Ron Dennis insists Fernando Alonso will partner Jenson Button in 2016
McLaren boss said on Saturday a sabbatical for the Spaniard was a possibility if their new car does not represent significant progress
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 29/11/15 5:56pm
McLaren boss Ron Dennis has insisted Fernando Alonso will partner Jenson Button in 2016.
Dennis had told reporters on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi that a sabbatical for the Spaniard next season was a possibility if the team's new car does not represent significant progress.
But speaking to Sky Sports F1 ahead of the season finale, Dennis explained that his words had been taken out of context.
"Fernando's in the car next year," he said. "He told everybody yesterday. Somebody asked me whether it was feasible he could have a sabbatical year and I said anything's feasible; we talk about it being one of the options.
"But the same journalist forgets that I said at the end of it 'but Fernando and Jenson are driving next year'.
"So off goes the story when in reality I made it explicitly clear yesterday, as I am now, that the two drivers for next year are Jenson and Fernando."
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Speaking after qualifying 17th for the Abu Dhabi GP, Alonso was asked if he would consider taking a year off - although his reply fell short of a definitive denial. "No, not really," he told Sky Sports F1.
Speaking to reporters later on Saturday night, the Spaniard gave a more detailed, if not emphatic, answer to the same question.
"That's not the plan [to take a year off]. The plan is to work very hard," he said. "I have a seat fit on Wednesday, for example, so there are not really any holidays until Christmas time because there are important things to be done now in the next couple of weeks. In the simulator and in the programme.
"So definitely my intention and my aim is to race next year and to win next year - or at least to be competitive. So that's the plan."