MILAN (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso hopes to extend his Ferrari contract beyond the end of 2016 and reckons he could have 10 more years of racing in Formula One.
The Spaniard was quoted on the Ferrari website on Wednesday as telling reporters at the Maranello factory ahead of the Italian Grand Prix that he had no desire to leave, despite persistent media speculation.
"It's a year now that I've been saying I want to stay at Ferrari and extend my contract. That's my wish, I repeat it every two weeks, at the end of every race, yet it's never said," declared the 33-year-old double world champion.
"Talk of other teams has never come from my lips, in fact it's always been the opposite".
Alonso joined Ferrari from Renault, where he won his titles, in 2010 and has been three times a runner-up in the championship since then.
However, he and the team have not won a race since he triumphed in his home Spanish Grand Prix in May last year and the Spaniard has been courted by McLaren, who are switching to Honda power next year.
"I have a contract for another two years and as I always say on the subject of rumours and to ensure calm, what I want is to continue for the necessary years," said Alonso. "Let’s see if that can happen, but for the next two years at least, there is no problem."
Alonso said winning was important but Ferrari, the sport's most successful and glamorous team down the decades, could offer a lot more than that.
"There is a passion for this team, which as a driver means you are already proud of what you are doing, independent of the results," he explained.
"The most important thing is to fix the things that are not going well on the car and in the team and to do everything that is needed.
"(Team principal Marco) Mattiacci also shares this desire to change things and to be more aggressive in our approach to our work. This renewed will to win makes staying at Ferrari even more attractive."
Alonso made his debut in Formula One with Minardi as a 19-year-old in 2001 and he pointed to the example of Michael Schumacher, the former Ferrari great who retired only in 2012 at the age of 43, as an example of how long he could continue.
"I’ve still got lots of seasons ahead of me. I could have another 10," he said.
"It’s a question of enjoying what you do and to still want to get up in the morning to train, to get on planes and fly to Australia and Malaysia, to race with a top car and to still get a good feeling from it all.
"As Iong as I have that desire and these feelings, I am not setting a time limit."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)