Boullier: Alonso wants to stay at McLaren
20 September 2017 – McLaren chief Eric Boullier has claimed that Fernando Alonso "wants to stay" at McLaren for the 2018 season, when the team will use Renault power units.
Honda has again failed to deliver on reliability and performance targets in 2017, after overhauling its power unit, with McLaren currently ninth out of 10 teams in the standings.
After crunch talks, McLaren and Honda agreed to go their separate ways for 2018, with McLaren taking on Renault power, and Honda moving over to Toro Rosso.
McLaren has turned its attention to securing Alonso's services for another season, after confirming its engine situation, and Boullier is hopeful that a deal will come together.
"He is only interested – and he's been saying this for months – in a competitive car. That is for him," Boullier explained in an interview with the official Formula 1 website.
"For us – McLaren – we are happy that the shareholders have made a sporting choice and not a business choice and changed the engine.
"McLaren's DNA is to be competitive – the team has always been in the top three and we belong there again.
"Today we know that we have a decent chassis, which would allow us to be in the top three again with an equal level engine, so for us as a business it is important to be competitive, no matter what role Fernando plays.
"We had to make this decision for us. But if you want to be competitive you not only need an engine, you also need a driver. That is when Fernando comes into the picture.
"We did what we did for McLaren first – but the package includes also the driver."
Asked how close McLaren is with Alonso, he said: "Very close. Fernando wants to stay. You can see it in his body language and the way he speaks.
"There are marketing details that have to be sorted out and that Zak [Brown] is working on."
Alonso said at the Singapore Grand Prix that he wants to gather more information about Renault's potential before he commits to McLaren for 2018.