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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.”

Video highlights from Stage 13 of the Dakar Rally

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Friday’s Stage 13 of the 40th Dakar Rally went from San Juan to Cordoba to set up the concluding stage of the event.

The video highlights of Stage 13 will air on NBCSN on Saturday at 6:30 pm ET, but here are some of the highlights from Friday:

CARS

Nassar Al-Attiyah strengthened his hold on second with a stage win as defending winner Stephane Peterhansel crashed in the penultimate stage.

BIKES

Toby Price won his second stage of the 2018 Dakar, his ninth overall, while Matthias Walkner retained the lead ahead of the final stage.

TRUCKS

Eduard Nikolaev continued to make a case for his second consecutive Dakar win after an epic battle to capture Stage 13.

QUADS

Jeremias Gonzalez took Stage 13 of the quads, tightening his grip on third overall in the 2018 Dakar Rally.