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Formula One: Fernando Alonso confirms he will stay at McLaren

Sochi, Russia: Fernando Alonso on Thursday made light of his frustrations with the struggling McLaren Honda team and confirmed he plans to stay with the team next year and through 2017. He said his widely broadcast radio messages, in which he criticised the performance of his car's Honda engine during the Japanese Grand Prix, were insignificant and had not upset Honda.

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso

After two weeks of intense speculation about his future, the two-time, world champion Spaniard said his plans were clear and he was not thinking of retiring before the end of his contract which runs until 2017.

Asked if he would still be racing for McLaren next year, he said: "Yes, of course... And 2017, yes." Team-mate Briton Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, has agreed to stay with the team next year.

Alonso said also that his radio comments in Japan had not caused any problems within the team. In that race, he said the performance of his Honda engine was "embarrassing" and he also compared it to the units used by cars racing in junior category GP2. He explained that his comments came from pure frustration in the heat of the race.

"Obviously we have been all season very positive about the team and the car," he said. "We face some difficult times, some tough times as a team, and what you talk on the radio should remain private because you are talking to the team.

"When you are in a car, and in a race, and you try to give it all and you are fighting lap after lap and you keep losing positions easily on the straight, even before the braking-point, you get some frustration out there on the radio. "But I am happy it was only broadcast in Suzuka because if you hear other races, other radio messages from me or Jenson, you will be even more surprised."

He said he had received more important and more encouraging lessons during a meeting with Honda in Japan before the race. "That was the most important part of the weekend and the messages were important. Those were very, very clear - and more clear than Sunday."

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