Fernando Alonso says he will “talk to anyone” on the Formula 1 grid for 2018 if it gives him a chance of winning a third world championship.
The Spaniard is out of contract at the end of the year and has not stood on the podium since returning to McLaren at the start of 2015. Despite that run of form, Alonso says he is happy at the team and plans on remaining in F1 next year but will only do so with a team that gives him the possibility to win the title.
“As I said at the beginning of the year, this is my last year with the contract that I have now with McLaren,” Alonso said. “I will have to think a little bit, after the summer, because now is quite a busy period – and now plus the Indy 500, it will not be the time to think any further. But yeah, around September, October, I need to consider what I will do next year.
“If it’s time to find other challenges outside Formula 1 or if Formula 1 will be an opportunity to win the championship, which is my main goal. Yeah, very open to anything. I think with this year’s cars and the 2017 regulations, the cars are good to drive. I think Formula 1 is back, in a way. We see this real power, efficiency, corner speed – things which we were missing in the last couple of years. The cars they look nice from the outside, with the big tires and everything. I like this Formula 1.
“My intention and my first priority is to race here – not only to race, I want to win. So now that I have not any more obligations with McLaren, I am happy with the team but we’re not winning. In September or October, if we’re in a position where I see a possibility to win in 2018, I will be more than happy to stay with the team. If it’s not the case, I would be more than happy to talk to anyone.”
Alonso’s response was to a question asking if he would be willing to return to Ferrari, and Sebastian Vettel – sittting alongside Alonso in the press conference – suggested he would not veto such a move.
“In general, you should be ready to race whoever comes along,” Vettel said. “I think Fernando has the reputation he has for many reasons – not just for two championships but for many other reasons – for many races and many years he has been around.
“At the end of the day I am signing my contract and I am not signing other people’s contracts so it is not my decision. As I said, I am ready to race whoever comes along. I am sure everybody is different, the teammates I have had are very different, not just as a person but as a driver. Different styles, different strengths and weaknesses, so that is something you share a lot more in the open so you can improve and probably make another step, depending on who’s by your side.
“I think the way we are set up right now, we find ourselves very happy and the focus is on this year despite the fact nothing is on paper. But the mentality and approach is definitely there to focus on what we have in front of us.”