Fernando Alonso has said that he might travel to Japan to meet with Honda before he decides where his future lies this month. Last weekend marked another difficult and frustrating race for Alonso, which saw him retire with a supposed engine issue. This led to a report that as a result, the Spaniard had issued a final ultimatum, telling McLaren that it is either him or Honda in 2018.
"That is completely wrong -- it's a lie," said Alonso, rejecting the claims of his ultimatum. "McLaren is a team with 1000 employees and I am just one -- and all of us want to change the situation."
At the heart of rumours regarding Alonso, it was recently reported that he had a deal with Williams for 2018. Williams has since denied this however, and rejected claims that it has had talks with Alonso. Renault has also ruled out Alonso as an option for 2018, saying that it can not yet deliver its former driver with a championship-winning car.
"Renault will always be in my heart," said Alonso when asked about Renault. "At my kart circuit in Spain I even have an arrangement with them. But talking about racing, I'm very pleased with McLaren. We have everything we need to win the title. And Renault has said repeatedly and very honestly that they doubt their readiness to fight for the title next year," he added.
Since re-joining Formula 1 for the 2015 season, Honda has struggled with power output and reliability out on track. 2017 was expected to be a year that the engine supplier took a step forward, however, Honda has instead taken a step back. This season however, it is clear that Honda is making progress with its power unit.
When asked about his considerations for 2018, Alonso said: "I have to sit with McLaren and with Honda to see what their expectations are in detail. Maybe I will have to fly to Japan and see firsthand before I make a decision.
"Ferrari managed to make its engine competitive in one winter, and Honda can too," he continued. "They now have three years of experience and are helped from the outside in the right direction."
Alonso also denied that his relationship with Honda has been shattered following claims that he faked an engine failure to retire from the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend: "Have you forgotten that I have been in this situation for three years?" he asked. "In Bahrain last year I even wanted to race with a broken rib. I never give up."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing