Alonso and McLaren Deny Dramatic Split, Call Rumors of Breakup ‘Fake News’: Report
McLaren CEO Zak Brown reportedly shot down reports that the star driver had left the organization while Alonso also laughed it off on Twitter.
Reports flooded in on Friday that McLaren and star driver Fernando Alonso had officially severed ties following a five-year and admittedly tumultuous relationship, the most recent chapter being the team's failure to qualify at the 2019 Indianapolis 500. International outlets claimed that both parties had agreed to split and work independently of one another, ending what's been the racing world's most back-and-forth affair in recent memory. However, as McLaren CEO Zak Brown and even Alonso himself have since revealed, these allegations are all "fake news."
Motor Sport Magazine published an article to its website on July 5, alluding that Alonso was done altogether with the historic Woking-based organization. Citing a quote from McLaren, the British publication broadcasted to the world that Alonso was now free to join another team should he be given the opportunity.
Here's the quote which was reportedly issued by a McLaren spokesperson:
"Fernando, like all McLaren drivers past and present, will always be part of the McLaren family and we have a strong relationship with him."
"We have no plans to run him in any further F1 test sessions this year as our focus remains on both Carlos [Sainz] and Lando [Norris]. He is free to pursue other opportunities in motorsport and we would support him in doing so."
While this could easily be mistaken for a contract nullification, it actually only pertained to driving roles for the 2019 season and, depending on decisions between McLaren and Alonso, beyond.
In fact, Alonso is still signed with McLaren in a brand ambassador role which he has retained since leaving Formula 1 at the end of 2018.
Jenna Fryer, a motorsport journalist with the Associated Press, tweeted Friday afternoon with news from Zak Brown:
And just prior to that, Alonso took to Twitter to laugh off the rumor saying that the original report was a result of "#inventing" for "#clicks."
The Drive has reached out to McLaren in hopes of clarification on the subject.
As for now, it appears that nothing has changed and 'Nando—a two-time Formula 1 and 24 Hours of Le Mans champion—is free to continue, as he has been. While he hasn't confirmed any upcoming driving ventures, it's expected he will return to Indy in search of motorsport's Triple Crown. But with who? That remains to be seen.