|© AP Photo/Wong Maye-E
Fernando Alonso is flattered that McLaren have expressed interest in signing him but said Friday he remains committed to Ferrari and intends to finish his Formula 1 career with the Italian team.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh raised eyebrows ahead of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix when he publicly flagged his interest in luring the Spaniard back to McLaren, where he spent one unhappy year in 2007.
"Most teams up and down this pit lane would happily sign Fernando Alonso," Whitmarsh said Friday in an interview with Sky Sports. "He's a very talented driver.
"We are open to anything and in the longer term then he'd be a great asset. Fernando's in control of his own destiny, but we'll see."
However, Alonso quickly ended the speculation when asked after Friday's practice sessions at the Marina Bay circuit.
"It is good to have these comments, but I have no intention (of leaving)," Alonso said. "I have three more years with Ferrari and I hope many more to come if we can extend the contract and that will be my hope.
"I keep repeating every weekend -- and I don't know why I have to keep repeating -- I love Ferrari and I will stay in Ferrari until the end."
The one thing that Whitmarsh's comments showed was that there was no lingering animosity between McLaren and Alonso after the tumultuous infighting of 2007 between the Spaniard and then McLaren team principal Ron Dennis, with rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton stuck in the middle.
"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. "It was just the philosophy of the team or rather one man in the team that is no longer there."
The renewed speculation about Alonso being unsettled at Maranello was sparked by Ferrari's signing of Kimi Raikkonen as his teammate for 2014.
Many rival teams and drivers had expressed doubts about whether the pairing of two top-line drivers could work, but Alonso has insisted he advocated the signing of Raikkonen and was comfortable with the decision.
Whitmarsh was among the many doubters.
"People were surprised with the recruitment of Kimi, not because Kimi's not massively talented or that he would want to go to Ferrari, but ... whether it's a sustainable driver lineup I don't know," Whitmarsh said.
While neither Jenson Button nor Sergio Perez had finalised a contract with McLaren for next season, both were expected to stay and Whitmarsh said "being realistic, that's what I think will happen."