Executive Director of the McLaren Technology Group Zak Brown has said that Fernando Alonso never gave the McLaren Renault Formula 1 Team an ultimatum regarding his future at the team if they didn’t drop engine suppliers Honda.
At last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, McLaren announced that they were to part ways with the Japanese company after three frustrating seasons – where they accumulated more grid penalties than points – in favour of customer Renault Sport engines.
Red Bull Toro Rosso-Honda have inherited the works Honda deal after they stated their intention to stay in Formula 1 after the McLaren contract expired.
Despite the unknown status of Alonso’s future before the Renault deal, Brown insisted that he never pressure McLaren into a decision.
“I have often heard that he gave us ultimatums but I want to assure you that this has never been the case,” Brown said at last month’s Autosport International Show.
“He just wanted us to be competitive again.”
“I think he would have stayed if we felt we’d been competitive staying where we were [with Honda]. I think he would have bought into that.
“[However] he has great history with Renault.”
Alonso will embark on the fourth season of his second spell with McLaren, once again partnered with Stoffel Vandoorne.
Additionally, due to McLaren no longer being attached to Honda, Alonso has found himself free to compete in the World Endurance Championship with fellow Japanese marque Toyota GAZOO Racing, as he searches for the second part of a potential Triple Crown by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans.