Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner has said his team is not interested in signing Fernando Alonso for the 2023 Formula One season despite paddock rumours circulating that the Spaniard is again in discussion with the Austrian team. This appears to be a repeat of previous years where Red Bull denied publically their desire to sign the Spaniard which turned out to be false, the driver having nearly signed up on several occasions.
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso returned to F1 in 2021 with Alpine, after competing in the sport for nearly two decades with various teams such as Renault, McLaren and Ferrari. The new technical regulations for 2022 were a major factor in his decision to return to Formula One, with the two-time world champion keen to win a third world title in his career. But the Spaniard’s contract with Alpine expires at the end of this 2022 season and several rumours about his future have been circulating for some months now.
The latest rumour in the paddock suggests that Fernando Alonso could be of interest to Red Bull for 2023, while one of its drivers, Sergio Perez, will see his contract expire at the end of the 2022 campaign. Asked about the issue, Horner categorically denied that Red Bull is interested in Alonso for next season.
Certainly, this has been a story before, again with Horner denying that there had been any interest or discussion with Alonso, this time during his first career in Formula 1. The Spaniard told of several discussions with Horner about joining Red Bull over the years.
This had then been confirmed by Red Bull’s chief designer Adrian Newey who said “it was very close,” to being a done deal when the Spaniard was unhappy at McLaren. After Alonso retired, Horner himself then confirmed Alonso was close to signing and had ready a two-year contract ready to go.
Perhaps most shocking was Alonso’s claim that Red Bull offered him a drive twice in 2018, but continued to deny it in the press. Alonso said Horner apologised for the denials as shown during the interview in the YouTube interview above.
As for the weekend in Miami, again we hear Horner say that there is no interest in Alonso saying “he’s not in our plans,” and “they are focused on their current driver lineup” rhetoric similar to that from before.
“You tell me, we are happy with the drivers we have” said Horner this weekend,
“Fernando is a great driver, it’s fantastic that he’s still in Formula One as he’s over forty. It’s something to aspire to, but he’s not in our plans,” Christian Horner told Sky Sports. Sounding familiar right?
Horner added that he does speak to Flavio Briatore (who plays a major role in Alonso’s career) from time to time but that Red Bull remains focused on its two drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
It would be remarkable if Alonso were to replace Perez next year, and unlikely given the Spaniard’s relatively advanced years. But equally, he has proved that since his comeback he hasn’t lost speed and is still fiercely competitive.