Zak Brown is a ‘commercial genius’ with a ‘wider vision of motorsport’, says McLaren F1 Team‘s Fernando Alonso.
Brown took over McLaren from Ron Dennis in late 2016 and immediately set about making changes, and he offered Alonso the chance to get away from Formula 1 to try a different discipline, a freedom the Spaniard jumped at, and in May 2017 he lined up not for the Monaco Grand Prix, but for the Indianapolis 500.
Alonso has been afforded more freedom than any other current Formula 1 racer during his time under Brown, having taken part in two extra-curricular motorsport races in the past twelve months.
After participating in the Indy 500 last year, he made his first sportscar appearance in the Daytona 24 Hours just last month, and will feature in the 24 Hours of Le Mans later this year, giving him the chance to compete in the third of motor racings fabled Triple Crown.
This ability to take on projects outside of Formula 1 wouldn’t be possible were it not for Brown, insists double World Champion Alonso.
“He’s a very unique boss. He has this wider vision of motorsport, he’s a commercial genius,” said Alonso on Crash. “He helped McLaren a lot in the last two years, and now he’s not helping McLaren, I think he’s helping motorsport in general.
“So I completely share his vision. He’s not only my boss, he’s my friend as well. I think he’s doing great things for the sport.”
Brown is no stranger to running different series himself, having been involved in United Autosports with Richard Dean since 2009, with ventures in Henderson Insurance LMP3 Cup Championship, Michelin Le Mans Cup, European Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017 before their Rolex 24 at Daytona debut in January.
And having a boss that understands why a driver would want to take part in other series has allowed Alonso to choose other races to compete in, with the Spaniard set to race in all of the FIA World Endurance Championship events that do not clash with his Formula 1 commitments in 2018.
“I can do it because with Zak Brown and McLaren, they have maybe a different vision, a little bit more wide vision of motorsport, and I share that vision as well,” said Alonso.
“We are expanding a little bit the McLaren brand as well in motorsport, and we try to do it together. I think for other drivers in Formula 1, it will be difficult to get that vision.“