McLaren has no doubts Fernando Alonso can handle his World Endurance Championship commitments this season without letting it detract from his 2018 Formula One campaign.
Alonso has signed a deal to contest five WEC races with Toyota for the coming year, including the Le Mans 24 Hours and the 6 Hours of Fuji, which was moved a week forward to avoid a clash with the U.S. Grand Prix. If the current schedule goes to plan, Alonso will have contested 27 races by the end of the year, which he started by appearing at the Dayonta 24 Hours.
Despite suggestions Alonso's F1 form could suffer from his exhausting schedule, McLaren executive director Zak Brown is confident the two-time world champion will rise to the challenge of switching between series.
"No, not at all, because I think what would he be doing on those weekends otherwise?" Brown said. "He wouldn't be testing in a Formula One car, he wouldn't be here on our simulator. There's only so much he can do.
"We've got everything we need out of him on the Formula One front so these are weekends he would either be in a go-kart or golfing or whatever he wants to do, and so he's just going to be in a Toyota WEC car."
"He knows what he's getting into. He's unbelievably prepared. He went from the 24 Hours of Daytona and then went and did a simulator test with Toyota for however long he did in the car. He's back in action and I think he's a very special athlete who can do things that probably most of us around this table would get knackered, but I don't think he would do it if he didn't think he could do it at the highest level."
Brown believes Alonso is one of the few modern-day race drivers who could handle such a demanding season.
"I've never seen anything like it. He races or drives every weekend, half of the time under a different name when he's karting. So he just wants to be in race cars. Kind of like when I'm not at a grand prix, instead of golfing at the weekend I go join one of my United Autosports races because I want to be at the race track.
"So I think it keeps him fresh, it keeps him focused, it's what he wants to do. I think drivers lose motivation before age catches them. I'm not one who subscribes that you have to be 18 to be in Formula One and 20 now is old. I also don't think 36 is old, I think it's all about motivation."
Alonso's full season looks like this:
January 27-28 - Daytona 24 Hours (IMSA) Completed
March 25 - Australian GP (F1)
April 8 - Bahrain GP (F1)
April 15 - Chinese GP (F1)
April 29 - Azerbaijan GP (F1)
May 4 - Six Hours of Spa Francorchamps (WEC)
May 13 - Spanish GP (F1)
May 27 - Monaco GP (F1)
June 10 - Canadian GP (F1)
June 16/17 - 24 Hours of Le Mans (WEC)
June 24 - French GP (F1)
July 1 - Austrian GP (F1)
July 8 - British GP (F1)
July 22 - German GP (F1)
July 29 - Hungarian GP (F1)
August 19 - Six Hours of Silverstone (WEC)
August 26 - Belgian GP (F1)
September 2 - Italian GP (F1)
September 16 - Singapore GP (F1)
September 30 - Russian GP (F1)
October 7 - Japanese GP (F1)
October 14 - Six Hours of Fuji (WEC)
October 21 - U.S. GP (F1)
October 28 - Mexican GP (F1)
November 11 - Brazilian GP (F1)
November 18 - Six Hours of Shanghai (WEC)
November 25 - Abu Dhabi GP (F1)