It was a weekend of high-politicking at Monza, with the outcome expected to be McLaren dumping Honda, the Japanese supplier moving to Toro Rosso, and Fernando Alonso staying at a newly Renault-powered McLaren for 2018.
“We know what the Renault engine can do — Red Bull has done five or six consecutive podiums,” Alonso said at Monza.
“As a driver I can choose more or less where I want to go and what category I want to be in.
“McLaren is the team with the second best numbers in the history of this sport and they want to win again, and as a member of this team I want that as well,” he added.
The Spaniard’s boss, Zak Brown, confirmed that it’s “very, very likely” that if the McLaren-Renault deal is completed, Alonso will sign a new deal for 2018.
Alonso continued: “It’s an important week for McLaren to make some decisions. Hopefully we’ll know something before Singapore so we can make some comment there.”
Many in the paddock also believe that, although McLaren is giving up millions in works Honda backing, the move to Renault is a good idea.
“McLaren is a good racing team, but Honda … I know them well,” former works Honda driver Jacques Villeneuve told AS newspaper. “I do not think they will be successful, and Fernando needs to win.”
“McLaren-Renault will be much better than McLaren-Honda,” the Canadian predicted.