When Fernando Alonso was three years old, his father gave him a model of a McLaren-Honda grand prix car. That's where his path to Formula One started, and it's where he wants his career to end as well.

Speaking with Autosport, the two-time world champion indicated that he intends to retire after he's done at McLaren, rather than switch to another team. Of course, he didn't indicate just when that would be, but as far as he's concerned, the road ends in Woking.

The highly rated and immensely successful Spanish driver has been on the grid for fourteen years now. He started out with Minardi (precursor to Toro Rosso) in 2001, then spent four seasons with Renault, where he scored back-to-back world titles. He then switched to McLaren for one year, where he won four races, then back to Renault for another three where he and the team fell off their form. Fernando subsequently switched to Ferrari where he spent the last five seasons, thrice finishing second in the world championship but never quite managing to clinch an elusive third title.

This year he's back at McLaren but has had a bumpy start. After crashing during a pre-season test session, he sat out the season opener, and failed to finish the second round in Malaysia. He's now in Shanghai preparing for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

Like this writer, he'll be turning 34 in July, making him the fourth oldest driver on the grid this year. So he's still got a good few years in him, and will likely want to see the troubled rekindling of the McLaren-Honda partnership through to winning form. But while nobody can tell what the future will bring, it looks like any other team that hopes to lure the champ away could end up disappointed.


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