F1: Fernando Alonso input welcomed by McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz

Ferrari announce the launch date of their 2019 season car

Fernando Alonso
Former McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso is a two-time world champion
(Image credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Fernando Alonso may not be racing in Formula 1 for McLaren next season but the two-time world champion will still be around to pass on valuable knowledge to the team’s new drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.

Alonso’s 17-season F1 career came to an end after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November and in 2019 he is set to focus on the Indianapolis 500 where he will drive for McLaren.

After victories at the F1 Monaco GP and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Alonso needs a win at the Indy 500 to complete motorsport’s triple crown.

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Speaking about Alonso’s continued involvement with the McLaren F1 team, chief executive Zak Brown told F1.com: “I think you’ll see him around McLaren, he remains part of the family, so I think where his influence comes in is helping our two drivers, he knows Carlos pretty well, he’s got to know Lando very well.

“I think there’ll be a big benefit of his experience there, and then with the engineers just helping us all work together and understand what’s next year’s car is doing, and the feedback from the drivers, what would Fernando do in a certain situation, I think that experience will be very valuable to us.”

Brown revealed that the Spaniard could even test the MCL34 2019 car. “Yeah I wouldn’t rule that out,” said the McLaren chief. “We’re still working through [what the plan is]. We know we’re doing Indianapolis together.”

British teenager Norris, 19, agreed that Alonso’s input would be “very valuable” while Sainz, 24, told Autosport.com: “I would see it as a good thing to have a driver like Fernando comparing cars.”

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Ferrari set 2019 car launch date

Ferrari have announced that they will launch their 2019 F1 car on 15 February, three days before pre-season testing starts in Barcelona.

According to F1.com, the Prancing Horse’s new “Project 670” will be the first 2019 car to be revealed ahead of the new season.

In 2019 Sebastian Vettel is joined at the Maranello-based team by Charles Leclerc, who has replaced Kimi Raikkonen.

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