Getty Images

With Renault F1 deal confirmed, McLaren’s attention turns to Alonso

Leave a comment

McLaren executive director Zak Brown will turn his attention to Formula 1 contract talks with Fernando Alonso in the coming weeks after resolving the team’s engine saga for 2018.

McLaren announced on Friday it would be parting company with struggling power unit partner Honda at the end of the season, switching to a customer supply from Renault on a three-year deal.

McLaren’s F1 management has spent much of this year working to resolve its engine struggles and become more competitive, with the lack of success on-track being a regular source of frustration for lead driver Alonso.

Out of contract at the end of the season, Alonso said on Thursday in Singapore he was still weighing up a number of options for next year, but Brown is hopeful of extending the Spaniard’s contract into 2018.

“We’re going to turn our attention to Fernando now. We’ve been speaking a lot, he’s been waiting to see what technical solution we came up with,” Brown said.

“He won his two championships with Renault. He’s very happy with the racing team, we’re very happy with him.

“So I think in the not-too-distant future we should be able to get something done and that’ll be the last big piece of the puzzle.

“Then I’ve got to find us some sponsorship with our commercial team and get ready for next year.”

Top Fuel driver Austin Prock earns 2019 NHRA top rookie honors

NHRA
Leave a comment

Having just completed a promising first year in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Austin Prock is on the road to even greater drag racing success in his career.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Prock was named the winner of the 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award during Monday night’s annual NHRA Awards dinner at the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

The Road to the Future Award is NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year, and Prock was among the brightest young stars on the circuit this past season, including winning his first national event at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle, the 16th race on the 24-race schedule.

What made that first win all the more sweeter is it came at the same event that his boss, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, captured his milestone 150th career win.

One month ago, Prock set a personal best run of 3.688 seconds at 334.40 mph over veteran driver Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals three weeks ago in Ennis, Texas (suburban Dallas).

“I am proud of the season this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team put together,” Prock said in a media release. “My guys worked their asses off all season long to give me the opportunity to win the Auto Club Road the Future Award. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I would have never been here without John Force and Robert Hight (president of John Force Racing). They gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I owe the world to them. I hope I made them proud.”

Prock became only the 10th rookie in the history of the NHRA pro ranks to both win a race in their first season and also go on to win the Road to the Future award. He also was the 13th rookie in the sport’s history to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

Prock becomes the sixth John Force Racing driver to earn the Road to the Future Award, joining Tony Pedregon (1996), Hight (2005), Ashley Force-Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008), Courtney Force (2012) and Brittany Force (2013).

Austin Prock is the son of veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock, who tuned Hight to his third career NHRA Funny Car championship this past Sunday.

Follow @JerryBonkowski