Alonso questions Dennis ‘sabbatical’ talk

Fernando Alonso has questioned McLaren CEO Ron Dennis’ comments about the Spaniard possibly taking a sabbatical in 2016 should next year’s McLaren-Honda be uncompetitive.

Alonso denies that a sabbatical is an option, and insists he will be on the grid next year, and wants to be a part of the team as they improve following their extremely disappointing 2015 season.

“I will be on the grid,” revealed Alonso. “I have been answering the same question to all of your [media] colleagues. When Ron says something you have the perfect opportunity to clarify some of his quotes.

“I don’t know what is the intention behind it or what he means, but of course we all want to improve. We want to put the car in winter testing to see how competitive we are and we are hoping for the best.

“This is a better question for Ron, for him to clarify. I have nothing to say. We have a tough winter in front of us improving the car and hopefully when we put the new McLaren on track it will be competitive enough and we will enjoy next year.”

Alonso was disappointed to suffer a puncture during his final qualifying lap, especially when he felt he had the opportunity to join team-mate Jenson Button in Q2 as the team looked relatively competitive at the Yas Marina Circuit compared to many of the other circuits this season.

“Our car has performed better in every session than we initially anticipated,” said Alonso. “So it was cruel luck to get a puncture at possibly the most critical point of the whole weekend – the final run of Q1.

“That was unfortunate, because we’d been looking very competitive, and our car seems to be performing quite well around here.

“The race will be difficult owing to our straight-line speed deficit, but I’ll be aiming to make a good start, run a good strategy, and make up some positions. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”