TAKING A BREAK? Ferrari's Fernando Alonso says he's not too concerned if he does not have a seat signed for 2015. Image: AFP / Alexander Nemenov
SOCHI, Russia - Ferrari's Fernando Alonso has played down speculation that he could take a year out of Formula One next season.
Asked how much of a danger there was that he could end up without a seat in 2015, the double World champion told reporters at the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday: "Probably not a big risk".
Rumours about the Spaniard's future moved into overdrive after quadruple World champion Sebastian Vettel announced last week that he was leaving Red Bull at the end of the 2014 season.
Red Bull principal Christian Horner told reporters in Japan at the time that Vettel was headed for Ferrari but the Italian team has not confirmed anything and nor has the 26-year-old German.
Alonso is widely expected to move to McLaren, who is starting a new partnership with Honda in 2015 and want a marquee signing, but speculation has also linked him to Mercedes for 2016.
If that is the case, he could be seeking a one-year deal for 2015 with the possibility of moving to Mercedes should Lewis Hamilton move on. Nico Rosberg, the team's other driver, has a longer contract.
Hamilton, the 2008 champion who is leading Rosberg in the drivers' standings after winning eight of 15 races, has a contract for 2015 and has yet to agree on an extension. He told reporters in Sochi that he wanted to wait until after the championship was over to avoid unnecessary distraction.
Hamilton said: "I am aware there is a lot of talk and a lot of people trying to influence the situation but I have told the team I am committed to them and they have told me they are committed to me so I am fairly relaxed."
Alonso's other options could also include Lotus, who was previously the Renault team with whom he won his two titles and who will have Mercedes engines in 2015 in a major break with the past.
In Japan last week the Spaniard said his future was "very open. There are many possibilities. Everything is going according to plan and let's wait and see". Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Russian GP this weekend.