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Fernando Alonso: McLaren driver ‘100% committed’ to staying in F1

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso is 10th in the drivers’ championship going into the final race of the season

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso says he is “100% committed” to staying in Formula 1 and winning a third world title.

The Spaniard was clarifying comments he made to former F1 driver Mark Webber, who has retired after three years in the World Endurance Championship.

He said to Webber: “I will ask you many things when I join your adventure.”

Alonso later said Le Mans was an “attractive challenge” but added: “The first thing I want to do and will do is to win the third world title in F1.”

The 35-year-old has one year left on his McLaren contract and has said he will decide whether to stay in F1 after 2017 once he has experienced the new design of cars that will be introduced next season.

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He described his comments about wanting to race at Le Mans as “nothing new”.

“I am committed to F1 100% next year with the team,” he said. “In the future it is a very attractive challenge and thing to do, the Le Mans 24 Hours, because I like the category and I like the cars.

“But that future, I don’t know if it means in two years’ time, five years’ time or 11 years’ time.”

Alonso, champion in 2005 and 2006, said he felt 2016 had been one of his best seasons in F1.

He has out-qualified team-mate Jenson Button at more than 80% of races where a fair comparison can be made, at an average advantage of 0.34secs.

Alonso is 10th in the drivers’ championship with 53 points, while Button – who will retire at the end of the season – has 21.

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Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso have been McLaren team-mates for the past two seasons

Alonso added: “2012 is probably my best season in F1. Then 2014 could be my second best, and then this one probably will be on the final step of the podium so far in my opinion because I felt very confident with the car in every condition.

“Even the last 10 laps in Brazil I felt really competitive with 40-lap old tyres and things like that.

“That gave me the opportunity to drive on the limit on many occasions and Jenson is an incredible driver. Last year I saw that and experienced it and this year I was able to be in front of him many times.

“I’m happy with the things we have done and the progress of the team as well, a completely different taste this final race in Abu Dhabi compared to 12 months ago when we were disappointed, sad, many things were going on in our heads last year.

“This year everything is optimistic and joy. We know there is still a long way to go to become champions but the feeling is much more happy than last year.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/38096370