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GP Week : Issue 190
F1 >>> nEWs McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh (right) kicked silly season back into high gear when he appeared to suggest that he was pursuing Fernando Alonso with a view to bringing the spanish racer back to McLaren, stirring up a storm of media speculation in the figurative teacup of the singapore paddock. McLaren and Alonso famously fell out over the one season the Spaniard spent at the Woking- based team as he felt the squad didn’t deliver on its promise to guarantee him number one status. But in Singapore, Whitmarsh said he would welcome Alonso – considered by many to be the cream of the current crop – back to McLaren. “Yes, if I could,” W hitmarsh said when asked if he would like Alonso back. “I think most teams up and down this pitlane would happily sign Fernando Alonso. He's a very talented driver.” McLaren’s current drivers are 2009 world champion Jenson Button and Mexico’s Sergio Perez. The team has an option on the Briton for next year and in Singapore, Button seemed fairly relaxed about his chances of carrying on with the team for a fifth straight year. Although no official announcement has yet been made, Button’s deal is known to be done. Perez, whose future with the team is believed to be rather less certain, said his contract was also done “but we are just finalising the final dots.” “I expect next year our driver line -up to stay the same but we are open to anything,” W hitmarsh said. “And in the longer term then [Alonso’d] be a great asset. I think Fernando's in control of his own destiny, but we'll see.” Alonso is contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2016, but there has been talk of cracks starting to appear in the relationship as the Asturian has grown frustrated at his lack of additional titles, thanks largely to a car unable to match the Adrian Newey-designed Red Bull which has allowed Sebastian Vettel to claim three championships in succession. The Ferrari driver has been resorting to off-track manoeuvring to drive his team forward, a ploy that seems to have backfired with president Luca di Montezemolo publicly rebuking his star driver after he criticsed the car following the Hungarian Grand Prix. For his part, Alonso insisted he was going nowhere: “I repeat more or less every weekend, but I keep repeating, that I love Ferrari and I will stay in Ferrari until the end. I have three more years with Ferrari and I hope many more to come if we can extend the contract.” Alonso's Silly Season moment 10 GPWEEK.com // 10 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: