Nov.28 (GMM/ Fernando Alonso on Saturday played down boss Ron Dennis’ claim that he could take a sabbatical in 2016.

Amid the apparent reality that McLaren-Honda’s climb to competitiveness will take more time, Dennis told reporters in Abu Dhabi that he is “open” to the idea of the Spaniard taking a year off and then returning in 2017 and 2018.

“We have a great number of driver options,” said Dennis, perhaps referring to the new GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne, who would also save struggling McLaren a lot of money.

“When we have to take the decision, we will take it together and at this moment in time our drivers of next year are Fernando and Jenson Button,” he added.

When asked by the British broadcaster Sky if he is really contemplating a year out in 2016, Alonso said on Saturday: “No. Not really.”

And he then told Spanish reporters: “I have not talked to him (Dennis) so I don’t think that’s true.”

When asked if Dennis is trying to put pressure on him in some way, Alonso added: “It is always the same story — I am asked about something Ron or another driver says and somehow I have to guess what they mean.

“When he speaks to you, you have a golden opportunity to ask him what he means. For sure if he is going to pressure someone I think it would be Honda to do a good job,” he said.