Alonso wants more information before signing new contract

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Singapore Grand Prix
© XPB 

Confirmation that McLaren is to part company with engine supplier Honda at the end of 2018 is widely believed to be one of the big factors determining whether Fernando Alonso will stay with the team for another season.

Alonso wants to go to a team offering a race-winning car. The question is whether McLaren's switch to Renault power is enough to satisfy the two-time world champion's demands.

"I don't have data about what Renault expects and the improvements it has planned for next year," Alonso said on Friday ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

"After this race I'll try to find out and get in touch with them to know more about their plans, and from there make a decision.

"You never know if it's the good move or the bad move for the team," he added. "But if McLaren thought that it was time to split with Honda and go for Renault, it's because they have good information about next year."

Ironically, McLaren enjoyed a positive second free practice in Singapore just hours after formally announcing its split from Honda.

Alonso finished the session seventh fastest. His rookie team mate Stoffel Vandoorne was just ahead with an edge of three tenths of a second.

"Our performance today was good," said Alonso. "Basically in line with what we were expecting around here. We knew that, at this track, we were going to be more competitive than we were at Spa and Monza.

“We got both cars into the top ten today. I hope we can achieve that tomorrow in qualifying and then again in Sunday’s race.

“We need those points," he emphasised. "We’re ninth in the constructors’ championship. Every opportunity we get to score points, we need to grab with both hands."

Vandoorne said that it had been "a very positive Friday", especially given that it's his first time driving around the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

“I was discovering this track for the first time during FP1, and I got to grips with it quite quickly today," said the Belgian driver. "On paper, it looks like it’s been a particularly good day."

However Vandoorne pointed out that his high position on Friday's timesheets were in part due to a strangely poor day for Ferrari who would normally feature at the top of the timings.

"The two Ferraris didn’t appear to have an ideal session and ended FP2 behind us," he said. "They probably have something more in hand for tomorrow.

"But hopefully we can still translate today’s pace into qualifying."

Vandoorne's performance in practice drew particular praise from McLaren racing director Eric Boullier.

"He drove exceptionally well today," said Boullier. "He’s never driven at this track before, was immediately on the pace, didn’t make any mistakes, and ended the day an impressive sixth fastest today. That’s extremely impressive.

"Both drivers were relatively satisfied with the balance of their cars," he added. "We have a solid basis for making progress overnight ahead of tomorrow’s critical qualifying session.

"A good grid position will be essential ahead of this long and difficult race on Sunday."

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