It’s the Formula One summer break and that means that it is time for the rumour mill to churn. Among the shocks of the last couple of weeks, courtesy Red Bull, some rumours teased a return for Fernando Alonso.
Those rumours placed the veteran Spaniard in Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton. However, team principal Toto Wolff admitted that the double world champion was never an option. Though interestingly, he was open to the possibility of coaxing Max Verstappen to the German outfit.
For now though, Mercedes’ options for 2020 driver lie between Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon. The Finn has had a much better run of for this season and will be aiming to keep his place. Meanwhile, the French driver will be hoping that Bottas slips up so that Mercedes can follow Red Bull’s example.
However, some say that the name Fernando Alonso is not far away from Mercedes either. Unfortunately for his fans, even if he pulls off a sensational return, he will not be donning the silver overalls, and certainly not as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate, that much Toto Wolff has admitted.
“Fernando is undoubtedly one of the strongest drivers and after his adventures at Ferrari he no longer had the opportunity to drive a competitive car,” Wolff revealed in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Due to a series of circumstances the top teams already have their “alpha driver”. Sometimes it’s not enough to be good at driving, you also need to have the right circumstances.”
Asked if was ‘unthinkable’ to consider a Mercedes dream team of Hamilton and Alonso, Wolff made it clear that was not on the cards.
“Yes,” he replied, “because we don’t want to repeat certain stories from when the two were together with McLaren.”
Given that having two alphas at one team almost always brings with it a mountain of problems, as it did for McLaren back in 2007, Wolff was asked about the possibility of Verstappen joining Hamilton in 2021 when his Red Bull deal expires.
“That’s too far away,” he said, “we are fighting for the 2019 title and planning for 2020. Everything is open after 2020.”