Belfast Telegraph

Fernando Alonso set for a fast F1 return as mentor to teen sensation Lando Norris

 

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso

By Philip Duncan

Fernando Alonso could be back in a Formula One car as early as next year with McLaren eager for the double world champion to act as a mentor to British teenager Lando Norris.

Alonso, 37, ended his grand prix career at the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi last month.

He will take part in the Indianapolis 500 in May for McLaren, but the struggling team are keen to keep the Spaniard involved in their F1 operation, and want him to test next year's car.

Norris, the talented 19-year-old Englishman who is taking over from Alonso, will form a new-look partnership with Carlos Sainz in 2019.

But Zak Brown, the team's chief executive, said: "I would be very surprised if next season you didn't see Fernando at some Formula One races in and around McLaren, offering his expertise, and that could include him testing the car. I have spoken to Fernando about that and he is very open to it.

"These Formula One world champions, whether it is Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost or Mika Hakkinen, never want to be too far from the Formula One pit lane.

"There is a lot Fernando can contribute experience-wise, and Carlos and Lando are open to any ideas. Fernando knows the team very well. Lando doesn't have that experience.

"Fernando will decide what he wants to do, and that's a decision we will make in the next 30 days."

Alonso's second spell at McLaren coincided with the worst run in the team's history.

McLaren haven't won a race since Lewis Hamilton left in 2012, and recently finished a disappointing sixth in the constructors' championship.

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