Fernando Alonso has poured cold water on media speculation that he may be about to ditch Ferrari for a shock return to McLaren, insisting that he will see out his current deal at Maranello.
Kimi Raikkonen's impending return to the Scuderia has prompted suggestions that the Spaniard will look to move on, especially given that the #1 status he has enjoyed alongside Felipe Massa will cease to exist with the Finn in the other car, and comments from McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh in Singapore did little to quell the gossip, among the media at least.
"I think most teams up and down this pit-lane would happily sign Fernando Alonso - he's a very talented driver,” the Briton told various outlets on Friday, "I expect our driver line-up to stay the same, but we are open to anything. In the longer term, [Alonso would] be a great asset. I think Fernando's in control of his own destiny, but we'll see..."
With neither Jenson Button nor Sergio Perez officially confirmed for 2014, Whitmarsh's comments appeared to carry some intent, but Alonso has since dismissed the chances of returning to Woking, where he endured an acrimonious 2007 season alongside Lewis Hamilton that ultimately saw Raikkonen, in his first Ferrari stint, claim the world title by a single point.
"There were so many rumours that we had a lot of problems that year, but I always say that I had no problems with anyone,” Alonso said of his time at McLaren, “It was just the philosophy of the team and especially one man [former team principal Ron Dennis
] in the team that is not there [now].”
While intimating that there would be no problem returning to the British team – a move already made more unlikely by McLaren's poor form in 2013 – Alonso was quick to insist that his loyalty to Ferrari was as strong as ever, claiming that the signing of Raikkonen as his team-mate was the 'best option' for the Prancing Horse.
"I repeat more or less every weekend that I love Ferrari and I will stay in Ferrari until the end," he emphasised, "It is good to have these comments [from other team principals], but there is no intention [to move on].
"I have three more years with Ferrari and I hope many more to come if we can extend the contract."