Fernando Alonso reaffirms commitment to McLaren for 2017
Spaniard tells team workforce his "only goal" is to win with McLaren
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 15/12/16 3:37pm
Fernando Alonso has reaffirmed his commitment to McLaren in an address to the team's workforce.
The two-time world champion was immediately linked with the Mercedes seat vacated by Nico Rosberg when the German stunned F1 by announcing his retirement two weeks ago.
Although Alonso is under contract for one more season at McLaren, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff admitted to Sky F1 that "you have to consider Fernando". However, both new McLaren boss Zak Brown and Flavio Briatore, Alonso's manager, have since insisted the Spaniard is not seeking a move away.
Alonso attended McLaren's Woking headquarters on Tuesday for a 2017 seat fit and engineering meetings and, in a post on Twitter, the team quoted the Spaniard as saying: "I believe in this project, I'm committed and I want to be world champion with McLaren-Honda.
"That's my only goal."
Mercedes have identified Williams' Valtteri Bottas as their number one target to replace Rosberg for 2017, but Sky Sports understands the Grove team have rejected the world champions' initial approach for their driver.
Negotiations are understood to be ongoing with Williams, who Mercedes supply with engines. The Grove team are likely to be seeking a significant financial settlement if they are to countenance losing the experience of the 27-year-old Bottas from their line-up.
Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein, who remains in the running for Rosberg's vacated seat himself, is also thought to have been offered to Williams as a replacement for Bottas.
The odds on Alonso replacing Rosberg have drifted in recent days following the comments by first Brown and then Briatore.