McLaren-Honda’s third year of marriage has hit a few bumps again after an improvement last year. Double world champion Fernando Alonso will be keen to see out the 2017 season as soon as possible. With McLaren-Honda not producing the desired results, Toto Wolff of Mercedes has not ruled out the option of roping in the Spaniard for 2018. Although Wolff and Niki Lauda earlier felt that the Spaniard’s temperament may not be a good fit for the team, given the last time Alonso and Hamilton paired up, things didn’t go so smoothly. But now, Wolff has revealed that a move could be on the cards.
“You cannot say ‘no’ in advance — that would be stupid,” said the Austrian “What you can say is that if he is not the best, he is one of the best out there. His energy and motivation are still there. He’s in the final stages of his career, but that does not mean he cannot win races and titles in the next two or three years,”. Wolff also believes that Lewis Hamilton and Alonso might get along better now due to their characters evolving and attaining a level of maturity.
“If you could choose the Fernando today as he is, as a person, it would be much easier than to choose him with all the historical context. Lewis plays a key role in this. I think a driver always accepts a challenge, and Fernando would be a challenge. But it’s much more than just Lewis feeling right with Fernando. The whole dynamic of the team is important. Everything has to fit, but I think Fernando is a different person to how he was in the past,” Wolff said.
But the Mercedes team boss remains relatively satisfied with the current line-up of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. “The real situation is that, with respect to Alonso, there are other drivers who are a priority — Valtteri and Lewis first of all. We are also excited by our young talents and there are others who please me too. Fernando is part of this group but not more. I fully trust Valtteri, but there are many possibilities for 2018. Then there will be a big change in 2019 when all the great drivers will be available,” he added.