Monday 17 April at 10:35 :
Apr.17 (GMM) Fernando Alonso and McLaren have played down reports suggesting the Spaniard will definitely contest next year's fabled 24 hour Le Mans race.
The news follows the shock revelation in Bahrain this weekend that Alonso will sit out Monaco next month to make a bid for victory in the equally famous Indy 500.
Eric Boullier, the McLaren team boss, admitted it is part of a plan to convince Alonso to ride out the current performance crisis and sign a new contract for 2018.
"Everyone has his tricks when negotiating," Der Spiegel quotes the Frenchman as saying.
Indeed, Alonso's frustration is currently palpable, as he complained on the radio in Bahrain that the Honda is the least powerful engine he has ever raced.
"When the red lights go out you are motivated and you start to fight," he explained afterwards, "but when you are so far behind on the straights that you cannot defend your position, you cannot enjoy the battle.
"Now let's focus a little on the Indy 500," the Spanish sports newspaper Marca quotes Alonso as saying after Bahrain.
"It will also do me good to refresh my head a little," he added.
That is because Alonso acknowledges that, even if McLaren and Honda are working hard on fixes, it will take time.
"We have to have a little patience," he said. "The next month or the next three or four races are going to be difficult.
"The amazing thing is that the other car was not even in the race, which for Stoffel I don't know if it was bad luck or good luck. So we have to do something but I don't know if the team has any idea what.
"We must find a solution as soon as possible," Alonso added.
As for the reports Alonso already has an agreement with Porsche to contest next year's Le Mans, a McLaren source told El Mundo Deportivo "there is no plan" for that.
And sources close to Alonso added: "It is not true. It is an invention."