Talks between Fernando Alonso’s manager and Christian Horner have set up the intriguing possibility of the Spanish star emerging as a candidate for a Red Bull seat.
While he obviously has a Ferrari contract it’s no secret that Alonso has been frustrated by the team’s failure to win the championship since he joined in 2010 – and especially the poor one-lap form the red cars have shown over the past three and half years.
The big question is whether he has a way of getting out of that contract due to a performance clause of some sort.
There is also the very obvious question of how Red Bull could work with both Vettel and Alonso on board, although on the other hand the marketing advantages would be huge – and at the same time the Ferrari package would be weakened.
One far-fetched suggestion is that 2014 would be the perfect time for Vettel to move to Ferrari in a straight swap, and give himself a new challenge.
Asked about that by this writer Horner said: “That will never happen. I wouldn’t swap Sebastian for anybody.” As for the general prospect of hiring Alonso he added that, “You’d be amazed at whom we have had interest from…”
Later when quizzed by the media he elaborated on the situation.
“We’re in the fortunate position where there’s quite a lot of interest obviously in the seat for next year. We’ve also been able to have a good look at Daniel [Ricciardo] at the test last week, and we’ll take a bit of time over the summer just to reflect on the options that are open to us and look to make the right decision to put the right driver alongside Sebastian next year.”
Asked if he would confirm or deny contact with Alonso, he said: “I think any conversations between any of the drivers or any of the parties are always going to remain confidential, but of course there’s been quite a few drivers who have expressed interest in the seat, as you can imagine.
“We’re going to take a bit of time to make sure we make the right decision, we’ve got some great options. We don’t need to be in rush.”
Pressed further Alonso, he said: “Is he available? I don’t know, you ask him…”
Meanwhile Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali made it clear that he intends to hang on to Alonso, although perhaps he didn’t sound quite as convincing as you might expect.
“First of all we have a contract with him, and for sure everyone knows about it. Fernando is an asset for the team and we need him to work closely with everyone, above all in this difficult moment of the season.”
Asked about what Ferrari had to do to retain Alonso, he said: “It’s a team work. We have to deliver a job, full stop, and at all levels. But this is for everyone, not only for the team.”F1, Fernando Alonso, Formula 1, Red Bull Racing