With words that will gladden the hearts of Ferrari fans worldwide, Fernando Alonso has finally responded to rumours suggesting he would leave the Scuderia.
The Spaniard is contesting his fifth season with the Prancing Horse, and is once again enduring another trying season where he has claimed just two podium finishes and is well out of contention to claim a coveted third Drivers’ Championship title. He has finished runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship three times, in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
His ongoing frustrations are well-documented, triggering the latest round of ‘silly season’ rumours which suggested he would look to join a team capable of delivering him a car that could challenge for the World Championship.
Former employer McLaren – with whom he spent a tumultuous season in 2007 – has publicly indicated its desire to sign a top-line driver like Alonso onto its driving roster, triggering speculation that Alonso could seek to exit his current contract at Ferrari, which expires at the end of next year.
One rumour suggests that McLaren boss Ron Dennis – with whom Alonso had a massive falling out during their single season together – has offered the Spaniard a whopping $32 million a year deal to jump ship.
Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci even went so far as to confirm that Alonso and teammate Kimi Räikkönen would remain with the team next year, and Alonso has subsequently echoed those comments in an interview with SKY Sports.
“It’s not my intention at the moment to move, I want to win here and finish the job that we start some years ago,” the veteran said.
“There has been a lot of talk since last summer but from my mouth there never came any interest to leave or any words saying I would join another team.
“There was a lot of speculation, which is not disturbing but it created a little bit of tension. Yet you also feel happy and proud that the best teams have an interest in you.”
Alonso is typically a straight shooter with the media, so his choice of words – “at the moment” – is interesting in itself. Read into it what you will…
While both Ferrari drivers are technically under contract for the 2015 season, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport is claiming that a clause in Alonso’s contract opens up a potential early exit if he is not within 25 points of the championship leader by the end of August. Currently, Alonso lies almost 100 points adrift of championship leader Nico Rosberg.
This weekend’s Italian Grand Prix is typically the point at which Ferrari confirms its line-up for the following year, even if Mattiacci might be claiming that the team will have nothing to announce.
Images via XPB Images