Alonso dismisses McLaren talk
Fernando Alonso has no intention of returning to McLaren and instead is determined to extend what he claims is a love affair with Ferrari.
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Six years after Alonso departed McLaren in acrimonious circumstances, team principal Martin Whitmarsh openly revealed on Friday his desire to have the Spaniard back at Woking.
Whimtmarsh has pounced on speculation and the observations of others suggesting Alonso's partnership with Kimi Raikkonen from next season is potentially going to be explosive.
Alonso, who has three years remaining on his current Ferrari contract, has seemingly killed the rumours of a potential switch to McLaren stone dead - at least for this season.
Asked whether a move to McLaren was attractive, Alonso replied: "Not really. I love Ferrari and I want to stay until the end.
"It's nice to hear comments from all the teams and team principals every year saying they respect my job, my professionalism, and especially from McLaren.
"There were so many rumours we had a lot of problems that year (in 2007). I have always said I had no problems with anyone.
"It was just the philosophy of the team, and one man in the team no longer there (former team principal Ron Dennis).
"It's good to have this compliment, but there is no intention. Three more years in Ferrari and I hope many more to come. If we can extend the contract, that will be my focus."
Despite Alonso's remarks, it is known he has grown frustrated at the team's failure to assist him to win his third world title.
There are also speculative rumblings Ferrari are struggling to adapt to the new powertrain regulations that come into force next season, and that is also making Alonso nervous.
Throw in the rare high-profile public condemnation Alonso faced from president Luca Di Montezemolo earlier this season after he dared to criticise the car, and it is no wonder the speculation is rife.
Ferrari's decision to hire Raikkonen and get rid of Felipe Massa, who has long played a subservient role at Maranello, has added fuel to the fire.
Accustomed to number one status and having Massa strategically aid his cause in grands prix, Alonso knows he would receive no assistance from Raikkonen who prefers to plough his own furrow.
Yet the 32-year-old maintains he is happy to have Raikkonen as a team -mate, adding: "I pushed a lot for that decision and finally they took him. It's good.
"I've had four fantastic years with Felipe, and when the team decided to change, Kimi - in my opinion and the team's opinion - was the best option.
"What we need to do now is try to possess the team championship, and next year we will see."
Whitmarsh earlier confirmed to indirect talks taking place, making clear Alonso was an option to replace Sergio Perez.
"Are we interested in Fernando? Yes. Any team would be. I'd be delighted to speak to him," said Whitmarsh.
"Why is there an issue? A lot of observers don't believe the driver line-up Ferrari will have is potentially going to be sustainable. That's why people are speculating.
"So we're only stating the obvious, and that's why it's not such a revelation.
"Fernando is also under contract, but we're open to the opportunity, as we've proven in the past.
"No one expected Jenson (Button) to come to us when he did. Bringing in JB was something I was delighted to do, so to bring in another top name would be fantastic.
"But in all probability, our driver line-up will remain unchanged next year, let's be honest about it, but you never know.
"Out two guys have worked hard and well through a difficult season, they deserve another go, so we'll see what happens."
Behind the scenes, though, it is understood the team are willing to make a change as Perez has failed to impress this year since joining them from Sauber as replacement for Lewis Hamilton.
With Button signed for next year, but unconfirmed by the team, Perez is now a man under pressure.
"He (Perez) has a tremendous benchmark in Jenson who is a consistent, great quality driver, a team player, and who brings a huge amount of other benefits to our team," said Whitmarsh.
"If you're a young charger like Sergio, he and I know he has to come in and beat him, and he hasn't done that consistently enough so far this year."
Asked as to a timeframe on any decision, Whitmarsh replied: "We'll know in the next few weeks about next year at least."