Alonso turned down Red Bull offer for 2008 after McLaren fiasco

Fernando Alonso held talks with Christian Horner in 2007

Fernando Alonso held talks with Christian Horner (with his back to the camera) in 2007

After a tumultuous and controversy packed season with McLaren, Fernando Alonso came close to moving to Red Bull for the 2008 season, but after lengthy negotiations, he eventually turned down the offer.

That is the claim of Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo newspaper, reporting that the Spaniard was the energy drink-owned team’s “first choice” before he decided instead to return to Renault.

According to correspondent Elvira Gonzalez, Red Bull’s talks with Alonso followed the double World Champion’s acrimonious split with McLaren at the end of 2007.

“Fernando Alonso had it in his hands to change the course of his own – and Formula 1’s – history in November 2007,” Gonzalez wrote.

But Alonso actually opted to return to Renault, while Red Bull stuck with existing drivers Mark Webber and David Coulthard.

Coulthard was then replaced by a young Sebastian Vettel for 2009, while Alonso left Renault for Ferrari at the end of that season.

Fernando Alonso with Gerhard Berger in 2008

Fernando Alonso with Gerhard Berger in 2008

But in late 2007, Gonzalez claims that Alonso and Red Bull negotiated for “weeks”, including a meeting in Madrid involving his manager Luis Garcia Abad, Gerhard Berger and even Dietrich Mateschitz.

Mateschitz reportedly said at the time: “I want [Alonso], but at least for two years with an option for a third.

“From what I’ve heard, Alonso is talking to other teams about a one-year contract.

“I would rather wait and build a car capable of attracting the greatest drivers in the paddock in 2009,” the Austrian billionaire added.

Gonzalez said thatmoving to Toyota, who pulled out of Formula 1 at the end of 2009, had been another option for Alonso when he left McLaren but in the end the Spaniard opted to sign for Ferrari. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Butterfly

    For all his might at the wheel of a racing car, he’s complete rubbish when it comes to picking the team to drive for.

    McLaren 2007: Ron Dennis was known for being a complete idiot, and the team’s policy of giving both drivers equal treatment was only going to reduce his chances of victory.

    Ferrari 2010: The previous year was a clear indicator of how capable these guys are. No development throughout the season, no balls, bad pitstops. At least they always remain calm.

    Red Bull 2008: The biggest mistake of his career.

    Toyota 2009: I can’t believe this was even an option. Seriously?

    So there you have it. He turned down the championship-winning team to drive for the midfield team with the biggest bugdet on the grid.

    I don’t really see the trade-off myself, but Fernando’s perception must be something special when it comes to these things

  • sebolonso

    It is obvious Alonso did prefer Renault as manufacturer team in front of drink company marketing organization with same engine. Naturally it is easy to wise afterwards. Still, Alonso has been racing for the best teams. Several times second place in wdc standings is not that bad, even though it cannot be compared with winning.

    Next Year Alonso is standing against the wall. Ferrari has signed a new lead driver. Red Bull has closed the door. Lotus has bad finances and McLaren is to slow. Alonso is tied up by Santander at Ferrari and humiliation of most over rated driver in F1 starts directly after opening season 2014 on track. Alonso probably resigns F1 after 2014, when Vettel joins Kimi at Ferrari.

    Alonso is good, but far away from being amongst the best. Red Bull knows this as well and that is sole reason why they don’t want him in the team anymore. Sad ending for Alonso saga.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    I admit, I would have liked to see him in the fastest car.

  • Snowman

    of course he turned down red bull in 2008, the 2008 red bull sucked!

  • neutraliz

    That’s the result of “champion faith” made by fastest car.
    If Alonso mental image think car is the greatest factorthan himself, that refusal make his regret more bitter.

    But we know that Vettel hard work also build this Red Bull car beside Adrian, so this news are trash.

    Red Bull have very car fast because the harmony between driver, car and the team.

  • dod

    All of his decisions sucked bad,failed in Mclaren,failed with return in renault,failed 4 years with ferrari,will fail if stay in ferrari.

    The only solution is to go and beat vettel in the same team with newey.

  • Spartacus

    Butterfly once again showing her ignorance in F1.

    All the choices Alonso has made have been good ones. Moving to Ferrari when Ferrrari have one of the best winning histories in F1 and that many drivers would bite your arm off for a chance to driver with them, certainly wasn’t a daft idea.

    Added to this Ferrari have delivered the fastest race cars for many races over the time that Alonso has been there. The engineering is good.

    Unfortunately what’s lacking is that Alonso isn’t the best driver on the grid. He’s above average, but not in the Kimi / Hamilton (the real Lewis when he turns up) / Vettel league. He’s on par with Webber, and better than Button.

    Turning down Red Bull for 2008 was the right decision if he wanted to find a team which could provide him with a WDC capabile car. At the time Red Bull were a strong mid-field team. That they have won the last four championships is only partly down to the car, and partly to Vettel. To understand how Alonso would have done at Red Bull you only need to look at how well Webber was doing up to the point where Vettel started to dominate.

    If it weren’t for Vettel then Webber would have a couple of WDCs, and Alonso too. And that’s really the problem that Webber has with Vettel!

  • F1 Neutral

    I can’t believe you’re saying that Alonso is on a par with Webber!

    Webber is a driver that is only capable of putting together a couple of perfect weekends a year ie drivers like Rubens, Ralf, Massa etc but they lack the consistency of a Vettel and M Schumacher for week in – week out pace and consistency.

    This must also mean that you think Webber would have done an equal job in the Ferrari, bringing it home to 2nd place in the championship (which would mean Webber in a Ferrari beating Alonso in the 2nd Redbull). I don’t think Webber has ever had a true world champion pedigree.

    Obviously Webber has been unlucky with the car but I don’t really believe that the team would sabotage one car. It’s not like they haven’t got the money to build a few more. They wouldn’t risk the constructor’s title by producing only one excellent car and one that is below-par.

    Alonso has no doubt made some bad choices. The last Ferrari to carry the DNA of the Schumacher/Byrne/Todt/Brawn era as the 2007 car which Kimi won in. Since the Schumacher era, Ferrari have gone back to being a big name team with an average car, which is where they were in 1996 and before.

  • Hoorey

    He sucks badly,his choices was crap,if he gone to rbr ?r not left Mclaren….Now stucked in miserable ferrari without champ or future.Kimi will make him leave next year.

  • Spartacus

    @ F1 Neural,
    To compare Webber Vs Alonso you’ve really got to look to the 2010 and 2011 season. 2010 both won the same number of GPs as each other. In 2011 Webber scored more points.

    Remembering too that at Red Bull both cars race, whereas Ferrari put everything towards the No. 1 driver. Last couple of seasons car trouble has really put paid to Webber’s ability to score points. And the tyres hasn’t helped him either.

    However, even with the terrible luck he’s been having, knowing that he’s off at the end of the season, Webber is still driving at a high standard. Hence why I rate him as one of the best drivers in F1 today.

  • Boycotthehaters

    “That is the claim of Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo newspaper”

    This is old news. At least it is old news to those who follow F1 closely, I remember hearing this back when it happened. It was also mentioned by the BBC a couple of months ago.

  • Boycotthehaters

    Until Vettel came along and made Newey look brilliant, nobody at the time regarded a “Newey car” as something they especially wanted to drive in. Alonso’s thinking was that of everyone else in F1 at the time.

  • Boycotthehaters

    “If it weren’t for Vettel then Webber would have a couple of WDCs, and Alonso too. And that’s really the problem that Webber has with Vettel!”

    Webber might (MIGHT!) have one WDC without SV on the team, the 2010 one. And that’s all. He was easily beaten by Button in 2011, and finished fifth in 2012.

  • the fan

    i agree, this is old news. the editor clearly just dont have any more to publish.

    the comment about webber being on par with alonso gave me a good laugh on a bad day though, nice one Spartacus. you never fail at entertaining people.

  • Boycotthehaters

    Webber did beat Alonso in junior formula of course ….

  • ZombieJebus

    Lol @ Alonso.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Boycotthehaters is delusional! Everyone wanted a Newey Car! The dominant Williams of the early nineties. The dominant Mclaren of the late nineties then redbull. Newey was always regarded as a genius which is why mateschitz paid the huuuuuge dollars to get him. Rumour is, he earns 40million euros per year.

    U r clearly about ten years old if u dont remember the ‘Schuey vs Newey’ debates…