Dennis hints that Alonso may take a sabbatical
An intriguing 2015 finale in Abu Dhabi continued on Saturday, amid suggestions Fernando Alonso – now a veteran of 252 grand prix starts – is set to take a sabbatical next year.
Talk swirling around the Yas Marina paddock is that while McLaren-Honda is confident of an improvement in 2016, it may not be enough to keep the Spaniard – arguably the best driver in the sport today – sufficiently interested.
Alonso was quoted as admitting that he is not getting the answers he is asking for when enquiring about McLaren’s plans for its 2016 car, “I’ve asked the same question today and the engineers have not told me. I’m told it will be a longer process (to know), maybe weeks.”
McLaren supremo Ron Dennis – having missed the past couple of races – is in Abu Dhabi this weekend and he told reporters that a sabbatical for Alonso is possible.
“He will definitely finish his career in McLaren,” he said. “I have an open mind to anything. Some of the ideas have involved those sorts of considerations – sabbatical years.”
Meanwhile F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Marca, “It’s a shame that we have two of the best drivers – world champions – with no chance.”
“I don’t know how [McLaren] are going to put it right, but for sure it will not be easy for them to be competitive in the short term,” the F1 supremo added in Abu Dhabi. “The other top teams are very strong – they may have to wait a little longer.”
For the first time since his rookie season back in 2001, Alonso has gone through a season without visiting a podium once and is on track for his lowest ever points haul since that year when he drove for backmarker team Minardi.