F1 double world champion’s current three-year contract ends this year and the 36-year-old Alonso was considering his options with other teams, and even whether to continue in F1.
In Thursday’s media conference in Austin, the source Autosport, asked if the deal was just for 2018, Alonso said: “No. We never discuss the contract clauses and we are not going to do it now, but it’s a long-term contract and we’ll see how things go.
“But I’m very excited for next year, with different expectations and keen to put McLaren back where it deserves to be. I want Australia to arrive already.”
The McLaren driver said he carefully examined all the options available before deciding to stay, in what he labelled a “cautious process”.
“We weren’t in a hurry, neither of us,” Alonso, who won the title in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, said.
“From the first moment I believed that McLaren’s project – or at least the chassis side – had taken the right step in terms of aerodynamics and mechanical grip.
“We left all doors open, I talked to everybody who wanted to talk, with all the different projects I had on the table, but the most convincing one was McLaren’s. They had their own particular situation with the engine: they needed to decide if they were sticking with Honda or changing supplier.
“In the end they decided to change supplier and move to Renault and we had to wait a few more weeks to have all the information about the engine that I wanted. But now it was time to make a decision and the decision is to stay with them because I think we can be very competitive next year.” He added
The Spaniard looked on the edge of leaving the team earlier this season after a string of DNF’s and finishes outside the points — a continuation of the poor form he experienced in 2015 and 2016.
But a switch from Honda to Renault engines announced last month has seemingly persuaded Alonso that the team can become a competitive force once again.
McLaren have won 20 Formula 1 world championships, but their relationship with Japanese manufacturer Honda has been nothing short of a disaster.