Pedro de la Rosa appears to have poured fuel on the fire surrounding Prodrive's expected entry into Formula One next season, by claiming that he will remain with McLaren.

The Spaniard, reckoned to be among the best development drivers in F1 but implicated in the espionage scandal that rocked the Woking team this year, had been linked to one of the two Prodrive seats for 2008, based on the fact that the Banbury equipe has long been expected to announce a deal to run customer McLarens in its debut F1 season.

However, following on from last week's rumours that the deal between the two motorsport giants was off - a storyline denied by Prodrive - and amid rumours that the whole issue of 'customer cars' is likely to end up in a court of arbitration, de la Rosa has added to the speculation by telling the Spanish media that he will be a part of McLaren's effort to reclaim the two F1 world titles in 2008.

"I have two years more on my contract and I am very I happy in this team," he was quoted by Marca, "My future is connected with this team, and I am very pleased to be with a very strong team that wins races."

de la Rosa admitted that he could understand why his name had been linked to the Prodrive operation, but hinted that the deal was unlikely to come off.

"That was an option, but things have cooled a lot," he maintained, "It had logic because I have work on the development of the current cars and, for [Prodrive], it would have been good to have a pilot who knows them well. But I doubt that it will happen now."

The Spaniard also denied that his involvement in the espionage row - where it was proved that he had distributed information about Ferrari's F20007 between disgraced designer Mike Coughlan and Fernando Alonso - would affect his role with McLaren.

"In 2008 and 2009, I am going to be with McLaren because I have a contract with them," he repeated, "I am happy here and they respect me. My relationship with the team is excellent - as usual."

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