Fernando Alonso annoyed with rumours of Red Bull move

Fernando Alonso arrives in the Interlagos paddock
Fernando Alonso retired from the Mexico City Grand Prix last weekend and is now level on points with fourth-placed Carlos Sainz in the drivers’ championship

Fernando Alonso has made it clear he is annoyed with claims that he could switch to Red Bull from Aston Martin.

Stories that he could replace Sergio Perez emerged in the wake of last weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix.

Alonso said he was “not enjoying” it, and dismissed the idea as “the normal paddock rumours from people who try to make fun of it and gain some followers”.

The two-time world champion added: “I will make sure there are consequences.”

Alonso did not elaborate on what those might be, or whom they might be directed towards.

Speaking in a news conference on media day at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Alonso said: “You are all journalists, professional people who have been in F1 for many years, and you gained your respect, and this is how it should be.

“The rumours are coming from people who are not in this room, are just there to make fun. And it is not funny when they play with anything.”

Alonso is under contract to Aston Martin until the end of 2024. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has said it is their “intention” for Perez, who is also under contract, to stay with the team next year.

Mexico was the latest in a series of difficult races for Perez, who is now only 20 points ahead of third-placed Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.

Alonso added that the stories “of course” served to disrupt his Aston Martin team, who are suffering from a decline in form as the season has progressed.

The Spaniard scored six podium finishes in the first eight races as Aston Martin’s leap to the front became the story of the start of the season.

But the team’s performance has tailed off dramatically in recent races.

Alonso has slipped from third in the drivers’ championship to fifth and is at risk of losing further positions to McLaren’s Lando Norris, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Mercedes’ George Russell.

And Aston Martin have slumped from third to fifth in the constructors’ championship.

In both the past two races in the US and Mexico, a new floor introduced as an upgrade has been taken off at least one of the cars before the race.

Alonso said: “We are not as competitive as we wanted and we all try to get to our best level, which is not the one we are showing now.

“We are analysing some of the upgrades we brought lately. Here in Brazil we have a sprint format and maybe it is a more traditional weekend for us not experimenting as much as the last two.

“Obviously we are not happy, (team principal) Mike (Krack) is not happy, no one is happy with the current form.

“But at the same time, as I said a few races ago, this team was 250 people two years ago and now we are in this transition to be hopefully a contender for the future – 800 people, new factory, seven podiums this year, 200 points more than last year. These kinds of things which are not the current form.

“We should not be happy but we cannot be too dramatic about the situation when this 2023 campaign has been a super season for us.”

In Mexico last weekend, Alonso had spins on two consecutive days, a most uncommon sight, and said he “always felt on the back foot and was not trusting the car”. But he emphasised that he had qualified fourth in Qatar, the race before the USA, and showed good pace after starting from the back following a set-up change before the race in Austin.

“These cars are very complex,” Alonso said. “They are a combination of things. One is the set-up, which has to be optimised for each circuit. Then in qualifying pace is extremely important with the grid as tight as it is at the moment.

“If you start in the front train of cars, you can follow that pace. If you start at the back, traffic hurts the downforce, tyres, temperatures. Small details can make a huge difference.

“That’s maybe why we are not super-concerned or panicking. We know the pace is there as we saw in Austin and we are not putting everything together on the weekend lately.

“Hopefully this weekend is a little bit more normal, a little bit calmer in terms of changes, set-up, experiments, all the data we try to give to the factory.”

Ricciardo at Red Bull?

Daniel Ricciardo driving his Alpha Tauri during the Mexico City Grand Prix, ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton
Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh at the Mexico City Grand Prix, having qualified fourth

Daniel Ricciardo’s strong performance for Red Bull’s junior team Alpha Tauri in Mexico has raised the idea of the Australian as a potential replacement for Perez if Red Bull decide to make a change.

Ricciardo, who drove alongside Verstappen at the team from 2016-18, said he had not had any dialogue with Red Bull bosses on that subject this week.

Red Bull’s world champion Max Verstappen said: “I always had a great relationship with Daniel when we were team-mates and I also have one with Checo, so it is unfair to say who I would prefer.

“It is not up to me to make these decision because I am very focused on my own performance.

“If it’s Checo next year, great. I have a great working relationship with him. If it’s Daniel, I have a great relationship with him, too. F1 can be a tough sport and you get these questions. But maybe also nothing happens. We’ll see.”

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Source: BBC News

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