Fernando Alonso: Last Chance Saloon for Formula One gunslinger?

    Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is still waiting for his first win of the 2014 Formula One season.

    Story highlights

    • Fernando Alonso is widely expected to leave Ferrari at the end of the season
    • The Spaniard has been with the Italian F1 team since 2010
    • Alonso won back-to-back drivers' championships in 2005 and 2006
    • The U.S. Grand Prix takes place in Austin, Texas on Sunday
    Fernando Alonso declared he has reached the "Last Chance Saloon" as Formula One rolls into the Wild West of Texas for Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix.
    With three races left to run this season, the 33-year-old Ferrari driver has still not announced which team he will race for in 2015.
    It is widely expected Alonso -- a two-time world champion with Renault in 2005 and 2006 -- will leave Ferrari and be replaced by four-time Red Bull champion Sebastian Vettel.
    When asked by CNN in Austin if he felt he had reached the end of the road when it came to choosing a team capable of powering him to a coveted third world title, he responded: "Probably yes.
    "Winning or not winning is a matter of being in the right place, at the right moment.
    "Definitely I want to win. I want to win the third title. I'm sure that I will have the opportunity in the next years."
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    Alonso is widely regarded as the most talented all-round driver among the current generation of racers.
    As such, the Spaniard is understood to hold the key to the major moves in F1's driver merry-go-round.
    Vettel was asked at the Circuit of Americas why he has not revealed his plans despite announcing at the Japanese Grand Prix three weeks ago that he is leaving Red Bull at the end of the year.
    "What's the delay? Because I'm not allowed yet," he explained. "I think once it's out you can make it out for yourself."
    Alonso remains coolly enigmatic about where his future lies and the feisty driver is probably enjoying teasing the media pack eager for answers.
    "At the end of the day, it's my decision, what I want and what I need to do for my future," he said.
    "I will try to do the best for me and for Ferrari as well, as I always did, I understand everyone but I need to choose.
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    "Let's wait. You want to know the taste before cooking the plate. Let's wait."
    Alonso has been linked with a return to McLaren, where he endured a tumultuous 2007 season as then debutant Lewis Hamilton's teammate.
    He left in acrimonious circumstances after falling out over his status within the team.
    McLaren is entering a new phase next season with the return of its former engine partner Honda.
    But a return to McLaren could be doubly risky for Alonso as the Honda engines are as yet unproven.
    A potential move to McLaren has cast uncertainty over the future of the team's current drivers Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion for Brawn Grand Prix, and Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen.
    "I try not to think too much about it, at least in a negative way," said Magnussen, who finished third on his grand prix debut in Australia.
    "I still have a chance of being here next year so that's what I'm focused on. I can only do my best to really show that I can give them something positive for the future.
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    "You really need to deliver when you're a McLaren driver. I've got to do that.
    "I think I've done a decent job this year, I know my potential and I know I can do a lot better.
    "I don't have a Plan B. I'm fully focused on Plan A."
    When Alonso signed for Ferrari in 2010, it looked like a match made in motor racing heaven.
    But although he narrowly lost the title to Vettel in 2010 and 2012, the famous Italian team has struggled to provide a car capable of consistently challenging for the title.
    Alonso is understood to feel it is time to move on although he said a reported sabbatical from the sport was "unlikely."
    The Spaniard is, at least, sanguine about the lessons he learned with Ferrari, with which he has won 11 grands prix.
    "Getting the respect of everyone has more value sometimes," he told CNN. "Like these five years at Ferrari.
    "When I joined in September 2009 I didn't have the respect that I have now, in five years it was difficult but I grew up as a driver and a person."
    Alonso may be older and wiser but F1's gunslinger is still calling the shots in the driver market.