Fernando Alonso has dismissed suggestions that he will quit midway through F1 2017 season amid Honda’s continued struggles.
Expectations were high from McLaren’s engine partner Honda to deliver the step it needed to catch runaway rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault in 2017.
Although regulations have been loosened this year to allow manufacturers to close the gap with the withdrawal of ‘engine token’ systems, Honda appears to have fallen further behind its rivals over the winter.
However, Alonso, whose contract with McLaren expires at the end of the year, has made it clear that he will see out the season, insisting he is performing at his very best.
"No, definitely not true," Alonso said in response to rumours that he will quit before the end of the season. "It's normal from the outside that drivers speak and I have read comments from many people, and in Spain also if one ex-driver or motorbike rider they have one question, that is also about Alonso. How do they see the situation? And everyone seems to be quite close to me and I have a depression!"
"But it's not like that. In Formula 1 I am delivering at my best, I'm more prepared than ever and I perform at my best. The team is not very competitive now, okay that's true and there is not much we can do from one day to another, it's hard work."
Instead of walking away from the sport, Alonso feels McLaren needs him to deliver that extra bit during what is clearly a difficult time for one of F1’s most successful squads.
“At the same time, I think that the team is expecting an extra job from me now, an extra result, as we did in Australia where the predictions and simulations said we were last and we were 10th. In China, if the prediction says we are last, hopefully Alonso is in the points."
by Rachit Thukral