Wolff says Alonso’s “history” with Mercedes is why he won’t get 2018 drive

2018 F1 season

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Toto Wolff has given the clearest statement yet on why Mercedes are not pursuing Fernando Alonso to join the team for 2018.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Indianapolis, 2007
Alonso left McLaren-Mercedes after one year in 2007
The McLaren driver is widely regarded as one of the best in the sport and his contract is up for renewal at the end of this season. But Wolff again denied Mercedes will take the opportunity to sign him.

“We have commented on that already,” Wolff told the BBC. “Fernando has some history with Mercedes and it was not always the best.”

“He’s certainly a very skilled driver but he’s not a consideration for us at that stage.”

Alonso used Mercedes power for a single season in 2007 when he drove for McLaren. However the team became embroiled in a spying scandal, details of which were first revealed by Alonso, and led to them receiving a $100 million fine and disqualification from the championship. He then left the team at the end of season.

Wolff indicated the team will sign a short-term deal with Valtteri Bottas so they are able to review their options again in 12 months’ time.

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2017
Alonso lacks alternatives to McLaren for 2018
“It is a no-brainer that Valtteri has done a really good job in his first year with Mercedes,” said Wolff. “He gets on with Lewis [Hamilton] very well and the dynamic between the two drivers is very important of the team because it spills over into the engineering debrief room. It’s a good environment to be in.”

“So as it stands now we’d like to continue with Valtteri but it comes down to the nitty-gritty detail in the contract and the situation beyond 2018.”

“I just want to understand how the 2019 and 2020 driver market develops. There will be vacancies, there will be drivers coming back onto the market.”

“So as it stands, nothing against continuing with Valtteri short-term.”

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Author information

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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173 comments on “Wolff says Alonso’s “history” with Mercedes is why he won’t get 2018 drive”

  1. Always a good idea to be careful who you tweak.

    1. Indeed. Wolff can smile and giggle all he wants, but considering he has no racing background or racing respect in the paddock, speaking like that is going to catch up with you. Currently Wolff has a wriggled his way into an executive position within the racing team but as soon as Lewis turns his back on him, Toto is out of f1. Toto is needlessly making enemies. Wolff is smart but he must be getting overconfident, he ought to have made Bottas happy by sending a message of confidence, in his capacities and as a recognition of his talents over Alonso’s. He rather chose to speak of betrayal to the “reichstag” and of imprisonment of his so called protege in Bottas.

      1. Let’s not simply brush off Alonso’s egregious actions of 2007. It’s a HUGE thing to try to blackmail your own team. Credit to McLaren for forgiving him, but Mercedes F1 is a massive entity with 700+ employees. Toto’s duty of care is to them first, over that of any individual. Of course Alonso’s actions would have repercussions, it’s naive to think otherwise

  2. @Robbie

    Remember when I told you Mercedes weren’t going to sign Alonso?

  3. How crazy is it that the headline could just as well be “Wolff says Alonso’s “history” with F1 is why he won’t get 2018 drive”?

  4. Wow – that is ouch !

  5. So the ‘history’ is Alonso ousting a frauluant business practise, seems like the kind of behaviour that should be commended.

    Wolfe could barely contain a fireworks between Rosberg and Hamilton, he would zero chance of containing the sparks between Alonso and Hamilton. Considering the time he’s put into McLaren and the lack of results he’s seen I dare say Alonso has mellowed substantially compared to earlier in his career. I bet any champion or even race winner on the grid st the moment would have had some choice words to use throughout the year to describe the engine in the back of the McLaren, imagine what Joss would be saying ( granted the RB doesn’t have better reliability atm but when it does it’s capable of a podium. Max is at the beginning of a career though, Alonso is, i feel, peaking in his twilight, bit like a Honda 2 stroke ;) the constant wait for results must surely be starting to weigh on him.)

    Merc have their perfect line up, quiet second driver and the marketing starlet out front. Why would they risk it!

    1. @Ross

      Alonso blackmailed the team principle over the Ferrari design data dossier after the 2007 Hungarian GP qualifying fracas. He was in fact all for using the data and discussed the contents with Pedro De La Rosa, see


      and then there is the 2008 Singapore GP..

      Alonso is not the crusader for the truth that you’d like to infer.

      1. Well Said. Alonso is a very good driver but is the worst sportsman in formula 1 history. He has very poor respect with his colleagues and teams.
        And remember Singapore 2008!!!

        1. you don’t understand sportsmen AT ALL. I remember Singapore, it was not his doing… Alonso went for the win in the same way Schumacher, Hamilton and others have, dirty as they are also (if that is the way you choose to interpret a win) – what did Alonso do wrong in Singapore? tell me?> what? he didn’t drive into the wall like his teammate. Alonso is the best driver of the current era and Toto Wolf doesn’t know what he is talking about… Alonso dobbed in McLaren, not their engine partner of the time Mercedes.

          1. Also, the Singapore crash and subsequent win for Alonso cost Massa the win and eventually contributed to him losing the championship to Hamilton.

            So, really, that Alonso win in Singapore got Mercedes the championship.

          2. @zim

            What cost Massa the win was driving off with the fuel rig still attached to his car

          3. True :(

            One of my worst F1 moments…

          4. KP Cart. Alonso would have known there was no way he could have jumped the leaders & won Singapore without divine intervention and he got it. I cannot say whether he had prior knowledge of the conspiracy which I lay firmly at the door of Briatore, but if he was in anyway a sportsman, he would have refused the win when the fix was known about. And to throw the team under the bus when they hadn’t sought or implemented the Ferrari data just because they wouldn’t give him clear no. 1 status, are the actions of a thoroughly unsavoury character. Brilliant driver, no doubt but as a person, no. I am hardly surprised Wolff reacted as he did. Under the circumstances, it’s astonishing that Ron Dennis took him back.

        2. @frasier @jorge-lardone no matter what view you take on Alonso, it’s not right to bring Singapore 2008 into this. Regardless of what you ‘think’ happened, there is no conclusive evidence anywhere that says he was a part of what happened. Remember that one is always innocent until proven otherwise.

          1. @strontium
            In a court of law, yes. Outside that everyone has an opinion. My opinion is Alonso absolutely knew what was planned. His demeanor on the podium afterwards confirms that for me.

            And as 2007 proved. That’s far from farfetched for Alonso who would happily use illegaly apropriated documents to give himself an advantage.

        3. Schumacher & Senna were both willing to throw their cars into walls and other drivers to secure a win, Alonso used the data that was provided to him by the company he worked for. How does this make Alonso a bad sportsman?

          1. It wasn’t “provided to him by the company he worked for”. It was the result of a private arrangement between Stepney, Coughlin, de la Rosa and Alonso. In other words, Alonso engaged in illegal activities himself then used his own actions to try to blackmail Ron Dennis (who had been unaware of these activities) by threatening to report them to Mosely.

      2. Fair enough, but for Wolff to imply that Mercedes were annoyed with Alonso for revealing that Merc’s partner at the time were cheating and copying another team’s design would imply that Mercedes would drop McLaren as soon as they could.

        Yet Mercedes partnered Mclaren for another six years!! How could the bastions of truth Mercedes possibly live with themselves.

        And how could Ferrari even consider employing such an evil scrote, let alone for five and a half years???

        1. As others have alluded to, the whistle-blowing may not be as much of an issue as the manner in which it was done – Alonso seemed fine with the infraction until he fell out with the team. Also, for Mercedes, read Hamilton, would he really want to be in the same team as Alonso after last time? It would be Hamilton vs. Rosberg on steroids!

          Which is a shame as, whatever side you were on, it was one hell of a season to watch.

          1. Why wouldnt Lewis want to be in the same team? It was he who instigated trouble and won. Despite that they remained respectful friends.

      3. The Team Principal shouldn’t have put himself in a position where he could be blackmailed by a subordinate, the fact remains Mclaren were the ones at fault.

        As far as Singapore, how do you suspect Briatore made it known to Alonso over the FIA recorded radio that he had devised an intricate plan of having his team mate crash at an opportune time and place to secure Alonso a better finishing position?

        1. “Piquet is crashier than you”?

  6. I personally think that Toto shouldn’t judge on a driver because of their past history at a team who they were with for only 1 season which is seen to be very harsh, but I still believe that Hamilton and Bottas team line up will not change anytime soon. Also, why wouldn’t you want to pursue on gaining a driver with the capability to win world championships when they’re off contract? Because I know I would.

    1. @warner16 yeah because ever since than nando has proven time and time again he’s just a bundle of joy to have in your team

    2. when your one year with the team costs them $100,000,000 and a constructors championship while being part owned by Mercedes (50% i think at the time), i can see why Mercedes wouldn’t be too happy to have him back.

      1. He was and will continue to be beaten by freakishly talented rookies and seasoned talent (Ham,Max,Ric,Vet,) no matter what car he’s given.
        His days in the F1 Spanish sun are done. Even McLaren should cut their losses and let him leave. Get Button back in the seat for 2018/19 and get Honda focused on the 2020 engine regs.
        It’s a long path back to the front for Mclaren and they really don’t need to carry any excess expensive baggage to make it harder .
        P.S I wonder if the stalling point of getting Merc engines back into a McLaren chassis was the Alonso history.

        1. Zeke, why should they get Button back when Button reportedly cares so little about the team that, after that one off race in Monaco, he was reported as saying that he would have been quite happy if the stewards had just straight up banned him from competing in F1 again after his clash with Wehrlein so he wouldn’t have to race in F1 again? Besides, Button’s salary was hardly that small either, so he’d still be “expensive baggage” as you put it.

          1. Button stated earlier this month that he wants a full time drive in some series for 2018 ,he’s currently paid by McLaren whether he drives or not in 2018 so why not get him to drive.
            He still costs less than Alo and the sponsors love him .
            Honda must stay the distance in F1 and with McLaren. If they leave F1 their next stop will be F E and from there , there will never be a return to F1 .
            Right now you are watching the last 10 to 15 years of F1 as we know it .
            F E is gaining critical mass and will be the future .

          2. Zeke,
            If that is true, and I agree with you (last 10 years of F1 is in-progress) then why does the Formula One Group have an enterprise value of $15 billion? This valuation is insane on a business given the questionable future of F1.

        2. I must have been watching a different channel to you for all these years, then, Zeke, if that’s your opinion of Alonso’s driving skills.

          1. It’s not his skills I’m questioning , its the ability to know when your day is done and when the deck is stacked against you.
            He simply has too much baggage with too many top teams.
            F1 has become a 10 year career at best for all but the blessed and based on his and Briatore’s descisions since McLaren gate he certainly is not blessed .

        3. zeke – “It’s a long path back to the front for Mclaren and they really don’t need to carry any excess expensive baggage to make it harder .”

          He’s earnt them around 30 million extra with higher placed finishes than say Massa or Raikkonen would have done.
          Puts to bed your bitter sounding ramblings.

          1. So he still owes them 70 million then . 😂

      2. when your one year with the team costs them $100,000,000

        That’s the most ridiculous statement I’ve read anywhere.
        It was not Alonso who cost them $100M, but the person who got/allowed/condoned those blueprints to be on their servers!

        If that’s truly the way Mercedes Co. thinks about whistleblowers then I’ll put my car up for sale today (the problem is that the brand I plan to buy is owned by that other German company which doesn’t mind cheating). I’ll send them a message and let you know what they say.

        1. I think it’s more about why Alonso revealed the cheating, rather than what he did. He didn’t blow the whistle because he was some kind of paragon of virtue, but because he threw his toys out of the pram due to Lewis beating him. That behaviour has left a stain on his CV for years.

          1. Alonso was an active participanmt in the “cheating” – you will find this informative: https://www.wired.com/2008/05/ff-formulaone/

          2. alonso didn’t reveal the cheating , ron did
            alonso wanted to use the illicit information

          3. agree with that @fluxsource.
            It’s just that the original comment by @lancer033 tried to blame Alonso for the $100M bill.

            PS Just learned that Mercedes Co (the car company) does will not react to the above comment as it was not an official statement by them or one of their subsidiaries.
            And to my follow up, they do not condone cheating and will not persecute legitimate whistleblowers.

          4. It was Ron Dennis who told Max Mosely not Alonso. Alonso had a 30 minute argument with Martin Whitmarsh where he raised the issue in a heated way, Whitmarsh is the man who got him back to McLaren.

          5. @fluxsource

            Oh Adam, stop using pub-talk for you facts.

      3. @lancer033 the fee was pardoned. I understand the betrayal part, but you can’t discriminate someone like that.
        What Alonso did was right even if it was for ulterior motives, does Toto want to support cheating and ignore Alonso’s great qualities as a racer. Who is Toto to say what he did say? Doesn’t sound good from Toto, from Lauda I would take that, but not from Toto, cocky man.

        1. @peartree it would have been the right thing to do if he had come forward in the initial investigation. What I didn’t like about what he did was after participating it both the cheating and the coverup, he then tried to use it to blackmail the team.

          Can’t give him any moral points for unsuccessfully attempting to blackmail his team, but you can remember that he was a driver that tired to blackmail his team.

          Didn’t know about the fine being waived, but getting bumped from 1st to last is still a pretty big chunk of change.

          Don’t get me wrong, i’ve come around to like Alonso as a driver more and more the last few years and i was cheering for him as much as anyone at Indy this year. I’m just saying that i can see why Merc wouldn’t be interested in him.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      31st August 2017, 5:06

      @warner16 If you read Toto’s comments, you can see there’s another dimension to that.

      He gets on with Lewis [Hamilton] very well and the dynamic between the two drivers is very important of the team because it spills over into the engineering debrief room. It’s a good environment to be in.

      Essentially, everything is smooth at Mercedes with Valtteri – things obviously weren’t fine before that [with Nico and Lewis] and that took a toll on everyone.

      They simply don’t want to take the chance of bringing in Alonso who could upset the dynamic.

      1. @freelittlebirds So, reading between the lines, it was so bad with Nico & Lewis at Mercedes they only won three constructors and drivers championships in a row.

        That they didn’t win the target 100% of all one/two finishes from 2014 to 2016 was simply down to the frowns and grimaces across the table in the engineers briefings.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          31st August 2017, 12:44

          @psynrg I agree it was an extremely winning time but at the same time, Toto has hinted that it was toxic for everyone and you have to understand it lasted 4 years. I think it took a huge toll on Nico himself. Now they’re experiencing the difference of having 2 teammates who are simply much more co-operative.

          Valtteri is probably adding stability to the team and that’s probably worth a tremendous amount as long as he can bring in the points.

          1. @freelittlebirds I can’t help but be disappointed and indeed cynical at such decisions.

            If Mercedes were true to their word about being racers through and through, then they would encourage a highly competitive environment, such as if we had Max, Seb or Alonso alongside Lewis.

            We know Ferrari prefer the definite #1 & #2 style team – now it seems Mercedes are content to play the same game. Which for the sport as a whole, is a big let-down.

            Team mates should be there on merit, not compatibility!

        2. You are right, but now they cannot afford both drivers taking each out anymore. They have every right to not take ace drivers like Alonso, and Alonso fans should just live by that.

    4. @warner16 I’m not sure whether Toto is judging or just conveying the opinion of the higher-ups at Mercedes.

    5. As @mattds mentions, it’s most likely not Toto doing the considering and judging there @warner16, but the top management. Spy gate cost them a lot, including hurting their brand, and that is probably why the company is not interested in “getting back into bed” with Fernando.

      1. @bascb

        Almost as if it was Alonso’s fault that Ferrari and McLaren had a rogue employee each. They are probably still spying on each other today lol

  7. Bah… remember Bahrain 2014 and how happy Nico and Lewis were after battling for the win? and Mercedes said “that’s what racing should be”.

    But then both were in a tight battle for the championship, and the friendship ended quite fast. It always happens when 2 drivers get too close to each other with so much at stake. At the moment Hamilton has an edge on Bottas, so it isn’t a problem. And sure, maybe Bottas personality is a factor, but no one gets to F1 on merit by being a gentleman… Bottas will show his teeth if the opportunity arises, Lewis won’t like it, and vice versa.

    1. But you haven’t mentioned why their friendship turned sour?

      1. Because a fight for the championship is never a friendly battle, which is what I said in my post. Whatever happened during 2014 was a result of that.

    2. @fer-no65 Bottas is on a short leash. one year contract, for a race winner and a relatively young career…

  8. I guess that’s as decent an excuse as any to trot out.

    At least it sounds better than saying, “We’re not stupid enough to put Hamilton and Alonso in the same team. Bottas is a safe option.”

    1. Agree. Since Ron Dennis, McLaren and Alonso have all been able to put 2007 behind them, I can’t see any reason why Mercedes (arguably the party who was affected least by that saga) can’t. But I can see the rationale behind not wanting two roosters in the hen house, especially when those two roosters are named Alonso and Hamilton.

      1. I think that the difference is that McLaren is a racing team, they only care about racing and winning. For them the past is past and they appreciate Alonso’s skills as a driver. Mercedes worry about their brand and won’t re-employ someone who’s caused them trouble in the past. That and the whole Alonso/Hamilton thing, although I’d hope that the two of them have both matured since 2007.

        1. honda wanted alonso and agreed to pay for him AND supply free engines
          not even big mac could turn that down having lost hamilton
          the fact that honda couldn’t come up with the goods is neither here nor there

  9. Comically Hamilton has no where to go other than to stay at Mercedes. Ferrari are sealed for next year. Red Bull promote from Torro Rosso.

    Another reason F1 is screwed.

    1. Clint C Ferreira
      31st August 2017, 1:56

      Why would Hamilton want to go anywhere else? He has the world by the short and curlies. Money, great car, team support.

      1. Hamilton admitted it has been his dream to drive for Ferrari.
        Since Vettel has signed for the next 3 years and possibly more, it isn’t going to happen any time soon if at all.

        1. No he didn’t say that.

          1. Yes he did say that!

            Sky quotes Hamilton as saying this week.
            “It’s definitely a dream for every driver, including me,”
            “Whether or not l will ever be there…I guess definitely not in the next four years or whatever it is – three years.”

        2. No, he didn’t.

          1. maarten.f1 (@)
            31st August 2017, 7:31

            Actually, he did.

        3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
          31st August 2017, 9:07

          @Randy @maarten-f1 except it’s probably not true. Here he is in early 2016 saying he didn’t have a burning desire to driver for Ferrari and that was just restating something he’d said at the start of his career.

          Hamilton is an intelligent young man, he knows that when it comes to contract negotiations with Mercedes having more than one option strengthens his hand, so of course he’s going to say nice things about a rival team which appears capable of winning WDCs.

          1. It is true, he said it live on TV last weekend to SKY after Quali/Vettel’s contract was announced.

      2. because oil burning is being limited!! means no more championships at Mercedes for Hamilton.

        1. Once Verstappen signs with Mercedes, Hamilton will be looking for a way out. My best bet, he’ll do a Rosberg the second the pen hits paper on Verstappen’s Mercedes contract.

    2. I would agree he couldn’t get a better seat right now. But I doubt Vettel could either.

      I think he is pretty happy. He said after pole on Saturday he had the “best job in the world”. No reason to doubt him.

      1. While I didn’t mention Vettel. It is my point. The best drivers have the least options.

    3. @F1 Junky. Hamilton’s comments were taken out of context. Lewis is happy where he is.

      1. Never read the comments from Lewis. But it is safe to say. He is in the best team. So he only has one option or retire.

    4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      31st August 2017, 5:19

      Red Bull do promote from Toro Rosso BUT they might make an exception for Lewis. Having Lewis drive for them would be a huge draw for the parent company and it would also cement Red Bull as a top constructor to be able to attract such a driver. Don’t forget – the team is also stationed in the UK and Lewis is British.

      So there are huge benefits for Red Bull.

      Also, Ferrari will probably want to have Lewis behind the wheel at some point before he retires. It would be a shame for the constructor with the most wins and championships NOT to have Lewis drive for them at any point of his career – I can see Marchionne thinking to himself “why did we not sign Lewis?” every time he’s on track. The US market is their largest market and Lewis has more appeal in the States than any other F1 driver.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if McLaren also want to bring Lewis back to promote their supercars. If they have Mercedes power, Mercedes might foot part of the bill.

      I expect Lewis’s next offer to be very, very high – we could see a number that’s the highest in any sport and higher than Neymar’s transfer.

      1. If they have Mercedes power, Mercedes might foot part of the bill.

        Doubt that, unless Brawn GP, pt.II (Lauda GP? Lauda-Wolff GP?) happens :)

        that said if Honda ever comes good they’ll probably be willing to help pay a bit for Lewis (huge if, I know)

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          31st August 2017, 13:08

          @davidnotcoulthard lol, wouldn’t that be funny… Lauda-Wolff:) You never know…

          1. Come to think of it, Wolff GP might also work (ANNOUNCEMENT: Susie has replaced Niki and NO, we’re NOT. WOLF. :p)

      2. Yep high. Vettel was 4x Champion at RB. They paid him 12. Hamilton is too expensive for the program.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          31st August 2017, 12:52

          If Dieter decides that he wants to see Lewis behind the wheel of his cars, the contract will be ready in a day. Horner thinks extremely highly of Lewis so he would go along. I’m not sure how Helmut Marko feels about him but if he likes him, then the odds are practically double.

          Obviously, Red Bull have saved money on their drivers by controlling their contracts within the team.

      3. @freelittlebirds interesting point you make. If I recall correctly, Horner was very keen to get Raikkonen instead of Ricciardo originally. Also, If Ricciardo and Verstappen go anywhere, they’re running out of young drivers. They’ve tried Kvyat already, and Sainz (in my opinion is good) I get the impression that they have reservations about him.

    5. Comically Hamilton has no where to go other than to stay at Mercedes

      Another reason F1 is screwed.

      A much better reason would be that the Ming dynasty took Taiwan away from the VOC

      1. Good point. Explain it with reference to F1.

  10. IndyCar Fernando. Get in to real, fun racing again.

  11. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    31st August 2017, 2:35

    Deservedly so.

  12. Does anyone else here Toto’s voice in their head when reading comments from him?

    1. Haha, so true

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      31st August 2017, 13:18

      @trido he has quite a unique accent, doesn’t he?

    3. Every time I hear Toto’s voice, I see Schwarzenegger’s face in my head.

  13. Shame it’s about history, and it would have been an electric duo, but so be it. 2019 will be interesting. Now I just hope the cars can race more closely so as to give a slight hope that 2018 won’t just be 2017 revisited. Perhaps if RBR can be more in the mix too. I just really wish it wasn’t #1’s with the their #2’s for the whole second half.

  14. Marian Gri (@)
    31st August 2017, 6:14

    Unlucky! ALO is in trouble alright. No chance to get a top seat, no competitive car, his salary might take a big hit if he leaves McLaren (dunno if Renault can/want to pay him 30-40mil per year… unless he finds a big sponsor to pay him that kind of money), dunno if he really wants to go to Renault and have Hulk as team mate, Williams seems to go backwards with every passing year since 2014… Where to go?

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      31st August 2017, 6:54

      He’s going to take a huge pay-cut no matter where he goes. He won’t make much money even if he goes to IndyCar. I bet he ends up at Renault for a year, then retires from F1.

    2. @corrado-dub @braketurnaccelerate Renault aren’t even expecting to be competitive within the next few years. Sadly I think this is nearly the end of the road (or race track, such as it is) for Alonso’s F1 career. By the time anything comes up he’ll be in his late 30s at least. I fear he’s already sharply on the decline, even though there is no way of knowing with this McLaren.

  15. The lack of interest in Fernando Alonso @ Mercedes probably transcends the F1 team management & goes all the way up the food chain to the board room in Stuttgart… at least, that’s what I’d bet if I had money on it. I’m sure Mercedes HQ didn’t appreciate all the baggage & negative press that came from being embroiled in a scandal caused by Alonso basically throwing his toys out of the pram & trying to hold what was effectively the works Mercedes F1 team to ransom so he could get preferential treatment, then effectively snitching and abandoning ship scot free while all other parties suffered the consequences from the fallout. In subsequent years, I bet they watched the Crashgate fiasco unfold with raised eyebrows, did a double take when they heard some of his not so flattering comments about Ferrari after his departure, & are now wryly smiling at his many frequent outbursts over at McHonda currently. With Lewis driving like he is, & Valtteri having a very solid start as well (and both of them gelling very well in the team so far), they’d be crazy to do it, IMO.
    That said, I’d love to see it, personally… it’d be a helluva close fight, I think, but I believe Lewis would still have the measure of old Fred the second time around… especially on a Saturday: Alonso has never really been regarded as a great qualifier. On Sundays I think it’d be gladiatorial, but I still give LH the nod.

    1. you make Alonso sound like the devil,,, yet McLaren with Ron Dennis resigned Alonso.. if they got over it, so should Mercedes. AND Alonso never actually did anything wrong, it was others around him in each case.

      1. Mercedes didn’t do anything wrong either, so I don’t see why they should automatically “get over it”. Ron Dennis & Fernando Alonso both had very huge parts in everything that transpired, & it was solely down to the both of them that things eventually reached the tippng point. It was the both of them who then proceeded to engage in a virtual war of words in the press for close to a decade, both many times publicly stating they’d never work together again. Furthermore, McLaren & Mercedes subsequently split, so I don’t understand what bearing McLaren, Ron Dennis or Fernando Alonso’s willingness to work together again (and semi-split again now that Ron’s gone too) should have on Mercedes’ feelings about wanting to sign Alonso (especially since it’s not a stretch to assume that both MccLaren & Alonso might not have reconciled had either of them had any remotely better options available to them at the time). Not to mention the fact that Alonso comes with Flavio Briatore in tow (another volatile character). I just don’t see where it makes any real sense for them to make such a gamble when the juggernaut is rolling along as smooth as it is.
        And I’m not making Alonso sound like the devil, or trying to… just highlighting the fact that Alonso’s own actions make him look like the proverbial devil in this instance. I actually rate him rather highly as a driver, and like I said, I’d love to see him & Lewis go head to head again, and at this point I would settle for him in any competitive car, to be honest. It’s a crying shame to have a driver of his caliber stuck fighting at the blunt end. But Mercedes owes Alonso nothing.

  16. This has got to be tough news for Fernando. His blowup season in 2007 still has repercussions a decade later… which must definitely hurt. It’s interesting that Toto brought up his ‘history’ which obviously implies the spygate scandal as well as his history with Lewis. It’s fairly obvious that Hamilton and Bottas work well as teammates. For 2019, they are probably going to pursue Vettel, so there’s not going to be any room for Fernando there either.

    Fernando’s not going to be at Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull for the rest of his F1 career, which means his only hope for a WDC is if Renault can pull off a miracle and be the team to beat within a season or two. I don’t want to mention a McLaren Honda turnaround.. because even a miracle can’t help Honda.

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      31st August 2017, 6:58

      Can’t see Merc trying to get Vettel. I think the only one they’re interested in would be Verstappen. Merc waiting to sign Bottas for 2018 makes me think they’re waiting to see if Verstappen will break his contract this year (performance clauses), so they can snipe him for 2018.

      1. VER to Merc in 2019

    2. @todfod, unless you believe that Vettel would cut short his contract at Ferrari to join Mercedes before that, Vettel isn’t on the market until 2021.

      @braketurnaccelerate, I am fairly sure that Red Bull have said that they rewrote their contracts to ensure that there weren’t any such performance clauses.

    3. It’s all BS. The only reason they aren’t knocking his door down is because they have Hamilton and know enough not to pair those two again.
      Wolff talks out of both sides of his mouth.

  17. That’s a bit short sighted by Toto and Mercedes! It was McLaren as a team that were making use of the stolen information. Alonso’s only role was as whistle blower. So are Mercedes saying Alonso didn’t commit the crime but because he grassed up our team we blame him!

    1. Well that’s not entirely true is it? Alonso was actively participating in discussing the stolen information, that goes a bit further than just having knowledge something happened and blowing the whistle on it.

    2. Mercedes saying Alonso didn’t commit the crime

      they’re not and as @mattds said, I’d say he did.

    3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      31st August 2017, 9:19

      Not a whistleblower (actually Dennis blew the whistle while Alonso pleaded with him that he’d made a mistake!) but a co-conspirator who then tried to blackmail his accomplices. I can see why Wolff is not keen.

      Alonso’s talent is deserving of a top car and I’d miss him from F1, but I can’t help but feel that he’s made a rod for his own back, which is why no top team wants him. If he’s not just in it for the money he should drive at Williams or Force India for peanuts, but if the salary is important to him, he ought to stop embarrassing Honda and act as a team player.

  18. Why Mercedes hate Alonso more than McLaren, the team that he betrayed but now had been unite for three years?
    Was it Mercedes side who steal Ferrari data not McLaren?

    1. Sviatoslav (@)
      31st August 2017, 8:24

      No logic, just pure hatred. What should Alonso have done when Ron betrayed Alonso in 2007?

    2. @ruliemaulana because Mercedes is in a strong position with their car, while McLaren needs a strong driver since their poor performance. It’s business in the end, let’s not forget it.

    3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      31st August 2017, 9:25

      @ruliemaulana Alonso was happy to use the data from Ferrari until such time as it suited him to blackmail his own team with it. Mercedes needs a driver who won’t throw the team under a bus when things don’t go his way.

      1. @thegrapeunwashed that a classic case of a great heist gone awry.
        I just hope all the bandit set aside their disagreement and reunited next year and create McLaren Mercedes Ocean ’18.

      2. @thegrapeunwashed Can you enlighten us as to what data FA used of Ferrari’s?

          1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            31st August 2017, 17:00


            Thanks for that Oletros, it’s all come flooding back!

          2. Yes, McLaren screwed themselves by cheating in the first place.

          3. So as I have asked, what data did FA use? There is nothing in these emails that proves or even suggests that Mac as a team took the info from the emails and actually applied info to their cars. When FA made RD aware that he had emails, RD decided things had gone too far and went to Mosley with that. I doubt he would have done that if they were actually applying as a team the info to their cars. This is only proof that FA was in fact telling the truth that he had emails, which he supplied when asked. The emails are not to engineers or mechanics etc etc. FA and PdlR are drivers not mechanics nor engineers. Were any mechanics or engineers implicated as having applied Ferrari secrets to their Mac cars? Any evidence of that at all?

  19. Sviatoslav (@)
    31st August 2017, 8:23

    It feels that Toto blames Alonso for what McLaren-Mercedes did in 2007. Alonso didn’t started spying. And only poor management from Ron triggered Alonso’s moves afterwards. Besides, what happens when you lie to stewards and the FIA when they ask you questions? Eventually, Ron Dennis left the team because of that scandal in 2009.
    Sometimes Toto is a great guy, sometimes what he says is rubbish.

    1. Toto’s role in the team is “Politician” same as Horner etc, that’s what a team principal in F1 is, Politician talking the party line. they come across as nice and then they will say something ridiculous, divisive, scandalous, hateful, out of character etc. F1 team principals can never be trusted.. I always hated Ross Brawns political voice, he always sounded as a liar at Ferrari, and still does to me.

  20. They say “don’t burn bridges” for a reason.

    1. That other Spanish guy at Toro Rosso should take note..

    2. Evidently he didn’t burn a bridge with McLaren…

  21. I love how someone commented in the 2007 article

    Ferrari did lots of dirty things before and probably will do again

    (before saying that in that particular 2007 case Ferrari were the victim, which AFAIK they indeed were)

    1. face facts ….every time someone technical changes teams information goes with them ; it was ever thus ; so someone passed information because he didn’t get the promotion he expected at ferrari ?
      you believe it’s the first time that happened ? alonso tried to get a promotion by knowing what went on and blackmailing ron showed his character and burned his boats

      1. ????

        I was just referring to how it was a bit less than 3 years before the Fernando is Faster than you thing. :p

        that and are you saying gardening leaves aren’t a thing?

  22. I don’t know why some people are surprised by this. Its the worst kept secret that Alonso is a difficult driver to work with.

    Think about it from Toto’s point of view- not a fan’s point of view. Alonso v Hamilton 2. Both drivers have volatile personalities. Toto has just come from cleansing “the poisonous environment” between Hamilton and Rosberg. Why break the synergy of the team?

    What do you think will happen when Hamilton is consistently in front, or vice versa? All the while there will be Kimi and Vettel just behind, waiting to pick up the pieces. I think the Merc civil war in that regard would make even the Force India boys blush.

    So while as fans we obviously want the spectacle- Toto’s responsibility 1st and foremost is Merc’s interests. That means winning both championships and having a well oil machine.

    So I think some people need to get real.

    1. *well oiled machine*

  23. Along with Alonso comes Briatore. That in itself would make a manufacture think twice.

    1. Got it in 1

    2. This is very true. I think Alonso is great but Briatore is a walking scandal, and Alonso should’ve ditched him after what happened in 2008.

  24. This is more about Hamilton vetoing any chance of Alonso going to Mercedes.

    Early in the year Hamilton dismissed the idea out of hand.

    Hamilton is quite happy with the situation at Mercedes right now where Bottas obeys team orders and will do anything to help Hamilton win a race.

    By my count Bottas has had 5 team orders issued against him to help Hamilton so far this year.

    Vettel has benefited from ZERO team orders in 2017.

    1. Is this sarcasm or what? Vettel has benefited from no team orders?? Monaco, Hungary springs to mind. Laughable.

      1. Marian Gri (@)
        31st August 2017, 12:54

        You’re really funny, Blazzz! Was VET behind RAI in HUN? Letting RAI in front would have made him a no.2, no? While in MON, it’s 50/50: I say VET was faster than RAI and managed to do some great laps to undercut him later, you’ll say Ferrari messed up RAI’ strategy. But still some doubt left, whereas at Mercedes is was without doubt, BOT letting HAM in front via on-track maneouver.

        1. “BOT letting HAM in front via on-track maneouver“. Ah. More selective reasoning. Tell me again, didn’t the team then order Hamilton to let Bottas through as was the gentleman’s agreement? As if we are even debating Vettel’s number 1 status and comparing it to Hamilton’s not so number 1 status. You may want to review the “funny” bit- the joke’s on ardent Vettel fans.

          1. Bottas was ordered TWICE to move over for Hamilton in Bahrain.

            Vettel has not benefited from a single team order all season.

            Hamilton has benefited from many team orders this season.

            One driver needs team orders to compete, the other doesn’t.

          2. “Bottas was ordered TWICE to move over for Hamilton in Bahrain.”

            Even more selective reasoning. Wow.

            Annon, this is comedy gold. As I said. If we are even going to debate who has number 1 status between Ham and Vettel I’m afraid its a futile “debate” which frankly need not debating- its clear as day Vettel is Ferrari #1. I mean Ferrari even risked a win in Hungary instead of allowing Kimi past- who was arguing with his team all race.

            “One driver needs team orders to compete, the other doesn’t”

            Well said- common sense at last. Hamilton has a team mate who challenges him- and is allowed to challenge him- Vettel does not. You almost had me fooled there.

          3. this is comedy gold.

            It’s not “comedy gold” simply because you say so

            Ah. More selective reasoning

            from you. (well, perhaps not only you, but yeah there was definitely quite a bit of it from you)

            who was arguing with his team all race.

            I know some people think, especially in the new regs (and I’d guess in the years leading up to ’09) that the pitstops were where the drivers were racing but isn’t calling that all race a bit….selective?

            risked a win in Hungary instead of allowing Kimi past

            So you’re now complaining about Ferrari not giving a team order? (that and this is Hungary, if they managed to win Spain 1981, why not this while leaving the teams 1-2 position defended by the perfectly functioning driver-car combo instead (letting RAI past would’ve left their 1-2 more vulnerable than it was))

            Tell me again, didn’t the team then order Hamilton to let Bottas through as was the gentleman’s agreement?

            How is that relevant rather than selective? Hungary wasn’t the only time HAM was let through but was the only time HAM let BOT through….. though perhaps we have no way of knowing HAM would’ve done so the other times IIRC because he wasn’t really put in a position to do so anyway come the end of those races.


            If there’s any proof of that it’s not stronger than the proof that Coca-Cola deliberately made New Coke work the way it did.

            Which in turn is not strong at all.

          4. actually never mind my Hungary part (though you do have an interesting definition of arguing)

      2. Vettel was much faster than Raikkonen in Monaco. Ferrari weren’t to know Vettel was that much faster.

        Vettel was just managing the situation in Monaco. It was hard to pass. Hamilton himself couldn’t pass Bottas (needed a team order to get past) and couldn’t pass Raikkonen.

    2. Vettel has benefited from ZERO team orders in 2017.

      Don’t make me laugh.

      Vettel has benefited from –
      1) Car being designed to suit his driving style
      2) Best engineers and mechanics are working with Vettel
      3) Given a superior strategy to teammate OR Sabotage Kimi’s strategy if Seb is behind him
      4) A teammate who is asked to keep at bay and not challenge him even if Mercs are close behind

    3. Here we go. Boring
      Why wouldn’t Lewis be happy with the Mercedes team at the moment. I would put money on Lewis not vetoing any driver that comes to Mercedes. But If he was smart he would. Take a leaf out of Vettels book

  25. It is pretty clear the top teams do not want Alonso – Merc, Ferrari, RBR. He is a top notch driver but comes with a lot of baggage and a big salary bill. None of the other teams Renault or Williams are going to be winning races anytime soon. Staying at McLaren seems the only option now. Even if McL change their engine supplier they are nowhere near winning a championship. Can they afford to lose the money Honda is bringing in at this stage?

    All doors are closing on Alonso in F1 and his only option might be going to IndyCar. A real shame for F1 fans, but unfortunately his track record continues to haunt Nando. He will never admit it, but being a bit more patient and staying with Ferrari might have been the best thing for him. But as we have seen in his career for the last decade neither luck nor his choices favour him.

  26. Can see Alonso at Red Bull. They like bashing their engine supplier and are notorious whiners if they’re not winning. Best chance for Alonso…

    1. @mayrton
      Then Max is with the right team already.

    2. WSR 3 engine, WSR3!

  27. Alonso, tell F1 where to go and take Max and Daniel with you. What is a sport when the best can achieve nothing?

    Imagine a sport where the Messi, Ronaldo, Federer, Nadal, Mayweather, Mcgregor, Woods, Bolt, Ali, Lara etc were never given a chance to achieve greatness. That unfortunately is F1.

    1. Ronaldo, Maradona, Buffon and Zlatan, do you know what they have in common? They never won the Uefa Champions League. There are examples of great athletes that never get to accomplish ultimate trophies everywhere.

      But if that isn’t enough for you, remember, Alonso has 2 WDCs

    2. I get what As33 is saying, but many people would argue Alo hás achieved relative greatness within the sport, for years already. @johnmilk is right.

  28. It’s a bit comical how Toto and Niki are telling their views – sometimes they are opposite to each other. I wouldn’t be surprised if asked from Niki he’d say that Alonso is welcome to the team but they already have both drivers sined. For that reason this statement from Toto doesn’t mean much.

    Alonso’s problem is that both Ferrari and Mercedes drivers have WC potential.

    Maybe Verstappen will boil and leave RBR ;) ?

    1. … and it’s not unthinkable that Williams wouldn’t have a good car for 2018. No financial trubles anymore. Paddy Lowe from McLaren and Williams is there. They should have the team ready, it’s just 2017 car and development hasen’t gone to plan. Or has it? Maybe it was the plan to put all efforts to 2018? (hint: Alonso Williams 2018 isn’t impossible)

      1. Marian Gri (@)
        31st August 2017, 18:12

        Could be wrong, but ALO at Williams seems to be more and more real. There’s not much to chose from. Sauber is out of question, HAAS and TR have the doors pretty much closed too because of Ferrari and RBR. If he’s gonna leave them, then McLaren doesn’t count. We have left Williams, Renault and FI. I think it depends how low he’s willing to go regarding the salary and team-mate. I have the feeling Renault it’s not going to pay him +30mil per year… and if so, then ALO is not going to risk getting beaten by Hulk for 10mil per year. So, if he’s going to get 10mil per year anyway, then at least choose a team where he has a less capable team-mate, like Stroll. Williams will want to have a WDC driving for them and I think they’ll be willing to throw on the table few millions more than usual to get a driver of ALO caliber.

  29. Like it or not, his fault or not, everywhere he has been there was controversy, except one team, maybe he should get back there?

    Minardi awaits Fernando

    1. Well, from the news it seems like Toro Rosso (erstwhile Minardi) may end up with Honda engines after all. So, not sure if Fernando wants to go back there :D :D

      1. Alonso, Gelael, Honda engines?

        I’m starting to think Red Bull are reconsidering how profitable their F1 venture is for the drinks company overall.

  30. What goes around comes around.

  31. Is it Alonso’s history with Mercedes or his history with Lewis as teammates?

    1. Like when they hugged each other after every race in 2007?

  32. Alonso should have just stayed with Ferrari.
    It doesn’t matter where he goes, it won’t work out very well.

  33. Alonso is reaping what he sowed. As the good book says, 2 Corinthians 9:6 …whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

    1. Alonso’s mistake was thinking Ferrari would be any good without Todt and Brawn. He should have gone to Honda (Brawn) or Red Bull (Newey) when the offers were there.

      1. With hindsight that is easy to say, but nobody knew Brawn / Mercedes and Red Bull would come this good. And to be fair, Ferrari had good shots at it in 2010 and 2012, it was just the last three years that went downhill. The real mistake was getting impatient with them. Had he stuck with it, it’s quite possible he would’ve extended his contract (which originally ended last year) and he’d still be driving for them today.

        1. That’s assuming he had choice about leaving. There is some doubt about that.

      2. Newey wanted Alonso but Marko said no…

        1. Alonso rejected the offer for 2008. I think Marco would have got down on his knees for Fernando to join them at that time.

  34. The Alonso fans are pretty easy to spot in here lol. Claiming that poor Alonso was just an innocent whistle-blower and that he had no part in either spygate or crashgate, lol. Sometimes I think naive must be a word they made up especially for F1 fans.

    Even ignoring his well documented part in spygate, or the obvious fact he was part of crashgate as well, but perhaps was smart enough that time around to keep his prints off the evidence so to speak, just look at how disrespectful he’s been to his last two teams. It was all roses and smiles at Ferrari in 2010, but that quickly soured when they couldn’t consistently provide him with a title contender, and especially in 2012 and 2013 his public actions and words were often hugely disrespectful toward F1’s oldest and most celebrated team. It became painfully obvious that Ferrari worked for Alonso from 2010 to 2014, and look how much happier and stronger (as a team, not talking specifically about competitiveness) they’ve become since he left. Now he’s at Mclaren, it’s the same story: “Mclaren can’t provide the car worthy of our lord Alonso’s divine talents”.

    I appreciate he’s a very skilled driver, but he’s also the most overrated driver in F1, maybe even in F1 history, and he’s pure poison to any team who takes him on. I’m not at all surprised that an intelligent businessman like Wolff wants nothing to do with him.

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