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Fernando Alonso, Christian Horner

Horner: We got very close to signing Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Christian Horner

Many believe that Fernando Alonso’s career in Formula 1 has been plagued by bad management decisions, that conspired to place the Spaniard in the wrong teams at the wrong time, and now it emerges that he was in talks with a drive for Red Bull in 2009… but he turned down the opportunity!

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed to Motor Sport Magazine “We got very close to signing Alonso.”

“Helmut [Marko] and I went to see his management at the end of 2008 for the 2009 and 2010 season, and we offered him a two-year contract.”

“He would only sign up for one year. We said Red Bull’s position was a two-year deal or nothing, and he wouldn’t commit to that.”

“Flavio was involved as well, but he was trying to get him for Renault which he was managing at the time,” Horner explained. “In the end, he drove for Renault for 10 years.”

“Halfway through 2009, I had an approach to say: Could he join mid-season? They thought he could win the championship in the car.”

Instead, Alonso finally got his long-anticipated race seat at Ferrari for 2010. However, even a couple of years later there were still informal talks about possible talks.

“He had another conversation in the back of an Alfa Romeo at Spa airport several years late. [But] the most serious discussion was the first one, and then it missed its chance,” recalled Horner.

History will show that Red Bull opted for Sebastian Vettel in 2009 and that season the German finished second in the championship, thereafter he went on to win four F1 World Championships in four years as the energy drinks outfit dominated the final years of Formula 1’s normally aspirated engine era.

Alonso went to Ferrari in 2010 and spent five years at Maranello while Vettel racked up his titles. In 2014 the Spaniard joined McLaren and has since endured the bleakest speel of his career at the pinnacle of the sport.