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'McLaren is the place to be', insists Alonso

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren on the drivers parade.
© XPB 

Rumours that Fernando Alonso is eyeing a move to Ferrari or Mercedes for 2019 have been denied by the man himself.

"I'm happy where I am now," Alonso told Spain's AS newspaper this week after stories linking him with switch from current team McLaren.

The two-time world champion has opened his account with top ten finishes in the first two races of the season. That's a huge improvement on last year.

However there are suggestions that McLaren have been 'lucky' with both races and that McLaren is still underperforming compared to pre-season expectations.

"I think there are many things that we will change," Alonso admitted. "We will become more competitive.

"I think that in the next couple of months, the place to be is McLaren," he insisted. "That is the message for our fans, and the people who support us.

"For me, dreams do not count, facts do. And if you look at them in peace, I realise: we had a good start to the season."

Alonso's friend and manager, ex-Renault boss Flavio Briatore, sparked off the rumours earlier this week with comments to Italian radio. He said he would like to see Alonso in a Ferrari or Mercedes next season.

"Flavio wants the best for me in terms of results," Alonso acknowledged. "In the last two or three years there were three teams ahead of the others, so I understand his comments."

Both teams could have a vacancy. Kimi Raikkonen's contract with Ferrari comes to an end after this season, and Valtteri Bottas' position at Mercedes for 2019 is similarly up in the air.

Red Bull could also have an opening next year if Daniel Ricciardo departs. But the team is considering a possible link-up with Honda as engine supplier - and it's unlikely that Alonso would be keen on that.

Alonso endured three painful seasons at McLaren with Honda engines. However the switch to Renault engines this year still hasn't delivered the boost in power that the team was hoping for.

"Some of the expectations were unrealistic," Alonso admitted.

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