McLaren has announced Fernando Alonso has re-signed for the 2018 Formula 1 world championship, as it prepares to switch to Renault engines next year.

Despite stalling on his 2018 contract having initially aimed to get his future confirmed immediately after the summer break, the two-time F1 world champion has inked a new one-year contract with the Woking-based outfit.

Alonso is hoping McLaren’s split from Honda in order to take on Renault engines from 2018 can reignite his hopes of challenging for wins and world titles after a disastrous return to the team in 2015.

The Spaniard won his two F1 world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006, before switching to McLaren in 2007, while he also raced for the French manufacturer in 2008 and 2009.

After four years at Ferrari, Alonso returned to McLaren ahead of its new partnership with Honda but with three painful years of underpowered and unreliable engines – which has seen the team miss out on the rostrum in that time – it pushed his relationship with the Japanese manufacturer to breaking point.

When McLaren announced its divorce from Honda to switch to Renault from 2018 in Singapore, which also involved Toro Rosso taking on Honda for next year, Alonso’s re-signing had expected to follow swiftly but the 36-year-old has delayed the decision on his future in order to assess McLaren-Renault’s capabilities for 2018.

Despite the stalling, Alonso was still expected to stay at McLaren for next season due to limited options elsewhere while he returns to a familiar partnership with Renault. The Spanish driver is thrilled to secure his future for next season and is relishing the 2018 campaign.

“It’s fantastic to be able to continue my relationship with everybody at McLaren,” Alonso said. “It was always where my heart was telling me to stay, and I really feel at home here. This is a fantastic team, full of incredible people, with a warmth and friendliness that I’ve never experienced elsewhere in Formula 1. I’m incredibly happy to be racing here.

“Just as important, McLaren has the technical resource and financial strength to be able to very quickly win races and world championships in F1. Although the last few years have not been easy, we have never forgotten how to win, and I believe we can achieve that again soon.

“The last three years have given us the momentum to plan and build for the future, and I’m looking forward to that journey. I’m excited for our future together – and I’m already working hard to make it a success.”

McLaren executive director Zak Brown has echoed his driver’s sentiments and says the team’s full focus is to returning to winning ways in 2018.

“I’m delighted to be able to confirm that Fernando will remain at McLaren,” Brown said. “He has been a fantastic asset to the whole organisation for the past three years, is an incredible individual and is one of the most accomplished and talented racing drivers of the modern era.

“It always made sense for us to continue our journey together. His commitment will allow us to further improve the attractiveness and potential of the wider Group, and will ensure we head into 2018 feeling increasingly confident that we’ll be able to take a meaningful step forward. Fernando fully understands and buys in to the direction we are taking.

“Our shareholders have ambitious plans for the whole Group, and success within Formula 1 is a central pillar of that strategy. With Fernando, there is no doubt that we have a driver who can help us achieve our goal of winning again in F1 – and, believe me, we are all keen to do that.”

Finally, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says there is no driver on the current F1 grid better on race day than Alonso and is keen to make amends for a frustrating three years.

“With Fernando, you really can’t ask for a better driver to deliver a result for you on a Sunday afternoon – and I think everybody in Formula 1 would acknowledge that sentiment,” Boullier said.

“He’s always been clear to me that this is a team he loves, and that his heart has always been set on staying. Today’s announcement shows that he’s fully committed to racing and winning as a McLaren driver, and, while we’ve often shared his frustrations over the past few years, we now feel that we can deliver on our promise to give him a competitive car next season.

“Consistency of driver line-up is one of those small but essential elements that really helps a team to maintain momentum, and, with Fernando and Stoffel, we’re lucky to be writing a fresh chapter with what we believe to be the best driver line-up in Formula 1.”



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