Although many thought at the start of the 2017 Formula One season that teams would be falling all over each other to sign Fernando Alonso for 2018, it seems that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Scuderia Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed at Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix that Alonso approached the team about securing a drive for next season, but it told the Spaniard it wasn’t interested in his services, according to Motorsport.com. Alonso spent four seasons at Ferrari from 2010 to 2014, during which time the Scuderia finished P3 in the constructor standings on three occasions, P2 once and P4 once.
“Alonso may well have shown the desire to return, but he did not find the right response from our side,” Marchionne said, via Motorsport.com. “We’re not interested.”
Marchionne’s remark isn’t all that surprising, as it follows Sebastian Vettel’s comment Friday that he’d prefer to have Kimi Raikkonen, rather than Alonso, as his teammate.
The confirmation that Alonso won’t be welcome in Maranello, Italy, though, means it’s likely Mercedes-AMG Petronas or bust for him in 2018. It doesn’t seem probable that he will end up at Mercedes, however.
Lewis Hamilton similarly told reporters Friday that he’s content with Valtteri Bottas as his teammate, as he works will with everybody at the Brackley, England-based factory. Combine that with Bottas’ win from pole on Sunday in Austria, and it seems like there probably won’t be room for Alonso at Mercedes either.
As a result, it looks like the 35-year-old will be destined for another year out of contention for the title with McLaren. Despite his threats to leave the team if its situation doesn’t improve, it’s more plausible that Alonso would stay there, rather than go to another smaller midfield team.
McLaren is still an extremely capable team, so if Honda finally can get its act together, Alonso at least will have the potential to return to the front of the grid. Plus, if he’s going to be in an uncompetitive car, it’s going to be a McLaren, as Zak Brown is one of the only people in F1 who will allow him to pursue the triple crown while he’s under contract.
Thumbnail photo via Honda Racing