Alonso insists he will race in 2016

Fernando Alonso has dismissed suggestions he could take a sabbatical from Formula 1, insisting he will be on the grid for the first Grand Prix of the 2016 season in Melbourne.

The two-time Formula 1 champion has two years to run on his contract with McLaren and the team chairman Ron Dennis had claimed Alonso could take the next year off from the sport.

However, Alonso, who was speaking at Johnnie Walker's Join The Pact festival at Wembley, was adamant that he will compete in the new Formula 1 season.

When asked whether he would be taking part in the 2016 curtain raiser in Australia, Alonso replied: "Yes.

"I talked to Ron on Friday, I told him what had been published. He said I didn't mean that and tomorrow I will clarify it. On Saturday he clarified but no one copied that.

"I said the opposite on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and I'm sure in January and February I will keep answering the same questions about my future."

The Spaniard moved to McLaren for the 2015 season after four years with Ferrari and experienced the worst season his career.

Alonso finished the season on a poor 11 points and retired from eight races, while McLaren came second bottom of the constructors standings with 27 points.

The Oviedo-born driver, who won back-to-back championships with Renault, says motivation will play a key part in how long he will continue to race for.

"We have to be open to any possibility," added the 34-year-old.

"Right now, it is too long ahead to think.

"Let's see what happens in one and a half years, what the situation is, what targets we have met and what the motivations are to keep going on in Formula One."

Alonso’s team-mate Jenson Button thinks the pair’s experienced partnership will help McLaren to succeed in 2017.

"He is a good team-mate to have," Button said.

"He is experienced like me. The feedback is good, and the team really listen to us.

"If we are two young drivers the team would be developing the car in a certain direction but because of our experience they listen to us and we help develop the car.

"It is the perfect situation for the team having us two in there and we enjoy being part of the development progress."

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