the car, it wasn’t Flavio [Briatore] designing the car but he was a leader and I think Zak is a leader, so it’s going to be a good time.”