Rumours have been circulating recently that McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso could sign with United Autosports to race in the Prototype class at the Daytona 24 Hours, as part of the Anglo-American team’s two-car effort. However, United co-owner Richard Dean, told DSC today in Portimao, where the team is in contention for the 2017 ELMS title, that as it stands, there is no deal on the table.
“Everyone keeps talking to me about it, and it’s overshadowed the Di Resta announcement, which was only made yesterday,” Dean said. “If we’d have done a deal with Alonso, we probably would have announced it! Alonso has only just announced his McLaren deal this week, but it’s no secret that Zak (Brown) co-owns this team with me and runs McLaren.
“But I can tell you now that we haven’t signed a deal with Fernando Alonso. Would I want to run him? Of course, I’d want to run him just for 10 laps on a test day if I could.
“Zak mixes in with the F1 paddock, he’s in those circles doing deals, and it’s amazing what he talks about on the other side of the Atlantic. What he’s doing there is another level.
“I don’t mind the rumours though, because it puts us in the spotlight, it’s fantastic. It’s great to think that it would even be a possibility.”
In the past, Alonso has stated publically that Le Mans is on his radar, therefore a run at Daytona with a team affiliated with McLaren would make perfect sense should Alonso want to gain some sportscar experience in preparation for a future trip to La Sarthe. In addition to that, it is notable that the Spaniard announced this weekend that is also not set to compete at the 2018 Indy 500, leaving a gap in the calendar if he is to go racing outside of Formula One.
Coinciding with the speculation, DSC also understands that Dean is set to be in attendance at next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, as part of commitments with United Autosports team sponsors. It therefore wouldn’t be surprising if talks between the two parties about a potential drive in Florida next January took place at that point.
Photo courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography