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Alonso re-states McLaren quit threat: ‘I want to win’

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Fernando Alonso has re-stated that he is open to leaving McLaren at the end of the 2017 Formula 1 season, saying that he wants to be in a position to win races next year.

Alonso returned to the F1 paddock on Thursday following his Indianapolis 500 adventure, with the two-time world champion’s future becoming a hot topic once again.

The Spaniard has made clear that he is keen to be in a car that can win races next year, having failed to record a single podium finish since joining McLaren for the 2015 season thanks to problems with the team’s Honda power unit.

Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference, Alonso stressed that he would be open to staying at McLaren beyond the expiration of his contract at the end of the year if it were in a position to give him a winning car.

“We have to win. If we are winning before September or something like that when I will make a decision, I will stay,” Alonso said.

“You cannot be 100 per cent now in June about a decision for next year that I don’t even start to consider. What we all want is to win, and I think related to the answer before, what Zak [Brown] commented about yesterday, the Honda thing, is probably what you will expect Zak to say

“He wants to win. He wants to put McLaren again on a contender position for the championship. So after three years we are not in that position, so things have to change I guess for the team. The same for me. I want to win.

“I joined this project because I want to be world champion and we are not in that position. If you don’t see things changing and you are not in a competitive position, maybe you change project? That’s the only thing I can say now.

“Until I sit down with myself in September after the summer as I always said, I cannot say 100 per cent about anything now. I’m very open. The best decision hopefully I will take after the summer.”

Alonso’s Indy 500 push was part of a career goal to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, with a shot at Le Mans in the future also on his radar, but he stressed that a third F1 world title is still his greatest aim.

“As I said many times, in F1, a third world championship is still my biggest priority,” Alonso said.

“I developed my skills to drive F1 cars for the last 16 years. The best car that I can drive is still Formula 1, but it’s another time that I jump in any car, in any categories, in any tires, with any rules, I go there and I am competitive.

“I am not afraid of the future. If I cannot succeed here and win this third world championship, I still love motor racing and I will race in any series and I know I can win in any series.”

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.