Alonso puts in the laps and laughs off rumors

Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:58pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso sought to put an end to speculation about his Formula One future on Tuesday after a positive first run in the new McLaren a year on from a heavy testing crash that left him in hospital.

The double world champion, who did 119 laps of Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya compared to just six on a troublesome first day in Jerez last year, faced questions about his commitment to the Honda-powered team after a nightmare 2015.

With one British bookmaker reportedly offering odds of 3-1 on the Spaniard not seeing out the season, the driver moved to reassure fans that he had no intention of walking away.

"I need to check that website," he smiled.

Asked how much he would be prepared to bet, he replied: "Everything. All week has been some rumours...when there are too many weeks or months with no track action there is a dangerous tendency to be creative on the news.

"We are on track and hopefully no more rumors," he said. Asked again whether he would see the season out, Alonso replied: "Of course. And the next one."

Speaking later to Spanish reporters, the former Ferrari driver reiterated: "I have a contract for three years. I'm not thinking about anything else. This is a very important year for us."

Alonso crashed at the circuit on Feb. 22 last year, ending up in hospital with concussion and missing the opening Australian Grand Prix.   Continued...

McLaren Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain poses for a selfie with a supporter during the second testing session ahead of the upcoming season at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Perez