Alonso, Red Bull and Bourdais UPDATE #6 (GMM) Helmut Marko has clarified reports that Fernando Alonso may have been in talks with Red Bull about joining the team in 2008.
Although David Coulthard and Mark Webber insist they will resume their cockpits in Melbourne next March, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz on Tuesday was quoted as contemplating a multiple-year deal with Alonso, who has left McLaren after a single season.
Mateschitz's quotes were, however, interpreted differently by the media; one news outlet said the Austrian billionaire had "confirmed Alonso talks", while another said the double world champion was now "not an option" for Red Bull.
Clarifying the situation, Marko - Mateschitz's motor sport advisor - denied that there has been any "negotiations" with Alonso, the 26-year-old Spaniard.
"What I can say is that Red Bull has not negotiated anything with Alonso. We know that he has talked to several teams, and we are one of them, but there has been no negotiation," the Spanish sports daily Marca quotes Marko as saying.
Marko, a former grand prix driver, also slammed as "lies" reports that Alonso recently visited Red Bull Racing's team headquarters at Milton Keynes.
Elsewhere in the Spanish press, it emerged that although Alonso has now returned from his post-season vacation, he is not scheduled to drive for any team at next week's final test of 2007 at Jerez. 11/27/07 (GMM) Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz has confirmed speculation that his formula one team is in talks about 2008 with the newly available double world champion Fernando Alonso.
Despite contracted existing drivers Mark Webber and David Coulthard's recent assertions that they do not fear losing their seats, Austrian billionaire Mateschitz
told the Swiss weekly Motorsport Aktuell that Red Bull is seeking a minimally two-year deal with the Spaniard.
Renault and Toyota are considered to be the only other teams in the running to accommodate Alonso, who is 26, next season.
"We want a two-year contract (with Alonso) with an option for a third," Mateschitz said, adding that he sees the multi-year term as necessary.
"What I hear is that he is negotiating with the other teams only for one year. Such a deal is for us out of the question.
"We would prefer to wait and demonstrate that for 2009 we can build a car that is capable of attracting one of the best grand prix drivers," Mateschitz added.
Despite holding out for a multi-year deal, the 63-year-old team owner said he is hopeful that Alonso will consider joining his Milton Keynes based outfit in 2008.
"Of the teams that Alonso currently has to choose from, we are, in any case, an alternative with great potential," he said.11/18/07 Double world champion Fernando Alonso is in talks with team Red Bull. The Spaniard quit McLaren after bust-ups with Lewis Hamilton and team boss Ron Dennis over accusations that the team favored the Briton.
Alonso, 26, has also been linked with a return to Renault where he won the drivers' championship in successive years. Boss Franz Tost has revealed that Toro Rosso's parent team Red Bull have started negotiations with the fiery Spaniard.
"The fact is that Alonso is without a fixed contract still, and for every team he is of great interest," Tost told Austrian newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung.
"As far as I know, there are talks between Red Bull and Alonso."
If Alonso moves to Red Bull, it could mean Scotland's David Coulthard being moved down to Toro Rosso.
Tost failed to offer any assurances about the Scot's future by insisting that Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais will be Red Bull's two drivers.
"We have contracts with Vettel and Bourdais. That is the facts, and everything else is conjecture," Tost added. London News11/08/07 (GMM) Red Bull Racing is still in the running to secure the services of Fernando Alonso in 2008, according to reports on Thursday.
Timo Glock's near-confirmed seat at Toyota has effectively ended speculation that the Japanese team could welcome the Spaniard, who has split with McLaren after a single acrimonious season in 2007.
Williams, meanwhile, announced its driver lineup on Wednesday, leading some observers to surmise that Renault - pooling an impressive band of sponsors in anticipation of the news - is now the only real option for double world champion Alonso next year.
But according to the Spanish daily newspaper Diario As, the 26-year-old's manager Luis Garcia Abad on Wednesday met in Madrid with Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz and also Gerhard Berger, the Toro Rosso co-owner. zzzz
Mark Webber and David Coulthard have contracts to stay at Red Bull Racing next year, while the Berger co-owned junior team announced that it intends to field Sebastian Vettel alongside multiple Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais in 2008.
Rumor has it that Bourdais could be asked to spend one final season in the United States so that Coulthard can switch to Toro Rosso, thus vacating a seat at the senior team for Alonso.11/04/07 Red Bull are set to become a major player in Formula One if, as informed sources suggest, the British-based team are ready to sign Fernando Alonso and Ferrari's former technical director, Ross Brawn, for 2008. This follows hard on the heels of confirmation on Friday that McLaren and Alonso are to part company prematurely, the only surprise about their joint statement being that it has taken this long for both sides to state the obvious. Alonso has never been happy at McLaren thanks to being beaten on occasion by Lewis Hamilton and the Spaniard's future has risen to the top of the agenda now that the season has ended. Red Bull may have been a late entrant in the rush to secure the services of the twice world champion but the addition of Brawn's name to the mix makes such a partnership seem tenable. Brawn, having masterminded five world titles with Michael Schumacher at Ferrari (never mind the previous two they secured while at Benetton), took a sabbatical in 2007 and maintained that, if he returned to F1, it would be with Ferrari and no one else.
Circumstances have changed since then. Ferrari, by proving their capability post-Brawn thanks to winning the drivers' championship with Kimi Raikkonen, have removed the cache the Englishman might have earned had he returned and been seen to turn the team around. More significant, perhaps, has been the spying scandal between Ferrari and McLaren, an unpleasant affair that will not have impressed Brawn, particularly as it involved Nigel Stepney, the Ferrari technical manager whom Brawn had rated highly. The challenge presented by lifting Red Bull to the level of Ferrari and McLaren could prove much more tempting, particularly if Alonso is the number one driver.
Hiring Alonso and Brawn would prove expensive for a team that already has Adrian Newey on board. Nonetheless, placing Brawn alongside Newey will allow the former McLaren and Williams chief designer to focus on what he does best while Brawn applies his superb organizational and tactical skills by coordinating the running of the technical department and strategy during the races. If this is what is required to make Red Bull a leading contender after three seasons spent feeling their way in F1 then Dietrich Mateschitz, the millionaire behind the energy drinks company, will not hesitate to fund what should be the final piece in his expensive promotional jigsaw.
Ferrari will be in need of liquid sustenance if this comes to pass. Apart from hoping that Brawn would return to the fold, the Italian team had been pursuing Alonso, if not for 2008, then most certainly, the year after. Raikkonen will remain at Ferrari but, even though Felipe Massa has been re-signed until 2010, the Brazilian would have been cast aside had Alonso been available. It was a possibility if you listened to Luca di Montezemolo. In the midst of his increasingly tedious and self-righteous condemnation of McLaren and everything the British team stands for, the Ferrari president described Alonso as 'a real champion, in every sense, an extraordinary driver'.
If Alonso does turn up in Milton Keynes for a seat fitting for next year's Red Bull F1 car, then either David Coulthard or Mark Webber will be looking for employment elsewhere despite both drivers having a contract for 2008. It is difficult to see where either would go, particularly Coulthard, who is the oldest driver in the field. The 36-year-old Scot was not one of the three drivers named by Hamilton yesterday as being on the McLaren shortlist. They are Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen. Webber, who is managed by Flavio Briatore, could move to Renault (which is run by Briatore) if Kovalainen leaves for McLaren but the staff at Renault might see Webber as a poor swap, particularly as the team had been hoping that Alonso might return to the team that gave him both championships. More at The Guardian11/03/07 Red Bull have rubbished reports that Fernando Alonso could be joining them, saying they already have their 2008 driver lineup. Red Bull have downplayed the reports saying they already have two drivers, Mark Webber and David Coulthard, signed for next season. "It's pretty much unprecedented to have a double World Champion on the market in November," a team source said, "but we currently have Mark Webber and David Coulthard under contract for 2008."
Renault appears to be the front-runner to sign up the driver from Asturias, Spain. Reports say they are putting the final touches to the contract and are preparing a new car for Alonso. The only problem seems to be the agreement on for how long the new contract should run and the amount it is worth. It seems Alonso only wants to commit himself for a year, so he could then keep his options open for a later move to Ferrari or BMW.
11/03/07 (GMM) The rush is on to secure the services of the newly liberated former McLaren driver Fernando Alonso for 2008.
Leading the race to sign the double world champion are Renault and Red Bull Racing, according to reports on Saturday.
"There are always talks everywhere and with everyone," Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz told the Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten, albeit admitting that his outfit already has "fixed contracts" with two drivers for next season.
One of them is David Coulthard, who found time to also speak with the newspaper despite currently being on vacation.
"If Red Bull intends to get Alonso, I am sure I would know about it. So I doubt that it is happening," the Scottish veteran said.
Coulthard's management told the British newspaper The Guardian: "We haven't heard a word. The team has an obligation to enter David in next year's championship and, if they are moving for Fernando, I'd like to think we would know."
Furthermore, it is understood that team boss Christian Horner is far less enthusiastic than Mateschitz about the concept of booting out Coulthard or Mark Webber to make room for Alonso.
But Germany's Bild newspaper quoted Mateschitz as adding: "In formula one, nothing is for sure." He also described the $26m Alonso rumors as "a great compliment for us".
Apparently more resolute, however, are Flavio Briatore's plans to reunite the Spaniard with Renault.
"I have presented a plan to Fernando about the future," the Italian is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"If he wants to cooperate with us again, it can happen. I know how much he can offer to Renault," team boss Briatore added, but he played down suggestions that Renault is prepared to play along with a merely single-year deal.
"An agreement for one year would not make sense," he insisted.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn also seems in favor of Alonso's return.
Asked about the rumor, he said: "Briatore is in charge of the Alonso case. I delegate all sporting decisions to him.
"But primarily Renault must occupy a role in formula one among the favorites," Ghosn added.