Wednesday 24 February 2016

Fernando Alonso Insists Early Mclaren Exit Not On His Agenda

Formular One driver Fernando Alonso has again insisted he will see out his McLaren contract and expressed surprise speculation he could yet take a sabbatical has resurfaced. Alonso who made his first F1 appearance of 2016 on Tuesday at the Barcelona test driving McLaren's new MP4-31 for the first time has a contract runs until the end of 2017.

After his first day in the car, in which the MP4-31 proved its early reliability by racking up 119 laps, Alonso labelled speculation over his future surprise rumours. He said this in a news conference “All week there have been some rumours,when there are too many months with no action on the track there is a dangerous tendency of being creative in the news. It is good we are on track and there are no more rumours”. Asked if he would therefore see out the 2016 season, Alonso replied: Of course and the next one.

Alonso previously denied the prospect of a sabbatical at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP after McLaren chairman Ron Dennis suggested such an idea had been discussed. While Alonso's return to action is still unlikely to quell media speculation, the former world champion said he was pleased F1's long winter break was over and particularly relived to spend so much time on track saying “After probably the longest break I remember, because starting winter testing in the third week of February is a little late compared to previous years, it is good to be back and good to complete a good number of laps, which I missed last year. We did seven laps I think on the first day, 25 the second, 13 the third day and then we went to Australia. By race five or race six we were still discovering little things on the car, which was hurting us a lot in terms of points and performance during the year, so the first priority for the team and this winter was make sure we went through the problems that we had last year and put some solutions. We did, I think, on the reliability side and I'm proud of the team and proud of the job everyone put together in this car. I enjoyed today, but there is performance we need to unlock in the car”.

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