The alleged contract negotiations between Fernando Alonso and Red Bull Racing were one of the most confusing and controversial topics of the last Formula 1 season. According to Motorsport-Total, a secret meeting was set up in Madrid in the autumn of 2007 between the Red Bull representatives and Luis Garcia Abad, Alonso’s manager.
During that year, the Spaniard had his hands full with his rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton. The driver from Oviedo also leaked the so-called ‘Spygate’ to the media, which showed McLaren obtained a gigantic document from Ferrari through an outsider.
By doing that, Alonso didn’t exactly make friends with then McLaren team principal Ron Dennis. The two-time champion already knew in the second half of the season that he could leave at the end of the year.
A lucrative offer from Toyota was on the table and his former employer Renault also wanted to get him back, but there was an opportunity to go to Red Bull as well.
The Austrian team was a young team at the time and only managed a podium finish once in 2007 and finished the season in fifth place in the constructors’ championship. However, with the hiring of elite designer Adrian Newey, the team was ready to make a big splash.
In the autumn of 2007, a secret meeting was set up in Madrid between representatives of Red Bull and Alonso’s manager Luis Garcia Abad. Not too long after, several photos came out where Alonso was spotted at the Red Bull Energy Station during the race weekend in Belgium.
Alonso walked in his McLaren outfit in the direction of the top floor, where a meeting took place with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, probably to provoke Dennis.
At the secret meeting in Madrid they had listened to the demands of Alonso.
“They were very demanding, not so much about finances, but more about PR performances and liberties with merchandising and such,” Helmut Marko said in an interview with the German medium.
“We said: ‘Okay let’s look at the details, you have to send us a contract draft’, we agreed that they had a week, after fourteen days there was nothing and nor after three weeks. Then we said to Garcia Abad: ‘Thank you, we do not have to do it anymore’.”
Horner maintains that his team has made a one-off offer to the address of the Spaniard, but Alonso sees this differently and emphasized last summer that the Austrian team has asked at least four times to drive for them.