Alonso rules out leaving McLaren for Mercedes
Fernando Alonso has put paid to rumours that he could be headed for Mercedes next season by restating his commitment to McLaren on a visit to the team’s UK factory on Tuesday.
According to media speculation, Alonso was on Mercedes’ list of potential replacements for Nico Rosberg, who announced his F1 retirement earlier this month after landing the 2017 drivers’ championship.
However, speaking to staff at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, the Spaniard dismissed the reports, insisting his sole objective is to win the world championship with the Honda-powered squad.
"I believe in this project." Fernando address the team at MTC today on his commitment to achieving his ultimate goal at #McLarenHonda. pic.twitter.com/PDwyJZo2si
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) December 13, 2016
Alonso returned to McLaren for the 2015 season, having previously raced for them as team mate to Lewis Hamilton in 2007. Teething problems with Honda’s new power unit made for a tough campaign last year, and though strong progress was made in 2016, his best results were fifth places in Monaco and Austin.
Nevertheless, some typically feisty drives regularly illustrated that Alonso has lost none of the fire that won him two world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006, prompting Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff to concede that he was a driver one had to consider for Rosberg’s vacant seat.
With Alonso out of the running, Mercedes reserve (and 2016 Manor racer) Pascal Wehrlein and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas are now the leading favourites to join the world champions for 2017.