He won’t be on the grid next season but Fernando Alonso will remain affiliated with McLaren, a proximity Lando Norris welcomes if it can help the team’s progress in 2019.

McLaren will field an all-new driver line-up next year, with Norris racing alongside Carlos Sainz, but chief executive Zak Brown hasn’t dismissed the possibility of Alonso testing the outfit’s 2019 car in the future and providing his input.

Norris views that prospect as useful given the Spaniard’s outstanding experience and talent.

“I think it’ll be very valuable,” said McLaren’s 19-year-old young charger

“He’s obviously got the best idea of how the car’s changed over the years, the best experience of what’s good and what’s bad – a lot more than I do.

“Obviously I don’t know what’s going to happen. He still is part of McLaren, I guess a lot is up to him.”

After 17 years at the pinnacle of motorsport, Alonso will enjoy a bit of relief next season, continuing his involvement with Toyota in the WEC – at least until Le Mans – and tackling the Indy 500 with McLaren for a second time as he pursues his ambition of clinching the Triple Crown.

A return to F1 isn’t in the cards, but Alonso’s schedule could allow him to have a go at some point in the team’s MCL34.

“Of course I would like to have as many days [of testing] as possible but if everyone comes to a decision and thinks it’s for the good of the whole team and his feedback would be just as important as mine or Carlos’, then I think it’s a good thing,” added Norris.

“But I think there’s a long way to go until we see what he wants to do and if he wants to get in an F1 car again.”

©McLaren

Any future involvement of Alonso – if indeed there is one – will likely depend on how efficient McLaren’s 2019 car will turn out to be.

It’s doubtful the Spaniard will be called upon if the team’s MCL34 – largely penned by a new technical staff at Woking – proves reasonably good. 

“I think a lot more is going to happen over the winter,” said Norris.

“Of course a lot of the work’s already been done. I haven’t tested the car for next year yet. I’ve obviously tested little bits, and things throughout the season and of course there’s always development for this year’s car.

“There were a couple of things I was testing for next year, but not too much. I think Rudy [van Buren], Nyck [de Vries], Ollie Turvey, I think they’ve done a lot more than I have lately [in the simulator], because I’ve been doing FP1s and so on for the development for next year.”

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