SAO PAULO, Brazil - McLaren has warned Fernando Alonso he is running out of time to commit to the British team for the 2015 season.
DEADLINE LOOMS: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso says he's not too concerned if he does not have a seat signed for 2015. Image: AFP / Alexander Nemenov
Media reports suggested Alonso, whose five-year stint at Ferrari appears to be over, will decide to re-join McLaren to spearhead the team's new works Honda era. Italy's Tuttosport said the contract was for two years and be worth the equivalent of R976-million.
'I'VE DECIDED NOTHING'
On a visit to Mexico City's rejuvenated F1 venue for 2015, however, Alonso denied the reports: "There is nothing new. I have decided nothing for next year - nothing is definite. With Ferrari I am seeing what is the best decision for next year, whether I continue or not, but I will try to choose what is best for my future.
"I have something in my head but every week for the past two months there have been these rumours, always with a different team. I respect Ferrari greatly. It is a team that I love. For Ferrari it has been a difficult year and for me it has been five difficult years.
On the face of it, it seems Alonso's only choice is McLaren or a sabbatical, leaving Jenson Button increasingly nervous about the likely end of his F1 career. Former McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen agreed:
"Jenson's behaviour lately reflects a certain loss of confidence. I think when you are striving for success in the long-term, your behaviour looks different."
McLaren acknowledged that it had put Button and Kevin Magnussen in an awkward position as the Alonso talks dragged on.
Team boss Eric Boullier may now be losing patience: "We want to have Fernando's decision between Brazil and Abu Dhabi. We have had good conversations with him, he would fit well with us, and he has signalled that he wants the job.
"However, we want a long-term solution - three years - not just a contract for one."
Honda is making no secret that it wants a driver of Alonso's calibre for 2015. The BBC has reported Alonso is on the verge of agreeing a two-year contract plus an option for 2017.
The Japanese brand's F1 chief, Yasuhisa Arai, said."We cannot comment on the drivers as it is a subject for McLaren and Honda. Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton are very strong drivers and all the teams want them.
"Any one of them has a chance of being in the team in 2015."
The big favourite is clearly Alonso.Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Brazilian F1 GP weekend.
McLaren legend Emerson Fittipaldi said: "There are simply moments in your career when you know that you have to change teams. Fernando has arrived at such a moment."