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Motor Racing

Fernando Alonso wants to end McLaren talk by signing contract extension with Ferrari

The Spaniard had been linked with a return to his former team but he insists he wants to stay with the Italian manufacturer

Fernando Alonso is ready to sign a further contract extension with Ferrari that could see him bring the curtain down on his Formula One career with the Maranello marque.

For the past few weeks, and notably over the course of this weekend in the build-up to the Singapore Grand Prix, Alonso's future has been the subject of feverish speculation.

Alonso was initially linked with the vacancy at Red Bull in light of Mark Webber's decision to quit F1 at the end of the season, only for those rumours to be denied.

On Friday, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh then made it clear he would gladly welcome back Alonso if he were available, despite his acrimonious departure in 2007 in the wake of the 'spygate' scandal.

Alonso quickly rejected those overtures, instead declaring his love for Ferrari and his desire to see out a contract that expires at the end of 2016 when he will be 35.

Now Alonso is eager to start talks with the team with regard to putting pen to paper on another lucrative deal.

"I've spent the last four races saying I want to stay at Ferrari and maybe extend the contract when they would like," said Alonso.

"We are working very closely on arriving at that situation because I hope to end my career in Formula One with Ferrari.

"To sit together and to try to do it, that's my desire, and the team has expressed to me more or less the same desire when we talk about this. That will be a good thing to achieve.

"There have been people racing until 38, 39, with no problems. Mark (Webber) is one of the examples, he has been very competitive, and Michael (Schumacher) also came back at a good age.

"So 35 is still a good age, so if I keep the motivation and enjoying the sport, like I'm doing now, when the time arrives we will see."

Grand prix Saturdays, however, are proving far from enjoyable for the 32-year-old as Alonso will start seventh for Sunday's race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

The Spaniard finished a second behind world title rival Sebastian Vettel as the three-times world champion again dominated qualifying, claiming the 41st pole of his career.

Even with new parts on his car, Alonso said: "They gave us the time gains we expected, but our opponents are not watching tv during grands prix. They are also improving.

"It's sad news for us, obviously, but there is nothing we can do now apart from prepare for a perfect race.

"Everything has not been going in the right direction for us, but I have 189 points and I'm second in the world championship, so that's our strong point."