Fernando Alonso has apparently informed all three current Formula 1 top teams that he would consider returning to Formula 1.
Publically, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull would consider taking on Alonso at age 37 to be of limited appeal. It’s been no secret that Alonso has been trying to get a foot in the door at Mercedes since the surprising resignation of Nico Rosberg at the end of 2016.
“Everyone knows that Fernando is one of the best. Nobody doubts that,” says team boss Toto Wolff and confirms that there have been contacts from the Alonso delegates.
Recently the former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone had declared that a driver pairing Hamilton/Alonso, a new edition of the explosive McLaren duel of 2007, would be an unbelievably exciting driver lineup for the sport.
Could we see a switch to Mercedes with Alonso? Several factors speak against an Alonso change to Mercedes. Firstly, Stuttgart has never forgiven for Alonso playing a decisive role in the 100 million US dollar FIA fine against McLaren-Mercedes in 2007 with his evidence submitted to the FIA. Alonso played a central role in the debacle.
Secondly, even if one were to believe that Valtteri Bottas is not good enough (and there are no signs of this at the moment), one would probably tend pur their money on Max Verstappen or even perhaps Sebastian Vettel rather than towards Alonso. Verstappen is 21, Alonso almost 38 years old.
Lastly, Alonso has not won a World Championship since 2006 and no Grand Prix since 2013. Nobody knows for sure whether he would be able to immediately regain top performances in a top Formula 1 team. Especially since in recent years he may have gone too far away from Grand Prix racing with various excursions to other racing series.
In any case, there are no concrete discussions with Mercedes. Wolff makes it clear: “Fernando understands the situation that we first have to make a decision with our current drivers. That’s the integrity we have as a team, that we don’t negotiate in parallel until we’ve made a decision ourselves how we want to go on.”
Alonso is also said to have positioned himself with Ferrari. But the Scuderia makes it clear that there is “certainly no” interest in Alonso or Verstappen for 2020: “We have two drivers with contracts and are very satisfied with them,” team boss Mattia Binotto told Sky Sports and added: “Our pairing for next year is fixed. I don’t see any reason why we should change that.”
And Red Bull? “Alonso is an absolute no-go for Honda,” Helmut Marko makes his final comment on the matter during an interview with ‘Motorsport-Total.com’. The Austrian confirmed indirectly that there has been contact, in whatever form recently saying that: “Alonso has put himself in a position of availability”.
McLaren have declared that they would not put any obstacles in his way when team boss Andreas Seidl made clear that he is not planning to run Alonso in a McLaren next year. But if he were to find a cockpit somewhere else, he would be given the go-ahead.
“Fernando is and remains a McLaren ambassador,” McLaren boss Zak Brown told ‘Motorsport-Total.com’. “We have a great relationship and talk to him about various racing programs for the future.” But these have nothing to do with Formula 1.
“If he wants to return to Formula One, then we’re happy for him,” says Brown
“That would be with another team, because we don’t have any free places. But if that’s what he wants, we’d support that”
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