Fernando Alonso signs new contract with McLaren for 2018
Another year for Alonso at McLaren as he hopes for improved season with new Renault engine
Last Updated: 19/10/17 8:22pm
Fernando Alonso will continue to drive for McLaren in 2018 after signing a contract extension with the team.
Alonso's new deal, which is likely to contain an opt-out for 2019 when the driver market is set to be transformed, means that McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari will all field unchanged line-ups next term.
But Alonso has also insisted he sees his new deal as a "long-term" agreement, revealing that he would like McLaren to be his last Formula 1 team.
"We don't talk about contract clauses but it's more of a long-term partnership," Alonso told Sky Sports News' Craig Slater in Austin. "I would be extremely happy to finish my career in McLaren.
"I don't think it's going to be one year."
McLaren, who will be powered by Renault next year after splitting from Honda, confirmed the renewal ahead of the United States GP in Austin and Alonso has quickly set his sights on winning races again in Formula 1.
"It's fantastic to be able to continue my relationship with everybody at McLaren," said the two-time world champion. "It was always where my heart was telling me to stay, and I really feel at home 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."
The Spaniard will drive alongside Stoffel Vandoorne, who learned he would be retained for a second full season in August, and Eric Boullier believes the soon-to-be McLaren-Renault possess the best driver pairing on the grid.
"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," the McLaren racing director added.
"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."
Alonso re-joined McLaren from Ferrari in 2015 in the hope of winning a third world title but has so far failed to finish on the podium, let alone win a race, following three seasons of struggle with a Honda power unit he complained had "no reliability and no power".
The 36-year-old had been increasingly vocal in his criticism of Honda this season but had also seen his options of remaining in F1 with a competitive drive away from McLaren all but disappear.
Alonso will now hope that the switch to Renault power, with which he won his two world championships in 2005 and 2006, will return him to the front of the field and potentially deliver the third title he craves.
And, like Alonso, McLaren executive director Zak Brown is adamant that the team can start winning again very soon.
"We head into 2018 feeling increasingly confident that we'll be able to take a meaningful step forward," said Brown.
"With Fernando, there is no doubt that we have a driver who can help us achieve our goal of winning again in F1."
McLaren last won a race in November 2012, with the team's most recent championship achieved with Lewis Hamilton nine years ago.
2018 F1 DRIVER LINE-UPS
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas|
|Ferrari||Sebastian Vettel||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Red Bull||Daniel Ricciardo||Max Verstappen|
|Force India||Sergio Perez||Esteban Ocon|
|McLaren||Stoffel Vandoorne||Fernando Alonso|
|Haas||Romain Grosjean||Kevin Magnussen|
|Renault||Nico Hulkenberg||Carlos Sainz|
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