Following a shockingly bad performance from Sergio Perez at his home Formula One race in Mexico, the paddock became overly excited over a whisper that Fernando Alonso was being lined up by Red Bull to replace the failing Mexican driver.
At the Thursday media day in Sau Paulo, Fernando was quick to quash the idea he would leave Aston Martin. “Paddock rumours are normal, but people out there just try to make fun of it and gain some followers and these kinds of things,” Alonso said.
Spanish journalist starts rumour
“But I am not into that game.”
The origin of the rumour was an established Spanish journalist, Albert Fabrega who tweeted after the Mexico City Grand Prix, “I don’t want to believe the rumour that they have told me now in the paddock. No.”
Of course in the absence of context this seems a particularly innocuous and definitely speculative tweet. Fabrega offered no hint as to the nature of the rumour but followed up his tweet with another on Monday morning saying he “would not like it to happen”.
Alonso threatens “consequences”
As Alonso said in the press conference, rumours are nothing new but this one appeared to upset Fernando more than usual though he excused all those present from his accusation.
“I am not enjoying the rumours because I appreciate that all of you are journalists, professional people who have been in Formula 1 for many years, and you gain your respect – and this is how it should be.
“The rumours are coming from people that are not in this room and just here to make fun and I think it is not funny when they play with anything.
“The thing that they are…. but I will make sure that there are consequences.”
Could Fernando be talking to Red Bull?
When pressed Fernando did not elaborate on what the consequences would or could be but the whole matter had clearly got under the usually unflappable Spaniards skin.
So what was it that irked Fernando Alonso so much that he would issue a threat of retributive consequences?
Well Fabrega attends the majority of the races and is seen frequently in conversation with Fernando, so it surely can’t be something directed at him?
One reason is that there could be some truth behind the rumour and Alonso is at a delicate stage of negotiations with Red Bull and doesn’t want this to be the talk of the town.
Alonso’s loyalty questioned
Yet Fernando to join Max at Red Bull is simply unthinkable. Further Christian Horner has ruled it out specifically recruiting Alonso to race alongside Max stating that “2 Alpha’s would not be good for the team.”
Aston Martin are not under threat from using their position in the championship to Fernando’s former team mate and whilst Fernando remains ticked off with the French outfit it could hardly be them trying to undermine him as they push to steal Aston Martin’s current place in the constructors’ table.
However, it could be that such a rumour has raised questions in Aston Martin over Fernando’s loyalty despite the fact he is contracted to drive for them until the end of 2024 – at least.
Yet were an opportunity to arrive for Alonso to drive for Red Bull it would be one he would definitely take and his team know that is the case. The Spaniard may also have negotiated a release clause in his contract to ensure if a championship winning opportunity came his way, the team would be forced to release him.
Aston Martin falling like a stone
So even if Fernando wasn’t chasing a move away from Aston Martin, it is understandable why the team would be upset if they thought he may leave even a better chance of attempting his third world title.
In the paranoid world of Formula One this could easily lead to the assumption that Fernando is not loyal to the team.
Despite Aston Martin having started brightly with Fernando claiming 5 podiums in the first sic races, the team have suffered a terrible mid season slump.
Matters are not helped by the fact that when their car was second best, Lance Stroll failed to capitalise and it was left to Alonso to deliver the significant majority of the points.
Lando and Leclerc soon to overtake Fernando
Fernando too is sliding down the drivers’ table and was overtaken for fourth place by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in Mexico. Alonso with probably lose another two places to Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc before the end of the year, but this in no way should lead anyone to believe he wants to quit the project with the Silverstone team.
Its likely the rumour has reached the upper echelons of Aston Martin and some comment was made in the intervening period between last weekend and this.
Fernando is well known to manage the media to his wanting and something like this he may feel has undermined his opportunity to get out the latest message he wishes to project.
As soon as the on track action begins today. The matter will be forgotten and it is hard to speculate what kind of consequences Fernando could wreak even if he really wanted to.
Hamilton eyes 1st win in 42 races
The weekend ahead for Aston Martin looks bleak given Mercedes recent upturn in form and the fact they go well at Interlagos which has been once of Lewis Hamilton’s most successful circuits.
George Russell famously claimed his debut Grand Prix win at this event last year, which was the only victory for Mercedes in the entire season,.
Lewis Hamilton has now suffered 42 races without a win and given his recent upturn in form with a well earned P2 in Mexico and another in Austin before his car was disqualified – he will be confident this could be his track once again come the chequered flag on Sunday.
Yet at present it seems hard to see behind a record 17th race win this season for Max and hopefully for Red Bull a podium place for their ailing driver Sergio Perez.