Zak Brown feels that Fernando Alonso's new, multi-year Formula 1 deal with McLaren is "very, very important" for the future of the team as it bids to return to the front of the grid after three years in the wilderness with Honda.

McLaren has not recorded a podium finish since 2014 and is nearing five years without a race win, with Alonso's three-year stint at Woking proving frustrating for both the driver and the team amid continued struggles with engine partner Honda.

McLaren announced a switch to Renault power from 2018 in Singapore before confirming on Thursday ahead of the United States Grand Prix that Alonso would be remaining on a multi-year deal. 

"It’s very, very important for McLaren’s future," Brown said of Alonso's new contract. "Obviously the last few years have been a big challenge and what you want is the best teams and the best drivers in the world that you can get.

"We’ve had a lot of changes and a big change that we announced not too long ago that we have re-signed Stoffel [Vandoorne] and, as was very well known, we wanted to keep Fernando in the family and we have accomplished that. I’m very pleased."

Brown conceded that losing Alonso would have been a "big blow" to McLaren, but denied any ultimatums were made by the driver over the team's engine plans for 2018.

"It would have been a big blow not to have Fernando in the team. That’s why we are very proactive and very vocal about our desire to have Fernando in the team," Brown explained.

"Certainly it would have been a blow not to have him in the team, so I’m very happy with the outcome. I know there’s been a lot of comments about Fernando’s commentary on our engine situation but our conversation has always been about his desire to be competitive and our interests have always been aligned there.

"There were never any ultimatums that were given other than that he wanted a race car that he could race at the front with and we share that goal."


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