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Fernando Alonso to help design new McLaren F1 car in 2019
RETIRED Formula 1 ace Fernando Alonso will continue to work with his old team, McLaren, in 2019, according to his compatriot and successor Carlos Sainz Junior.
The outgoing twice-world champion, who is now focusing on the World Endurance Championships (WEC) and on becoming only the second driver in history – after the UK's Graham Hill – to net the motorsport 'triple crown', will continue working on developing McLaren's new F1 racing cars for the forthcoming season.
Sainz, whose dad – also called Carlos Sainz – raced in F1, along with Lando Norris, will be driving for McLaren this year.
Carlos spoke to German sports magazine SpeedWeek, which reports: “Carlos Sainz has revealed how his compatriot Fernando Alonso is working behind the scenes helping McLaren become a competitive team once again.”
And, according to Carlos himself in the interview: “We have exchanged a series of voice messages to enable us to analyse the car's balance. We want to register what we like about the way the car behaves when it is driven, and what we should improve. I'll be meeting Fernando in Spain in a couple of weeks to discuss details.”
The meeting was due to take place before Christmas.
Alonso, from Oviedo (Asturias), is said to be very interested in McLaren's future plans – largely because, if the team from Woking, Surrey (UK) is ever able to offer him a competitive car again, he is said to be likely to return to the F1 circuit.
Despite being considered by some of his top rivals, including Germany's Sebastian Vettel and the UK's Lewis Hamilton, as one of the greatest racing drivers ever – possibly even more so than seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher – Alonso has not won a single F1 race in about five years.
He netted the 2005 and 2006 world championships, but a move to Ferrari proved ill-advised when his success was curtailed by poor car performance.
After switching to McLaren, Alonso found himself in an almost identical situation – worse, in fact, since the last couple of seasons have seen him forced to retire due to mechanical faults nearly as often as he finished races, and he has rarely made the top 10.
This is believed to be his only real reason for ditching F1, but the general consensus is that it is not Adiós, but hasta luego – or only a temporary farewell.
Having already won the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, one of the three tough challenges that make up the so-called 'triple crown', and more recently reaching victory in the Le Mans 24-Hour race, Alonso only needs to win the Indianapolis 500.
On his first attempt, he was a long way in the lead before suffering engine failure, proving this final leg is, indeed, achievable for him.
Last season, Alonso dovetailed WEC with F1, with McLaren's blessing, and is planning on focusing on endurance in 2019 – or, at least, until he is able to return to McLaren and F1.
Photograph by Team McLaren
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