Now 36 years old and winless since the 2013 season, race car driver Fernando Alonso hasn’t had much to smile about lately, but today’s big announcement could change that rather quickly.
McLaren made it official today that it’s resigned Alonso for the 2018 season and Autoweek reported the deal could be worth as much as $45 million.
Alonso competed in the Indy 500 last year and also revealed intentions to compete for the “Triple Crown of Motorsports,” which entails winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500, and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Alonso has already won at Monaco twice, so there were some rumors that Alonso could have left F1 all together to pursue his other goals.
Those reports obviously turned out to be untrue, but the real question is why did Alonso agree to resign with a team that’s struggled to compete for podium spots over the last several years?
Besides the massive pay day, the answer could lie with McLaren’s decision to switch from Honda engines to Renault powerplants. This move could finally provide Alonso’s cars with the type of power needed to compete with the sport’s top teams.
“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,” Alonso said, according to Autosport. “The last three years have given us the momentum to plan and build for the future, and I’m looking forward to that journey.”
One person who was very please with Alonso’s decision to resign was Zak Brown, who currently serves as McLaren’s executive director.
“Our shareholders have ambitious plans for the whole group, and success within Formula 1 is a central pillar of that strategy,” Brown said, according to BBC.com. “With Fernando, there is no doubt that we have a driver who can help us achieve our goal of winning again in F1 – and, believe me, we are all keen to do that.”