Alonso sets October deadline for McLaren to start winning

If Fernando Alonso does not feel by October he can challenge for the 2018 F1 title, he will consider leaving McLaren or quitting the sport.

Fernando Alonso of McLaren   -  Getty Images

Fernando Alonso wants McLaren to win Formula One races by September and October if he is to consider staying at the team in 2018.

Two-time world champion Alonso was linked with a move to Mercedes as a replacement for Nico Rosberg ahead of this season, but opted not to switch seats.

However, it is a decision that is yet to pay off, with the Spaniard failing to finish any of the four races this season, an ERS problem stopping him from even starting the Russian Grand Prix last time out.

Alonso admitted drastic improvement will be needed if he is to remain at McLaren and, should that not occur, he will be open to any offers in and out of F1.

"As I said at the beginning of the year, this is my last year with the contract I have now with McLaren so I will have to think a little bit after the summer," he told a media conference.

"Now is a busy period and with the Indy 500 thing," he added, referring to his testing for McLaren-Honda-Andretti at Indianapolis.

"Around September I will consider what I will do next year; if it's time to find challenges outside Formula One or if Formula One will give an opportunity to win the championship, which is my main goal.

"I'm very open to anything. With this year's regulations the cars are good to drive. I think Formula One is back in a way. We see this power, efficiency, corner speed – things we were missing in the last couple of years.

"I like this Formula 1 so my intention and first priority is to race here next year and I want to win. I'm happy with the team but we are not winning, but if from here to September and October I see an opportunity to win in 2018 I will be more than happy to stay with the team. If it's not the case I will be happy to talk to anyone."

After this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, Alonso will sit out the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo to take part in the Indianapolis 500 in McLaren-Honda-Andretti's single entry.

Having got his first taste of driving the car this month, the 35-year-old is looking forward to getting to grips with things as the intensity ramps up.

Alonso said: "The car felt quite different, running this asymmetric set-up feels not normal to drive so you need to adjust with your mind-set going into the run and into the first corner. At the end of the day I felt a bit more comfortable.

"I think the driving technique is quite different. I did the first one which is just for feeling with the car but next week when we start the free practice and running with others around hopefully I will build confidence and understand what the car needs and what I need as well.

"Two intense weeks ahead but very much looking forward to that."

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