MONZA, Italy (REUTERS) - Fernando Alonso put recent speculation to bed on Thursday by committing his Formula One future to Ferrari.
"There were rumours about Red Bull, there were rumours in Italy about a sabbatical year, there were so many rumours," he told reporters at the Italian Grand Prix when asked whether he would be interested one day in a move to the reigning champions Red Bull.
"I still have three and a half more years with Ferrari which I intend to respect and hopefully to increase a little bit, and as I said, finish my career in the best team in the world which is Ferrari," declared the Spaniard.
Alonso, a double world champion with Renault, is second in the championship behind Red Bull's triple champion Sebastian Vettel.
The German is 46 points ahead of Alonso with eight races remaining.
Australian Mark Webber's decision to leave Formula One at the end of the season triggered a storm of speculation about his successor, with Alonso's manager fuelling the rumour mill when he was seen talking to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner in Hungary in July.
The manager, Luis Garcia Abad, said he had been discussing the prospects of rising Spanish GP3 driver Carlos Sainz, son of the former rally world champion.
The rumour-mill subsided this week when Red Bull announced Australian Daniel Ricciardo, currently with Toro Rosso, would partner Vettel next year.
Alonso said that even if Ferrari lacked the performance of the Red Bull, there was everything to play for over the coming seasons.
"We are not at the moment achieving the results that we want but we are working very hard and next year will be completely new rules which obviously open the door for many teams to stop the domination that Red Bull seems to have had in the last couple of years," he said.
"So we have high hopes also for next year's challenge.
"It's very good news that Daniel has signed (for Red Bull), also for our country because it has opened up a good possibility for Carlos Sainz to join Toro Rosso, so that was the best news for us," added the Spaniard.