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Fernando Alonso: 'If I were to take a sabbatical it would have been this year'

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Fernando Alonso says he does not intend to take a sabbatical from Formula One after McLaren boss Ron Dennis suggested it could be a possibility next year.

A lack of power and reliability from McLaren's Honda engine has resulted in Alonso venting his frustration on a number of occasions this year, most notably in Japan where he referred to Honda's power unit as a "GP2 engine". Dennis told reporters in Abu Dhabi that he was open to Alonso taking a year out if the car is off the pace in testing, but said it was not the current plan.

"I have an open mind to anything - and some of the ideas have involved those sorts of considerations, sabbatical years, etc." he said. "But at this moment of time, I would say that we believe we know where we will be.

"I think we navigated a difficult weekend [in Japan] in respect of our drivers. I took quite a high level of flack out of that weekend and it was a challenge to navigate out of it, but nevertheless, here we are. "We have a great number of driver options and two of the best drivers in the world in our cars. When we have to take the decision we will take it together, at this moment of time our drivers for next year are Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button."

Alonso insists he is not planning on taking a year out.

"I think you can never say 100% anything," Alonso said. "I cannot say that tomorrow I will not have dinner, because I don't know if I will be hungry or not. My intention is to race and I think I will race. We will see how it goes next year and it is not in my plans not to race.

"I was the first to be surprised about Ron's comments and I know that it's up to me now to answer and interpret and get what he meant with those comments, but I think it is much better to ask him tomorrow when he is here, because I am the first to be surprised.

"I think it's a better question for Ron. I have a contract for the next two years and my intention is to race. It will be too easy to go to one test and know how competitive and how that season will go. I think that's impossible and I think in the first test if we are second or if we are ninth it will not change my approach. It is my intention to keep winning that season.

"Just to add to how strange the comment is, if I were to take a sabbatical I would have taken this year! I kept racing, kept fighting and kept pushing the car uphill to go to the pit lane, so that's how it was."

Asked if he had discussed the idea with Dennis, Alonso added: "I have discussed many crazy ideas, but not at this point of the year. We are progressing well but unfortunately we don't see the progress we are making because we have been unlucky recently. I think in Spa we had the penalty of the engines, Monza the penalty, Russia a penalty, Austin a mechanical problem, in Mexico I didn't race, in Brazil I was only driving half of the weekend and here I had a puncture.

"So the last five or six races the results have been a little bit unfair in representing how we have progressed with the car performance. So, our attention and our minds have been on next year and we feel much more positive than three or four months ago with the recent pace of the car. It's something that we didn't talk about for four or five months already."