Fernando Alonso believes his new McLaren test driver and ambassador role is a way for him to remain sharp in preparation for a potential Formula 1 comeback if he can find a competitive package.

The two-time F1 world champion stepped away from the sport at the end of last year but continually teased a return if he could secure a package capable of fighting for wins.

Earlier today McLaren announced Alonso as a new ambassador which includes test driving duties for both this year and next year’s F1 car and has fuelled speculation of a possible comeback by the Spaniard.

Alonso, who is focusing on the remainder of the World Endurance Championship and his own return to the Indianapolis 500 with McLaren this year, refused to rule out an F1 comeback and sees his new role as the ideal way to help the Woking-based team while keeping himself ready.

“At the moment I feel at the peak of my career so probably being at home is a waste of time and possibilities for everyone,” Alonso said. “Firstly, for me I am doing different iconic races now because I feel I am in the best moment of career so I hope to win as many races as I can. I keep involved in F1 life just in case.

“I am probably stronger than ever at 37 physically, mentally, and the background that I have on different categories and different driving styles. So I feel very good now and very competitive in any car I jump in.

“I will keep going for a couple of years, select what races that can make an impact on my career, race those, and as I said if one day Formula 1 again arrives where I can be competitive and I can win then I cannot be relaxed and at home. I need to keep updated. The way to do that at the moment is to be involved somehow.”

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McLaren chief executive Zak Brown reiterated his faith in the team’s all-new driver line-up of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris and says no prearrangements have been made to see Alonso return to F1.

“We haven’t discussed it, we will cross any bridge when we come to it but we’ve got our two drivers and we are very happy with them,” Brown said. “McLaren has aspirations in a variety of motorsport so to have Fernando’s talent and experience inside the McLaren camp is a great part of our performance recovery that we are on.

“I’ve tried to get the best talent: Andreas Seidl, James Key, Pat Fry, so to have Fernando as part of our development programme I think is a very important piece of the puzzle to getting us to be competitive again.

“We have of our testing plans, we’re still waiting for some of the Pirelli tyre test details. Fernando will definitely be in the car this year.

“We think that’s important to help us develop the car, and as Fernando said this year’s car has been developed last year so I think Fernando can help us develop this car for this season and start giving us outlook for 2020 as well.”

 

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