Following the conclusion of the Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren F1 boss Ron Dennis told Sky Sports F1 that two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and 2009 champion Jenson Button were asked to stay on through the 2016 season.
Button had been widely touted to be announcing his retirement at the Japanese Grand Prix, but the driver kept mum regarding the issue. The Briton has previously said that he will end his career with McLaren; he has been with the team since 2010 in its several iterations with different engine manufacturers.
Teammate Fernando Alonso, however, was visibly agitated at today’s race as he was overtaken by Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr, who incidentally looks up to Alonso as his Formula One inspiration. The Spaniard, who won both his world championship with Renault in 2005 and 2006, shouted “GP2 engine! GP2 engine, aaargh” over team radio, insinuating that the engine was not even good enough for Formula One.
Dennis addressed this as well, saying Alonso’s comments had ‘not been constructive’.
Alonso has been increasingly, and quite audibly displeased with the team’s power units all year – he has had 6 retirements this year to his teammate’s 5, and the pair have only managed a total of 4 points finishes this year among them. Several called for the resignation of Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai, who remained firm in his belief that he had “done nothing wrong.”
Neither driver appears to have confirmed any deal, although both have since gone on record to say they do wish to stay with McLaren. Alonso earlier released a statement saying his "career would end with this team".