No Monaco replacement for Alonso yet in place, insists Brown

Credit: Steven Tee/McLaren

Despite allowing Fernando Alonso the opportunity to fulfil his dream and race in the Indianapolis 500 in 2017, Zak Brown has revealed that nothing has been confirmed to just who will replace the Spaniard in the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Brown, the executive director of the Woking-based squad, insists the decision to decide who will come in as Alonso’s replacement is that of Eric Boullier, McLaren’s Racing Director, and although Jenson Button remains a part of the McLaren team after announcing a sabbatical at the end of 2016, it is not a clear cut decision that the Brit will return for the one-off appearance in Monaco.

“Fernando’s replacement driver is not in place,” said Brown. “Those conversations are ongoing, we have a few different options, we will state who that is when we know.

“Eric, who runs the F1 team, is ultimately responsible for making the recommendation as to what driver should go in the car and he will be here at the weekend so I can save questions for him, he is working on it.

“I wouldn’t want to share his conversations he has had with whom.”

Brown feels that whoever is called upon to replace Alonso will do a stellar job, much like what Stoffel Vandoorne is doing in the other car despite the reliability and performance issues the MCL32 has faced so far in 2017.

“I would love to have Fernando to be in two places at one time but we can’t, at least that technology has not yet been developed,” Brown said. “The opportunity for the prize in Indianapolis is very large and an opportunity that none of us want to miss.

“As Fernando has said – whoever we end up putting in the car, Stoffel is doing an outstanding job, so we will expect whatever the car is capable of, Stoffel to be able to achieve that. As will whoever the co-driver is.

“We have to look at bigger picture and the entirety of what McLaren-Honda is trying to achieve, for the sacrifice of not having Fernando in Monaco but having him in Indy, when we step back and look at the season we will say that was the right decision.”