With the future of Fernando Alonso still unclear, McLaren could be now just days away from announcing a new deal for Fernando Alonso. Team boss Eric Boullier said earlier at Suzuka that he expects the Spaniard to eventually sign a 2018 contract. Marca sports newspaper quoted Alonso as saying: "Next week I think everything will be clearer."
Alonso's former Renault teammate, Nelson Piquet Jr, commented: "Alonso is a great guy. For me he is one of the best drivers on the grid and we keep in touch. He continues to perform at a high level at his age. He really has had not many options. In the end he has no choice but to stay in McLaren."
Alonso will start the Japanese Grand Prix from the back of the field after picking up a 35-place grid penalty for taking on more engine components. Despite qualifying tenth, the Spaniard said he knew the session would be pointless for him.
"Knowing that we’d be starting last after changing the engine last night, meant qualifying wasn’t too important for us. Still, despite the penalty, we wanted to have a normal qualifying session and push; we have so many fans here – so many Honda supporters – and I think we succeeded and did a decent job.
"Points would have been a difficult target even on a normal weekend, but since we’re starting last, on a track with so many high-speed corners where you can’t easily follow the cars in front, we’ll need a lot of action in front of us if we want to make up some positions."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing