Despite only signing a one-year contract extension earlier in the day, Fernando Alonso has said that he wants to finish his career at McLaren after agreeing a ‘long-term partnership’ with the British F1 team.
Speculation had been mounting as to whether Alonso would be renewing his deal after three disappointing seasons and a heap of engine issues while at McLaren, but ahead of the United States Grand Prix this weekend, it was announced that an extension had been finalised.
The deal is believed to be initially just for a year but with an option to extend it further and Alonso himself has hinted he would be ‘very happy’ to retire with his current employers.
“We don’t talk about contract clauses but it’s more of a long-term partnership. I would be extremely happy to finish my career in McLaren,” he told Sky Sports.
“I don’t think it’s going to be one year.”
The engine issues McLaren have been suffering from all season are believed to have played a key part in Alonso considering his future.
McLaren, however, have subsequently changed their engine suppliers from Honda to Renault ahead of the 2018 season, which has likely given the Spaniard reason to stick around.
Alonso, who won his two world championships driving cars with Renault engines, has told of his excitement of working with the same suppliers again (who also supply engines for Red Bull) after three years with Honda failed to land McLaren a single podium position.
"I took my time to really study everything that I could and we see in the last races that Red Bull were on the podium with both cars in Malaysia and Suzuka," Alonso added.
"We know what the Renault engine can do and that gives us extra confidence."
Despite the run of poor form and bad luck over the 2017 season, Alonso insists that his team hasn’t ‘forgotten how to win’.
He added: “McLaren has the technical resource and financial strength to be able to very quickly win races and world championships in F1. Although the last few years have not been easy, we have never forgotten how to win, and I believe we can achieve that again soon.
"After summer break, maybe about Spa and Monza, I was ready to make an extension of the contract."