McLaren staff departing to make way for team Alonso

On the surface and officially, Fernando Alonso is still deciding if he should leave Ferrari for another team, but behind the scenes, the Spaniard’s switch to McLaren-Honda for next year is definitely done.

It is believed he will be at Woking on Wednesday, where the multi-year contract with suitable exit clauses and valued at up to $43 million per season may be signed, thereafter an announcement before the season finale in Abu Dhabi is expected.

There are other signs that the Alonso move is definitely happening. It has emerged this week that the 33-year-old could be taking his Ferrari race engineer, Andrea Stella, with him to McLaren.

With sporting director Sam Michael leaving at the end of this season, Autosprint now reports that up to 15 McLaren employees are also leaving, with correspondent Alberto Antonini suggesting the British team is making room for Alonso and his team.

Massimo Rivola with Sebastian Vettel

Indeed, there are reports suggesting the Spaniard will also be taking Ferrari’s sporting director Massimo Rivola with him and several other engineers including Edoardo Brosco.

Marca, meanwhile, reports that the Spanish mobile phone operator Movistar is keen to link up with Alonso to McLaren, following several meetings between representatives of both sides.

Finally, a McLaren source has denied reports that what amounts to a B-car penned by new team aerodynamics chief Peter Prodromou will be taken to Abu Dhabi and tested in Friday practice.

The source said it is spot-on to surmise that Sky reporter misinterpreted Spanish reports that said McLaren’s Honda-powered interim car may make its debut at the post-race Abu Dhabi test.

When asked about the Honda car, team boss Eric Boullier had told the Marca daily in Brazil: “We will take the decision in ten days but it [the debut] could be in Abu Dhabi. If we are not ready then we go to plan B or C.”

The McLaren source said the decision about whether to take the Honda car to Abu Dhabi for the post-race test has not yet been taken.