SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso responded to reported interest from Williams on Saturday by saying he had received several offers to leave McLaren at the end of the Formula One season but had yet to decide his next step.
The 36-year-old Spaniard, who was world champion with Renault in 2005 and 2006, previously said he would stay with struggling, Honda-powered McLaren if they could win races by September.
German media reports ahead of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix said he was being courted by Williams.
“I received several offers,” Alonso told journalists when asked about the reports.
“To 60 percent of those offers I say no right away, the other 40 percent are still on the table,” he added, saying he would not be rushed into taking a decision.
“I will wait as long as possible,” Alonso said.
Williams’s Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe would not comment on whether the team were in talks with Alonso but said a good driver was important to take them to a higher level.
“You need great drivers and great cars to win races and there’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing. The better the car you have, the better the drivers you can attract,” Lowe told reporters.
“With a great driver in the team everybody is motivated to work that bit harder,” he added.
“There are lots of great drivers out there and we’ll always try and get the best ones we can.”
Williams currently employ Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa and Canadian rookie Lance Stroll, and occupy fifth spot in the constructors’ table.
While McLaren are not yet setting the race-winning pace Alonso demanded, the team’s form has improved.
The Spaniard finished sixth in Hungary and has qualified in 11th place for the Belgian race, prevented from starting higher up the grid by a faulty Honda engine.
“Apart from the engine issue, the day was perfect,” said Alonso, who started his Formula One career with lowly-ranked Minardi in 2001.
Alonso said he was hoping for rain in Sunday’s race to help him secure points and improve on his current 15th position in the drivers’ championship.
“We’re probably not quick enough to score otherwise,” he said.
Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, editing by Alan Baldwin and Clare Fallon