Fernando Alonso unveiled as McLaren ambassador, will test F1 car in 2019

McLaren has confirmed Fernando Alonso will test its 2019 Formula One car at some point this year.

Alonso stepped away from a racing role for this season but has remained affiliated with the team, which he will contest his second Indy 500 with in May. There had been speculation Alonso could test McLaren's current car, the MCL34, during pre-season testing in Barcelona.

That will not happen, but on Wednesday the team announced he will get the chance to sample the car at a currently unspecified date "to support the development of the MCL34 and MCL35 for 2020". The role includes the two-time world champion becoming a brand ambassador for McLaren.

"Fernando is part of the McLaren family," CEO Zak Brown said. "He has set his place in the team's history and continues to write his chapter of the McLaren story, so it is entirely appropriate that we formalise his status as a McLaren ambassador, joining another double champion, Mika Häkkinen.

"For any race team, having someone of Fernando's class on hand to provide support through his experience is of huge value. His insights and perspective will be welcomed by both our drivers and engineers alike, while his stature and character remain highly appealing to our partners and fans."

Alonso has made no secret of his desire to continue his affiliation with McLaren and has hinted that he would make a comeback in F1 if the team returned to competitiveness.

"Becoming a McLaren ambassador is a true honour," Alonso said.

"It is a special team, and despite the challenges we have endured recently, it remains so. I said before I stopped racing in Formula One last year that I see myself with McLaren for a long-time to come, so I am delighted at this new role and the ability to stay closely involved with the team I feel is my spiritual home.

"We have the Indianapolis 500 in May of course, which I am looking forward to immensely, but this is just the beginning of many things we can do together. I am particularly passionate about nurturing young talent, whether that's with my own team or helping the new generation of Formula 1 drivers at McLaren unlock their true potential. This is important to both the team and myself, so will be an especially rewarding part of my role."

On Tuesday, the Spaniard confirmed he will carry the number 66 on his car for this year's Indy 500. He drove the 29 car on his debut at the famous oval race in 2017. If Alonso can claim victory at the Brickyard he will become only the second driver (after Graham Hill) to complete motor racing's Triple Crown -- Indy is the final piece of the puzzle which includes the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours, both of which the Spaniard has won.