There has been plenty of speculation since the last French GP of Formula 1 when it was announced that Fernando Alonso wouldn’t test the McLaren MCL34 again.
The announcement came as a surprise at the paddock. Many remembered the Spaniard trying out the car during the test sessions of the 2nd and 3rd of April at the Shakir circuit in Bahrain.
So…Why has McLaren’s position towards the Spaniard changed so drastically? That is the question that everyone has been asking since, particularly the specialised media, which hasn’t stopped speculating and publishing headlines about it.
With no official answer to date, the rumours and conspiracy theories surrounding the issue haven’t stopped coming, reaching their peak in the middle of last week. One of the reports assured that the Spanish driver and the Woking team had parted ways for good.
Sources close to Alonso then rushed to deny those claims and to reassure that he will continue working as an ambassador for the British team. A different matter, however, is if he will ever sit behind the wheel of their current single-seater ever again, something which at the moment seems unlikely.
McLaren’s sporting director, Andreas Seidl, the man in charge of the issue, has wanted to put an end to all the speculations by explaining first-hand, the reasons behind his decision:
“Last year, Fernando Alonso decided he didn’t want to continue in the F1 unless he had a car that was able to win, and so I had no other choice but accept it”.
“Zak Brown then decided to find a great pair of drivers such as Lando and Carlos. They have shown a great performance during the first third of the season and they are the ideal combination for the moment we are going through. With us, they could become top pilots. I hope that the team follows on those steps”.
“Also – said Seidl – they (Sainz y Norris) are the future for us and so I have to give them every testing second that we have. It therefore doesn’t make any sense to give Fernando Alonso testing time. That was my decision. Of course, the headlines were immediate, but that’s all”
Seidl has wanted to put an end to the controversy by reassuring the press that: “Fernando is still very much part of the McLaren family”.
To finish, Saidl has acknowledged the valuable input that the Spaniard has provided in the development of the MCL34, which now is giving good results for the team. At the moment, the team is fourth in the Constructors’ standings behind the big three, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
“Last year he (Fernando Alonso) gave us a lot of information on the development of this season’s single-seater. He also did a great job right until the last day in 2018 with a car that was not competitive”.
The German director has also recognised the deep admiration that he has for the Spanish driver. He has declared that he had wanted to work with Fernando since the time that he was on Porsche’s sporting programme as he thought he was one of the best drivers in the world.
Alonso for his part continues undecided about what to do next. After winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship 2018-2019, he is hoping for a seat in a winning Formula 1 team. If that doesn’t happen, he is toying with the idea of debuting in the Dakar Rally.
Images of Fernando Alonso: Fernando Alonso Instagram & McLaren.