McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team will more than likely start contract talks with Fernando Alonso after the first few races of the 2017 Formula 1 season.
Alonso rejoined McLaren for the 2015 season but this was also when Honda entered the championship as McLaren’s new engine supplier. That season for everyone involved with the team was disappointing, after finishing only ten of the nineteen Grand Prix, with his season being was compromised by mechanical issues on his MP4-30.
The 2016 season was definitely an improvement from the previous season, and although the Spaniard retired on four separate occasions, he had a lot more consistency with his finishes, Alonso ended tenth in the Driver’s Championship in tenth.
Even with these struggles, Zak Brown knows Alonso is committed to the project but with his contract up at the end of the season, McLaren would love to keep him past 2017. McLaren’s car would need to be competitive from the beginning to entice Alonso to remain with McLaren.
“He’s definitely committed to the project, but his contract is up and he’s in high demand as you can imagine,” Brown said in an interview with NBC Sports.
“Vettel is out of a contract next year [too], that’s my understanding. So as you can imagine, next year’s going to be an exciting driver market. Obviously we’d love to keep him. He’s one of the greatest drivers on the track, if not the best. But we’re just going to see how things go and kick off those conversations a few races into the year.”
Brown admits Alonso would probably choose to stay with McLaren after 2017 by the level of performance from the car.
“Yeah, if I were him, I’d want to see how we perform before I started making decisions,” Brown added. “You can’t blame him for that. But I think we’re all waiting to see and that goes both ways.”