McLaren is very close to signing Fernando Alonso on for another year, according to Eric Boullier. The racing director of the Woking squad has been working hard to get the Spaniard to stay at the team, as he's grown disgruntled after three years of poor results.
With McLaren announcing that it will part ways with engine supplier Honda at the end of the year, many feel that the allocation of Renault engines will be enough to convince Alonso to stay for next year. However, the double world champion has continuously stated that he will only stay on if he thinks he can win races.
"I'm happy and relieved," Boullier said when asked about the split from Honda. "It's good to know that next year we are going to have a more competitive car - or we hope so. But we have a good base now and all the tools to fight the other teams.
"Now we must focus on closing the deal with Fernando. We are very close to finalising it. We have already agreed the most important points in terms of years and money. It is just a matter of details," Boullier added.
Another detail could be McLaren allowing Alonso to take part in the fabled Le Mans race next year, having already tried his hand at the Indy 500 this year: "I think 2018 is too early for McLaren to be at Le Mans," said executive director Zak Brown. "But we have talked about it with Fernando and if it's something that he would like to do, he would be free to do it in the right circumstances."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing