Report: No get-out clause in Fernando Alonso’s McLaren contract


Any hopes Fernando Alonso may have had of ditching McLaren after just one season and securing a move to world champions Mercedes have been dashed, with the BBC reporting that the Spaniard does not have a get-out clause in his contract.

During the saga surrounding his position with Ferrari towards the end of last season, Alonso appeared to be angling for a move to Mercedes upon the expiration of Lewis Hamilton’s contract at the end of 2015, assuming the Briton did not sign an extension.

Therefore, when he confirmed in December that he would be racing for McLaren in the coming season, many assumed that his contract contained a get-out clause depending on the performance of the British team.

Escape routes such as this are by no means uncommon in F1, with Sebastian Vettel using the clause in his Red Bull contract to walk away from the team at the end of 2014 and join Ferrari.

However, McLaren CEO Ron Dennis told the BBC that Alonso did not have such a clause in his deal with the team.

“No McLaren driver has ever had performance clauses in his contract and that’s the case with Fernando,” he confirmed.

Alonso is believed to have signed a two-year contract with McLaren, taking him to the end of the 2016 season. His return to the team is certainly a bold one following their fall-out in 2007, but as he goes in search of that elusive third world title, the Spaniard knows that all past grievances must be put aside.

At Mercedes, the odds of Lewis Hamilton leaving look slimmer than ever following his emphatic championship win last season. Negotiations are believed to be ongoing, and may have been aided by Hamilton’s recent signing with a new PR firm.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.