Despite leaving Formula 1 racing in 2018, Fernando Alonso remained an employee of McLaren in 2019. He mainly served as a brand ambassador, and he would’ve driven for McLaren in last year’s Indy 500, had they not failed to qualify. Now, Alonso and McLaren are done.
Reuters broke the news earlier today, with confirmation from a McLaren spokesperson. “Fernando is a world-class competitor and we wish him well for the future,” said the spokesperson. “While our relationship has come to a natural conclusion, he will always remain part of the McLaren family.”
This isn’t a huge surprise. The Indy debacle was an embarrassment, and afterwards, as Racer points out, Alonso made fewer appearances at F1 races with the team. Alonso has been driving primarily for Toyota Gazoo Racing, finishing out the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship super season with the team—which included a Le Mans win—and making an appearance in this year’s Dakar Rally.
McLaren is mounting a full-season IndyCar challenge this year, partnering up with Arrow Schmidt Peterson to create Arrow McLaren SP, but Alonso won’t be joining them for the Indy 500. Instead, Racer reports, Alonso is linked to drive with Andretti Autosport, which McLaren partnered with for the Spaniard racer’s successful Indy debut in 500. The biggest obstacle in that tie-up is the fact that Andretti gets its IndyCar engines from Honda. Alonso was highly critical of Honda while it was supplying engines to McLaren in F1, and it’s hard to imagine people at the Japanese company wanting to work with him again.
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