Fernando Alonso reveals he has made a 'long-term' commitment to his new F1 team
Spaniard poised to partner either Magnussen or Button in 2015
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 24/11/14 7:08am
Fernando Alonso has revealed he has made a long-term commitment to his new team ahead of his expected move to McLaren-Honda
The Spaniard’s long-anticipated exit from Ferrari was made public ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP and, while his return to McLaren is yet to be officially confirmed, it’s understood that Alonso will partner either Jenson Button or Kevin Magnussen in 2015.
It’s been widely speculated that Alonso was holding out for a one-year deal with McLaren-Honda so that, in the event of a vacancy arising at Mercedes, he would be able to join F1’s new superpower for 2016. However, while stopping short of confirming he will be spearheading McLaren’s reunion with engine partners Honda, Alonso has disclosed that he will stay with his new team beyond 2015.
“Now it’s time to look to the future with optimism and prepare for 2015 in a better way,” Alonso told Sky Sports F1 after finishing his final race in Ferrari colours just ninth.
“We need to see how things go for everyone next year. Mercedes definitely have a big advantage and they will probably carry this advantage into next year. But I will join a project that is not for next year only, it is a long-term relationship and it is a project which will hopefully challenge Mercedes soon and this is why I have made this decision.”
According to Sky sources, Alonso’s deal with McLaren-Honda has been ‘concluded’, although an announcement confirming the team’s 2015 driver line-up will not be made before December. Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle believes the two-time World Champion would prefer to be partnered by Button, and the Englishman’s future may be dependent on the amount of sponsorship Alonso will bring to McLaren next term.
“I am looking forward to the future with enthusiasm because when you join a new project it is because you think it is better,” added Alonso.
The 33-year-old ends 2014 sixth in the Drivers’ Championship with three times as many points as team-mate Kimi Raikkonen following his comprehensive thrashing of the Finn during their solitary year together.
"After five years it’s time to move. It’s enough for me. Looking at the future, looking at the prospects, looking at the direction that things are going, I’m probably not so convinced," Alonso told Sky F1 about his decision to quit Ferrari.