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Only ‘the name’ the same at McLaren – de la Rosa

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The “only thing” that has survived the sweeping change at McLaren in recent years is “the name”.

That is the claim of the once-great British team’s former long-time test and reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa.

He told AS newspaper: “I don’t know the current McLaren very much.

“There are still fantastic people and I still have friends, but 80pc of the people with whom I had the privilege of working at McLaren are now at Mercedes or Red Bull or Ferrari,” said the Spaniard.

“The McLaren today with Honda, I cannot say anything because I do not know anyone, but the only thing that remains is the name,” he added.

De la Rosa, 46, knows McLaren’s top driver Fernando Alonso well, having also worked with him at Ferrari.

When asked if his Spanish countryman made a clear mistake moving to McLaren-Honda for 2015, de la Rosa answered: “That is a question only he can answer, and knowing him, some day he will.

“I am nobody to judge, but what I can say is that he had to leave Ferrari. That he should then go to McLaren, I cannot judge, but living what I lived in Ferrari it was impossible for both parties,” he added.

Alonso is now clearly on the market for 2018, but given the breakdown of the relationship with Ferrari, de la Rosa is not sure he can contemplate a return.

“I have no idea where Fernando can go and if Ferrari is an option,” he said.

“I think it’s early to think about it and I still see Fernando focused on the McLaren-Honda project.”

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