Fernando Alonso has said he has no intention of leaving Ferrari and has reiterated he wants to finish his career with the Scuderia.
Alonso was linked to Mark Webber's seat at Red Bull Racing just prior to the summer break, when the Spaniard's manager, Luis Garcia Abad, was spotted in earnest discussion with Red Bull boss Christian Horner in the Hungaroring paddock.
The rumours - considered quite far-fetched - were swiftly denied, although with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo issuing a warning to his number one driver after he was critical of the team post-Hungary, it appeared, there was a lot of tension in the ranks at Maranello.
Speaking prior to this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Alonso took the opportunity to set the record straight though, and said he doesn't want to break his current contract, which runs until the end of 2016. Indeed he'd actually like to extend it a bit and see out his F1 days with the Prancing Horse.
“It was only rumours, a lot of rumours,” Alonso told the media in Thursday's FIA press conference at Monza. “There were rumours about Red Bull - and in Italy, there were [also] rumours about a sabbatical year. There were so many rumours.
“But I still have three and a half years with Ferrari, which I intend to respect - and hopefully increase a little bit. I'd like to try to finish my career with the best team in the world, which is Ferrari.”
Asked about those reports of taking a year out, Alonso was adamant it was 'never an option' and merely 'paper talk.
“I am in the best moment of my career, with the best experience and performing at the best time. I will not miss any opportunity now. I know I am still in very good shape and will be for maybe four or five years [more]. I will, for sure, give 100 per cent of my passion for motorsport and my career,” he continued.
“After these four or five years I will see what condition I am and if I am performing well. If I am not performing good, maybe I will think [about whether I should continue]. But for the next four or five years I will be 100 per cent committed.”
Pressed on if his decision, announced this week, to bail out an ailing cycling team
will affect his focus, Alonso admitted that while it is an 'ambitious project', he plans to delegate the work for it to 'other people' and that he won't put 'too much of a per cent of his time' into it.
“We [Ferrari] are not achieving the results at the moment,” he continued. “But we are working hard and next year will be completely new rules, which opens the door for many teams to stop the domination of Red Bull.
“We have high hopes for next year's challenge,” he concluded.