SEPANG, Malaysia (Reuters) - McLaren’s Fernando Alonso hopes to have his Formula One future decided before next month’s United States Grand Prix, the Spaniard said on Thursday.
The double world champion, whose three-year deal with McLaren ends at the end of the season, had been holding off putting pen to paper on a fresh contract while the former champions finalised their engine plans.
McLaren, however, confirmed this month that they would be ditching power unit supplier Honda for Renault at the end of the year, shifting the focus back to Alonso’s future.
The Spaniard, who is expected to stay at Mclaren, said he would like to have the matter resolved before the U.S. race on Oct. 22.
“Yeah, in the next break, it will be good to make the final decision,” he told reporters at the Sepang International Circuit ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
“That will be the line let’s say to make it happen and choose whatever I feel is the best.”
Alonso, regarded by many as among the best drivers in the paddock, has spent the last three years mired at the back of the field.
He recorded his last win at his home Spanish Grand Prix in 2013 and has scored just 75 points since he rejoined McLaren at the start of their rekindled partnership with Honda, who will supply Toro Rosso next year.
His struggles have been largely due to the lack of power and poor reliability of the Japanese manufacturer’s engines and Alonso, who won his two titles with the Renault works team in 2005 and 2006, had made having competitive power units a key demand.
The Japanese Grand Prix follows Malaysia on the calendar next weekend before the drivers enjoy a two-week break prior to the race in Austin, Texas.
“I’ve repeated it many times, I want to be competitive next year,” said Alonso who missed out on points in Singapore in the last race after his car sustained terminal damage in the fallout from an opening lap crash.
“I want to be back on the podium, I want to be back winning, I want to be back fighting for the world championship.
“I still need some more information to make this decision but at the same time I remain optimistic because McLaren is one of the best or the best team in the history of Formula One so I think we have everything to make it happen.”
Editing by Toby Davis