Horner responds to Alonso’s demand for apology in Red Bull seat row

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has responded to Fernando Alonso’s demand for an apology over claims he was offered a seat at the team.

Alonso said yesterday Red Bull twice offered him the chance to replace Daniel Ricciardo at the team, a claim which the team has repeatedly denied.

According to Alonso the offers were the latest in a series of bids dating back to 2007. He said Horner has already apologies for earlier comments describing Alonso as someone who tends to “cause chaos” at his teams.

However Horner continued to deny Alonso had been offered a drive for 2019 when asked by Sky.

“I’m not quite sure, maybe [Toro Rosso team principal] Franz [Tost] has made him an offer. There was no offer from Red Bull Racing this year.

“Fernando Alonso is a great driver, he is one of the best grand prix drivers out there. But he just doesn’t fit the profile of our team, the investment we have in youth, in a junior team with Toro Rosso. I think it will be sad for him to leave Formula 1.

“But there was certainly never any offer on the table from Red Bull Racing.”

Horner said there had been discussions with Alonso’s manager Flavio Briatore but no offer had been made for the driver, who will leave F1 at the end of the year.

“I had a couple of conversations with Flavio [who] was obviously looking around. There was an enquiry that came from FOM immediately following Daniel’s announcement.

“But the situation was always very clear that Fernando doesn’t fit in our thoughts and our future so there was never any offer. Why Fernando’s chosen to say that I’m not sure, I’m not sure whom he had the offer from.”

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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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74 comments on “Horner responds to Alonso’s demand for apology in Red Bull seat row”

  1. Alonso is doing no favours for his already decidely unstellar reputation as ‘problematic’. Red Bull were recognized as having the best line-up on the grid in Ricciardo and Verstappen. They seem genuine in their belief that Ricciardo would sign until the last moment. So the time span for them to enter serious negotiations with Alonso would be small – and vanishingly small given Horner soon after declared Alonso wasn’t an option. Alonso’s story makes no sense. And why, anyway, would he turn down a Red Bull place, had one been offered, if he’s being truthful in saying he’d have stayed in Formula 1 if he had a competitive car? None of this squabble counters the idea that he is indeed a source of chaos. And his own worst enemy.

    1. it doesn’t help but he must had a belief from somewhere. Probably his crook of a manager.

      The sad thing is the red bull line up is now not that special. When it was like you say the best on the grid. That is now probably renault.

      1. Probably who?? Chuckles in Red and Silver blushes

      2. How do you figure that? 50% of that lineup is still there, and Gasly looks very talented. Unless Gasly tanks, I’d say their lineup is still one of the strongest.

        1. Gasly is still very unknown. 2 good races doesn’t mean alot. Great potential but that is it right now.

          Max again great potential, incredible speed but still rough round the edges for a title challenge. By next year maybe he could be ready.

          Give either of next years renault drivers a title winning car id imagine they could take it right now. I can’t think of another team that has that. Certainly not Ferrari(their no.1 driver car barely do it with the fastest car), not merc(only lewis) and none of the rest have 2 title ready drivers. Of course Hulk is just a hunch so could flop, but he has the experience and speed.

    2. Horner is just 1/3, probably a lot less responsible for making driver decisions. Those decisions are (equally?) made by helmut marko and ultimately by dietrich mateschitz.

      1. @socksolid I imagine ‘feelers’ are put out to drivers all the time, everyone – drivers and teams – need to keep their options open. Minimally it’s leverage for other negotiations (e.g. prodding Alonso with a small display of interest could have been done to get Ricciardo to sign). But it seems to me impossible that a serious offer would be made without Horner knowing. And I repeat the point, why would Alonso turn a Red Bull place down? If he did, you have to wonder if he actually does want to be in a good car – where finally he’d be properly tested again. Or maybe assured number one status wasn’t part of the proposed deal.

        1. I think it is possible for alonso to not take red bull’s offer. After all red bull is going to honda next year so there is going to be a drop in performance. Those lucky wins might not be possible next year so it is not like going from mclaren to red bull would allow alonso to fight for wins… and definitely not fight for any championships. Red bull is starting their own long term project with honda and even their first win could be years away.

        2. If you read Horner’s quotes you see that he says there was no offer by Red Bull Racing. But all drivers are contracted by Red Bull Directly and then placed at either RBR or STR.
          Maybe Alonso is telling the truth and Horner is ‘not lying’.
          @david-br, @socksolid

          1. It could also be just flavio telling things to alonso that are not quite as they are in reality. Telling alonso red bull is interested when they are not.

    3. @david-br

      Speak to Andretti and Toyota. They had nothing but good words to say about Alonso’s impact on their teams and personnel. And they both won big races with him there.

      I can’t think of anyone at Red Bull other than Adrian Newey who excells at their job like Alonso does. Certainly not Horner who is barely fit to polish Ron Dennis’ boots.

  2. I did have to chuckle a little at “… he just doesn’t fit the profile of our team…”. Admittedly taken a little out of context, but a driver who constantly and publicly berates their engine supplier would seem the perfect fit at RBR!

    This is a very peculiar row. Somebody is being very childish here.

    1. I did have to chuckle a little at “… he just doesn’t fit the profile of our team…”. Admittedly taken a little out of context, but a driver who constantly and publicly berates their engine supplier would seem the perfect fit at RBR!

      LOL, very nice one, @gongtong !

      Somebody is being very childish here.

      Childishness needn’t be exclusive to just one party in this debate. ;-)

      1. Or to F1 as a whole! LOL

    2. Good one ;)

  3. This was the case for all other encounters.
    He was innocent in Singapore.
    He didn’t cause troubles or threatens in McLaren
    He didn’t scold some Russian driver for not able to overtake.
    He decided to quit Ferrari on his own, nobody kicked him.
    Now, Red Bull offers multiple times a contract.
    All legit.

    1. Answers in the brackets.

      his was the case for all other encounters.
      He was innocent in Singapore. ( true he was, why would he take such a risk. He was on the same strategy as many others)
      He didn’t cause troubles or threatens in McLaren. (He didn’t help, but neither did Ron who has a history of favouring one driver)
      He didn’t scold some Russian driver for not able to overtake.(maybe he did, who cares let the boys sort it out themselves, i think Alonso would lose that one anyway)
      He decided to quit Ferrari on his own, nobody kicked him.(He did quit, stupidly).
      Now, Red Bull offers multiple times a contract.
      All legit.

      Just to clarify for you

      1. Alonso enjoys playing games. I can see no reason why a team would want a trouble maker whose heart is elsewhere. All he would do at a new team is suck up their cash and sow discord. Seeing as Horner is a sane man, I see no reason why he would want Alonso. As history shows they (RB) promote from their own ranks. Which is exactly what they have done.

        1. What you mean RBR shouldn’t welcome the Alonso/Briatore nightmare with open arms? Lol Horner is on point

        2. All he would do at a new team is suck up their cash and sow discord


          ‘Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon told Motorsport.com when asked how well Alonso had integrated himself within the team.

          “He’s settled himself in the team in a way that makes things so easy. The guys know each other already. It’s quite smooth. And he makes things smooth because he is coming with a pure and genuine motivation. It’s remarkably easy so far.”

          “I believe Fernando has been able to add a lot to the team, partly because of his experience, but especially because of his personality.

          “He’s 100 percent professional, easy-going and open. It gives the engineers and the mechanics an extra boost, extra motivation. I think we can be very happy that he chose to race with us. In hindsight it’s been a very good move.

          “I hope he feels the same way and from what I observe and hear he’s feeling good in the team and that’s important. From the first moment it has been really nice working with Fernando.”

  4. I watched that interview with Horner on Sky. Before that interview I was siding with the “Alonso’s having some fun at RB’s expense” camp. But I am now not so sure.

    Horner is a confident chap who uses humour quite a bit. However while he answered the questions, he looked uncomfortable the whole time. And some of his answers where whimsical and he was clearly looking for the right words but couldn’t find them. For a guy who has so readily discounted Alonso in the media, he looked unsure of his words and even his attempts at humour looked plainly like deception. He said “Maybe Frans made him an offer”. That should be a very easy joke, but he looked uncomfortable saying it.

    I think there were enquiries about Alonso. I also think very early on, both parties knew it was wrong. So in that, I think Alosno is being disingenuous in saying there was “An Offer”. Asking questions isn’t an offer. In the same vain, Horner is being disingenuous in saying that there was “No offer”. He didn’t say they didn’t enquire.

    Liar Liar pants on fire. To both of them.

    1. Well, it’s a fact Newey wanted him in the past so I believe Alonso on this although he may be exaggerating the number of occasions it happened.
      Horner started it by criticizing Alonso last week to the media. He has been critical of ALO in the past, saying ALO need a psychiatrist because he was going to run Indy. Sour grapes about something.

      He and Marko are more arrogant than ALO I’d say – especially considering the fact ALO has actually has some reason to be arrogant because of his achievements, same as Hamilton.

      Anyway, I think it’s sad that F1 has come down tea table gossip such as this getting so much attention – says something about the sad state of F1!

      1. Alonso is too good for Red Bull, anyway

      2. So RBR hans’t achieved anything? Can’t you remember anything worth mentioning? No? Ok

        1. RBR have achieved things – but in spite of Horner and Marko and mainly do to Newey and Vettel.
          They are both a bunch of arrogant blow hards who have just lost one of the best on the grid because of it.

          1. I don’t think they lost anyone.

            Like or not, both Marko and Horner were part of RBR’s achievements. After all who brought Newey into the team?

          2. I think David Coulthard had something to do with bringing Newey from McLaren.

      3. Your kidding. this ‘tea table’ (great phrase) gossip, is what gets everyone going. We need more rows not less.

  5. I’m inclined to believe that there were no formal offers ‘on the table’… but having seen what both sides have said, I do believe at least some sort of informal discussion did happen, and some offer was probably made.

    1. Agree completely! I expect an “offer” was made, it probably was rejected by Alonso as too little before a formal contract was presented for negotiation.

  6. Someone is definitely lying there. I’m not sure who to believe anymore. I think I’m going to trust Horner’s words more concerning this particular topic than Alonso’s.

  7. I can’t stand Christian Horner or Helmut Marko. Neither has one iota of talent that a man like Alonso has so I’m inclined to believe him even if just for fun

    1. Although you dislike them, these are people that have given up driving and made it to the top of F1 in a different route. I can’t stand them sometimes too, but they must have had some talent in order to make it.

    2. Feel free to dislike them, but don’t undersell their skills, talent, and successes in motorsports.

  8. Only one way to sort this out… A Red Bull sponsored Kimoa handbag scrap…..

  9. Seems strange. I don’t get the impression FA has been bound and determined to stay in F1 anyway. If indeed he had a few offers from RBR then he obviously either doesn’t consider them competitive enough, couldn’t see himself driving a Honda powered car again so soon, or simply wants to leave F1. I don’t know why CH would deny it if they made a formal offer that was declined, and then he would simply state that they did that but FA declined.

    Anyway, neither here nor there, but boy oh boy what a blast that would have been to have Max and FA on the same team.

    1. It’s very easy to understand, you have the two biggest marketing teams trading blows, RBR and Alonso. Both week in week out tell us how they are the nest while blaming someone else for the fact that they are not winning, so when you pitch them against each other this was bound to happen.

      RBR haven’t hired someone out of their program since Webber, so for me Alonso’s comments are just another way of promoting himself, something he has been doing a lot lately, but he starting to lose it and sound a bit delusional, confused and contradictory

      But hey, he will then tell the Spanish press it was just a joke

  10. Red Bull had a different version of events with Ricciardo too so now I’m not so sure who to believe.

    But great to hear FOM taking action and trying to get Alonso in a competitive car.

  11. There was an enquiry that came from FOM immediately following Daniel’s announcement.

    Good thing for Mr Halliwell that Bernie isn’t still pulling the strings. I can imagine that “enquiry” would have been an order if BC Ecclestone had been on the other end of the phone.

    1. “Mr. Halliwell”

  12. Alonso has been in F1 long enough to know what an offer looks like. Why go out on a limb to claim an offer was made to you when the team said they didn’t do nothing of such? Yes Flavio was looking around and talking to every team and their chicken but that does not constitute an offer simply because he probably cornered Horner in a corner and said “Hey Christian, I’d Likea Alonso to drive for you” and Horner replied, “Alonso is a great driver, we’ll see Flavio”

    1. I strongly suspect it was via Flávio. Probably a brief conversation or two with RBR, relayed to Fernando as a firm offer.

      I don’t absolutely trust any of the parties involved but especially not Flávio.-

      1. Yeah what you two are saying makes as much sense as anything. Can’t for the life of me figure why CH would deny it if a formal offer was actually made and declined. Why wouldn’t he just admit that? I think he would, if indeed a formal offer had been made and declined. But Flavio? I agree he is not the most trustworthy individual on the planet.

        1. I think Horner knew he couldn’t really admit to any such meeting without throwing a lot of fuel on to the why-did-Daniel-really-leave fire, especially if any of those meetings took place before Daniel finally decided to make the switch to Renault. He seemed really uncomfortable talking about any of it this morning, & none of his answers were very convincing, IMO.

  13. Alonso already making problems before potentially joining a team haha… Such a talent gone to waste because of his character. A true pity. Am sure Flavio didn’t and doesn’t help when it dmes to this flaw.

    1. He is not joining the team. Why should he be diplomatic, even more with a manager like Horner that talks as much, if not more, than him.

      1. That’s also true..

    2. I do wonder sometimes if Alonso’s career would have been very different (better) if he had a different manager.

      I know if Briatore came knocking on my door I would not open it

  14. This stoush is gold! We have an ego centric racer and an ego centric Team Manager not quite agreeing.

    Someone is telling fibs, but not 100%. Alonso’s management seeing Horner in the elevator saying “hi” isn’t a offer is it- there has been contact and both parties not happy with the result, so at each other now?! Great back n forth through Media hey- funny stuff.

    Who thinks whom is correct?

    1. @garns Lol, true. I just can’t think of a reason why, if RBR made a formal offer to FA that CH knew about (hard to imagine he wouldn’t know about it), he (CH) would deny it. Why wouldn’t he just say yeah we made him an offer and he declined it, upon being asked about FA’s comments about an offer? I see nothing CH would gain by hiding a declined offer from the world.

      1. @robbie
        Agree with that, seems Alosno trying so save ego?

      2. I see nothing CH would gain by hiding a declined offer from the world.

        His previous statement that Alonso and chaos go hand in hand.

    2. It all depends on what “offer” means to each party. I’m sure there was no formal contract placed before Alonso but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone in the higher RB leadership had an informal discussion with Alonso’s people. They’d have been crazy not to at least look at the possibility. RBR is an advertising division of Red Bull. Never forget that. Racing is secondary to selling the cans of goop. Signing Alonso would have caused chaos in the team but it would have made good headlines.

  15. Ory (@the-orycle-26)
    24th August 2018, 15:30

    Horner’ need not lie… They inquired.. Mm

  16. I’m an Alonso fan and think Red Bull are a cool team, but frankly this bickering is just dumb — from both sides.

    Fernando has nothing to gain by allowing himself to be baited and constantly rebut Horner’s comments (especially the “cause chaos wherever he goes part”). He’s leaving F1, and as Mark Webber said in his book (after announcing his retirement), “…such antics will be a thing of the past”.

    As for Horner, he and Dr. Marko really need to get over the events of 2007/2008; when Alonso snubbed their offer and likely scoffed at the idea of RBR becoming GP winners by 2009. History and facts will show that they were right, and Alonso was wrong: between 2009 – 2010, RBR scored a load of GP wins and notched up 8 drivers’ + constructors’ championships combined.

    At the end of the day, maybe talks were held. But clearly neither side took it seriously. These people need to move on with their lives.

  17. The marketing king striking again. No wonder no top team wants him.

  18. Let’s cut the crap and get on with racing.

  19. This could just be another example of Horner’s well-known hypocrisy, like stating their drivers are treated equally or when he used to trash their championship winning engines… but some further reading shows the man rebutted by himself at an interview last year . If anything, the author of the article does not mention where such interview was published but is food for thought…

  20. Oh my! This is turning into quite a heated 2018 F1 Drama Queen competition!

  21. The funny part is that Cyril Abiteboul and Renault declared that they will never work with Red Bull again.

    But the one who causes problems is Alonso! Go figure.

    Christian Horner has been way too salty the last few years.
    Must be WCC abstinence.

  22. YellowSubmarine
    24th August 2018, 20:23

    No wonder no F1 team will touch him with the proverbial 10-foot pole. If Red Bull did send him an approach email, as he claimed at some point, expect that to be leaked to the media shortly.
    Nasty character.

  23. @keithcollantine Fascinating!

    Alonso could have been persuaded to stay in F1 with a switch to Red Bull, who hope that a change to Honda engines can end a six-year drought without a world title. Liberty Media, the sport’s owners, were so conscious of the Spaniard’s value that Christian Horner confirmed on Friday that he had been asked if such a deal could be struck. Ultimately, Red Bull shelved the idea, wary both of Alonso’s potential for disruption and of the risk of antagonising Max Verstappen, the Dutch superstar around whom they are building their future.


    1. @shimks If true, that would explain why Horner announced out of the blue that Red Bull weren’t interested in Alonso. An approach from Alonso and his cohort could have been politely ignored and turned down, but maybe Red Bull and Horner fell they had to make a public ‘statement’ to ward off pressure from Liberty to make the deal happen.

      1. @david-br Yes, that does sound plausible!

  24. It’s funny how Daniel Riccairdo is in a simialr situation to Alonso and yet all the hate is aimed at Alonso. Who by the way Andretti and Toyota has nothing but praise for his character and influence on their teams, both winning massive races with him there.

    Riccairdo has also fallen victim to ‘No top teams want him’ and Red Bull protecting Verstappen as number 1.
    I really hope Dan’s career doesn’t also go the same way as Alonso. Top talent that never gets a dominant car.

    Nobody in F1 management has any bottle anymore. Bring back Bernie and Ron Dennis and let their be fireworks between drivers.

    1. Let’s just say I like ricciardo, but if he can never get on a top team again he asked for it, leaving red bull for anything than ferrari or mercedes at this stage is silly, it’s gambling, literally.

  25. I am a fan of Alonsos driving, he is one of the greats. I’m not the biggest fan of Horner. But Alonso should just leave this and move on.
    As for Alonso not fitting the profile of team, well I think one of the reasons Ricciardo left is the same as why Alonso knocked back the “opportunity” :) (if one was offered) to drive for them.
    Has anyone heard who made the bid for Hamilton?

    1. @johnrkh

      The bid for Hamilton was as probably as light-weight as the one for Alonso.

      I’ve noticed looking on youtube videos that the drivers and their managers are regularly in conversation with team bosses and much friendlier to each other than the news headlines would suggest.
      The same as the video of Alonso being hugged by the Hamilton family.

  26. Clash os egos. To be honest, I did not even know that Flavio Briattore was Alonso’s manager. Who would hire FB as a manager after the Renault Piquet scandal?

    Answer: The other driver who was involved in the unethical deal and is being blackmailed by FB, otherwise he will spill the beans to the FIA….

    1. That’s a long bow for someone that admit’s he doesn’t even know the well known. Other than the short period he was banned, Briatore has always been Alonso’s manager – pretty sure he’d know his way straight to Marko’s office as he was Webber’s manager too.

  27. This is a popular reason for many divorces: bad communication.

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