Any hopes Fernando Alonso may have had of ditching McLaren after just one season and securing a move to world champions Mercedes have been dashed, with the BBC reporting that the Spaniard does not have a get-out clause in his contract.
During the saga surrounding his position with Ferrari towards the end of last season, Alonso appeared to be angling for a move to Mercedes upon the expiration of Lewis Hamilton’s contract at the end of 2015, assuming the Briton did not sign an extension.
Therefore, when he confirmed in December that he would be racing for McLaren in the coming season, many assumed that his contract contained a get-out clause depending on the performance of the British team.
Escape routes such as this are by no means uncommon in F1, with Sebastian Vettel using the clause in his Red Bull contract to walk away from the team at the end of 2014 and join Ferrari.
However, McLaren CEO Ron Dennis told the BBC that Alonso did not have such a clause in his deal with the team.
“No McLaren driver has ever had performance clauses in his contract and that’s the case with Fernando,” he confirmed.
Alonso is believed to have signed a two-year contract with McLaren, taking him to the end of the 2016 season. His return to the team is certainly a bold one following their fall-out in 2007, but as he goes in search of that elusive third world title, the Spaniard knows that all past grievances must be put aside.
At Mercedes, the odds of Lewis Hamilton leaving look slimmer than ever following his emphatic championship win last season. Negotiations are believed to be ongoing, and may have been aided by Hamilton’s recent signing with a new PR firm.