Zak Brown 'pretty sure Fernando Alonso will be in a McLaren, whatever that is' in 2019
"I don't think he's quite made up his mind on what he wants to race yet next year...but I'm pretty sure it will be in a McLaren, whatever that is," team chief Zak Brown tells Sky F1
Last Updated: 10/12/18 4:26pm
Could Fernando Alonso stay with McLaren for 2019 - but not necessarily in a McLaren Formula 1 car?
The Spaniard has been non-committal on his plans for 2019 and he cast doubt on his future in the sport last month when labelling F1's calendar "demanding" and the current direction of the sport as "sad".
But McLaren CEO Zak Brown has told Sky Sports F1 he expects Alonso to remain with McLaren in 2019, he was coy on whether that would be in F1.
"He still has a strong desire to drive. The Formula 1 schedule is pretty tough, he's been doing it a long time, so I don't think he's quite made up his mind on what he wants to race yet next year," Brown said.
"But I'm pretty sure it will be in a McLaren, whatever that is."
Brown later told reporters in Montreal: "We are in talks with Fernando. It was about this time last year that we started having conversations. He's been doing Formula 1 a long time. I think he's enjoying driving a much as he ever has, I think he's driving better than he ever has.
"As he's mentioned, he's a little frustrated with Formula 1 being a bit more of a constructors' championship than a drivers' championship.
"He loves Formula 1. He loves World Endurance. He did Daytona. So hopefully we'll keep Fernando in a McLaren environment in some way, shape or form."
McLaren are looking to expand their motor-racing operations and are considering entering IndyCar next year.
"He's the type of individual who you don't push, you have to lay out some options and he'll come to his own conclusion," added Brown.
"I think around the summer break we'll know what the masterplan is."
In 2018, Alonso is combining his F1 duties with racing in the World Endurance Championship with Toyota and will next week take part in the Le Mans 24 Hours as he continues his bid to win motorsport's Triple Crown, which also incorporates the Monaco GP and Indianapolis 500.
Alonso, who has not won in F1 since 2013, missed the 2017 Monaco GP to compete in the Indy 500, and led for 27 laps before an engine failure ended his chances while running seventh.
Expanding on the possibility of a permanent move into IndyCar for McLaren, Brown said: "We're looking it.
"We were in Detroit last weekend, we like IndyCar racing and North America is an important market for us.
"Whatever we do, criteria number one is that it doesn't detract from our Formula 1 efforts. We need to be competitive and it to be commercially viable. IndyCar is looking like a strong possibility."