F1 news review: Alonso looked at Renault move in March

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In the F1 news this week Fernando Alonso first approached Flavio Briatore about returning to Renault in March of last year after just one round of the championship.

Plus Ralf Schumacher comes clean about his claims of having an F1 seat for 2008, Kimi Raikkonen hints at his eventual retirement, and Bahrain International Circuit takes a swipe at the Spanish Grand Prix organisers.

Fernando Alonso’s Renault return discussed last March – Alonso first spoke to Flavio Briatore about returning to Renault in March last year as the 2007 F1 season was getting started.

Kimi to quit when fun stops – World champion Kimi Raikkonen promises to stop racing when he stops enjoying it. He also admitted to being ‘shy’.

Lewis Hamilton: Bahrain F1 is the best – Bahrain International Circuit are quick to use the F1 racism row to promote their race, saying: “[Hamilton] will certainly get a warmer welcome in Bahrain than he did in Spain. Spectators made abusive gestures and banners as well as shouting racist abuse at Hamilton when he moved between the McLaren motor home and the team’s garage at the Montmelo circuit.”

Ralf made up future F1 claims – Ralf Schumacher reveals he lied last year when he told journalists he had a deal for 2008. He also reacted to brother Michael Schumacher’s warning about racing in the DTM.

Damon Hill’s son to hit the tracks – Josh to follow in the footsteps of father Damon, 1996 world champion, and his father Graham, champion in 1962 and 1968.

Fuji to limit attendance for 2008 GP – But still no roof.

Brands boss rules out F1 return – Brands Hatch owner and former F1 driver and commentator Jonathan Palmer says Formula 1 will not come back to the track. The circuit is plagued by nearby residents’ complaints about the noise caused by racing which have forced him to revise his planned calendar of events for 2008.

Nelsinho’s first target is Alonso – Nelson Piquet Jnr talks openly about the deficiencies in his driving style and how he plans to work on them.

Lew took Swiss out of tax man – The Sun reports that Lewis Hamilton has moved to Switzerland to avoid paying British taxes – didn’t he admit to this months ago?

Heikki joins the exodus – Hamilton’s new team mate Heikki Kovalainen is joining him, Michael Schumacher, Alonso and Raikkonen in Switzerland.

McLaren sponsors dominate F1 exposure – Vodafone take over from Marlboro as the most visible sponsor in F1. I assume it helps there aren’t laws against putting the word ‘Vodafone’ on your car in some countries?

Keke Rosberg takes commentary role – 1982 world champion and father of Nico to attend every round.

Max Mosley still in driving seat – FIA president may stay in office beyond October 2009. See Max Mosley is an F1 blogs fan for more on this.

Formula 1 steers towards emerging markets – F1’s new owners CVC look at ways of making more money from the sport, which could be bad news for the British, French and Canadian Grands Prix.

Villeneuve out of work – 1997 champion dropped by NASCAR team.

Stepney calm after meeting Italian magistrate – Italian investigation into the 2007 spying affair gets under way.

Hamilton wins Laureus gong – Lewis Hamilton won the Breakthrough of the Year trophy but Kimi Raikkonen failed to win World Sportsman of the Year.

The 50 greatest sporting movies – “Le Mans” and “Grand Prix” are the two motor racing appearances.

Walter Totsching – The Toro Rosso logistics manager has died.

GP Week – New F1 ‘virtual magazine’ launched.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “F1 news review: Alonso looked at Renault move in March”

  1. Did get some enjoyment out of this, but i did always wonder if Alonso slightly regretted signing to Mclaren. Maybe he did not expect to back up in 06′ with another championship?, by then it was to late to change obviously. A little surprised Flav let this one out of the bag guess he’s trying to get on ron’s nerves before Melbourne!

  2. Quite bold statements about taking F1 into new markets and abandoning many current venues. The Canada speculation comes as a suprise to me- we already knew about France and Silverstone being in the mix, then add Austrailia and you’ve got four traditional stops that are reportedly in danger of disappearing.

    I agree that F1 should expand into new markets, but at what cost to fans in longtime venues that have been the backbone of the fanbase for decades?

  3. The Concorde Agreement (contractual and financial terms to which the teams were bound) used to guarantee that four events would remain on the calendar. These were the British, French, Italian and Monaco Grands Prix. I think all these events, especially the first two, need that protection that is no longer afforded to them since the Concorde Agreement has lapsed.

  4. Not having F1 in the UK just doesnt sound right. I dont think I could support losing any of those four Keith. To me it just would not be F1 if they didnt race those four. They need to stand together-there is power in numbers.

  5. Quite interesting about Alonso sounding out Renault after just one round. It kinda makes all the Lewis stuff and Ron favouritism a bit of a weak excuse if he was thinking about returning before the whole situation soured. And it hardly looks like he went out of his way to settle at Mclaren.

    How he could expect Ron to give him the preferential treatment when he was thinking of leaving so early is mystifying to me.

  6. I am stunned by the Alonso story. I know he only left Renault because Carlos Ghosn refused to commit to F1 until after Alonso signed for McLaren. Clearly he didn’t give McLaren any kind of chance and you have to ask why. Was the fact that he could call the shots at Renault so attractive that he wanted to go back. Was it that due to his odd driving style the McLaren felt strange to him and he didn’t think that he could adjust it to feel like the Renault. Or did he simply realise how good Lewis was and decide to get his exit plan in place as soon as possible?

    You also have to wonder what this means for his supposed Ferrari future. If he was so keen to get back to Renault he has to be unlikely to leave again soon. Similarly if he has signed for Ferrari they must be reading about his precipitate rejection of McLaren and wonder how long he is likely to hang around Maranello.

    I think if I was Nicolas Todt and I knew that Alonso had signed a Ferrari contract I would be doing everything I could to place one of my drivers on a multi-year Renault contract on the basis that there is a good chance of being paid a load of money after one year to move aside for Alonso.

    You also have to ask why Renault paid Alonso so much money when he was chasing them a few weeks after he left?

  7. Keith,

    There is an mistake here. Where it says ” Alonso first spoke to Flavio Briatore”, it should say “Flavio Briatore first spoke to Alonso”, according to the report of Sport Bild/Times where you take this from.

    It is not a secret that Flavio tried to recovery Alonso even since the last season at Renault, and Flavio tried again since the beginning of the 2007 season, this is not synonimous of that Alonso was thinking to return to Renault since the first race, Flavio Briatore does not say such a thing in any part of the interview. At that time, Alonso was reasonably happy at McLaren. It is well known when the problem with Hamilton started and the mismanagement of Dennis about that.
    That race did the difference, not to think to come back to Renault, but just to start to think about to leave out McLaren for any another team, and Flavio was there, waiting to be “chased” by Alonso.

  8. “I think all these events, especially the first two, need that protection that is no longer afforded to them since the Concorde Agreement has lapsed.”

    Keith, haven’t the Concorde Agreement provisions been extended, hence the inability to field customer cars this year? Is there any hint of a new agreement on the horizon? I read that there is another meeting coming up soon to deal with it, but haven’t read anything about the new terms.

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