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McLaren optimistic Alonso will stay in 2018

From ESPN - July 16, 2017

SILVERSTONE -- McLaren is confident Fernando Alonso will remain with the team in 2018 following an encouraging dinner meeting between senior management and the Spaniard ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Alonso's future has been the subject of intense debate ever since Honda's third consecutive uncompetitive and unreliable power unit was rolled out in winter testing. Despite being held in high regard by pundits and his peers, his prospects away from McLaren do not look good, with Renault seemingly the only other likely destination in Formula One.

Uncertainty over his future, and Alonso's decision to skip this year's Monaco Grand Prix to compete with McLaren at the Indy 500, has also prompted speculation of a sabbatical, with the 2019 driver market likely to be wider open. Team executive director Brown is hopeful Alonso will be staying put next year.

"We had a great dinner with Fernando -- and he even picked up the bill," Brown said. "We have a good understanding with Fernando, and he loves the environment. Stoffel [Vandoorne] is also doing a great job, given very difficult circumstances for a rookie, so I like where we are on the driver front."

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