“I am satisfied with myself and with my performance”
Former F1 driver David Coulthard said he sensed the Spaniard, who turns 32 later this month, was becoming frustrated with Ferrari’s flagging form last time out at the Nurburgring.
“It’s a long time since Alonso won a world championship,” BBC commentator Coulthard said, “and that’s not because he’s not putting in world championship level performances.
“If this continues for that much longer, you have to wonder how much longer Alonso can stay at Ferrari.”
Alonso, however, is quoted by Wednesday’s latest edition of German magazine Sport Bild as saying he remains fully committed to his long-term Ferrari contract — and perhaps even beyond that.
“I have no idea how long I’ll be in formula one,” he said, “but if I renew (the contract beyond 2016), then it will be with Ferrari.”
Indeed, while keen to add a third title to his tally, Alonso suggested that just as important to him is how he is perceived — as perhaps F1’s best driver.
“I am satisfied with myself and with my performance,” he agreed.
“When I won my two titles, I felt the recognition of being regarded seriously as a good driver.
“Today I am seen as one of the best drivers, although I have not won another title since then,” added Alonso.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh would agree with Alonso, comparing him with F1’s reigning triple world champion Sebastian Vettel, who looks set to win a fourth consecutive title in 2013.
The German “is an impressive driver”, Whitmarsh admitted.
“But he will never get the recognition he deserves, as long as he drives for Red Bull.”
Boss Christian Horner dismissed that view as “bullsh*t”, but Alonso insisted: “Yes, every great champion should drive for Ferrari if he has the opportunity.”
He said the Maranello marque is “more than a formula one team”.
“F1 without Ferrari is inconceivable, but that doesn’t apply to other teams that come and go.
“Some auto makers come in and then go out again,” said Alonso. “The same for some private teams and energy drink manufacturers.”
Alonso’s last comment is a direct jibe at Red Bull, and indeed he said he would welcome Vettel as his teammate in red, and Adrian Newey as the designer of his Ferrari.
“I want to work with the best people,” said the 31-year-old, “so if I said I didn’t want Newey on the team, I’d be lying.”