Alonso: I got Red Bull offers in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and two now

A highly entertaining spat between Fernando Alonso and Red Bull has emerged as Formula 1 gets back to business in Belgium after the month-long hiatus in track action, the Spaniard claiming that he has been pursued by the energy drinks posse for several years and most recently they tapped him up to replace Renault bound Daniel Ricciardo.

Alonso’s salvo aimed at Christian Horner comes amid denials by Red Bull that they have pursued the McLaren driver who is quitting F1 at the end of the season.

The latest word from the Bull-pen was that the double F1 World Champion generates chaos within the teams he joins and thus did not fit the profile of driver they seek, which has been their take on Alonso for the past few years.

But amid the team’s denials that they had pursued Alonso, he remains adamant he was courted by the energy drinks outfit on a number of occasions including twice this year, as recent as this month with a view to replacing Ricciardo.

Alonso told Sky of the offers, “From Red Bull, in fact, I had in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and two this year – one in Monaco and one in August.”

“The comments of Christian Horner this summer and Mr Marko are completely out of context and surprising about me causing chaos or difficult to work with.”

“One they have never worked with me. And second, they have chased me on five or six occasions over the last seven years. And now they say that – that they are loyal to their programme and their junior drivers.

“It has been weird and unfair to me. I wrote to Christian after his comments this summer. He apologised on email and hopefully, he will apologise again this weekend,” added Alonso.

But Horner is equally adamant that there was no offer made to Alonso as a possible candidate to replace Ricciardo late last month, in other words calling the man from Oviedo a liar.

Horner insisted, “There was no offer from Red Bull Racing this year.”

And repeated the team’s long-standing stance on Alonso, “He just doesn’t fit the profile of our team. It’s sad for him to leave Formula 1 but there was certainly no offer from Red Bull Racing on the table.”

“There was an enquiry which came from FOM immediately following Daniel’s announcement but it was very clear that Fernando didn’t fit in our thoughts or our future. There was never any offer so why Fernando has chosen to say that, I’m not quite sure. I’m not sure whom he had the offer from.”

Asked if Alonso was considered as a replacement for Ricciardo, “I have huge respect for Fernando, he is a great driver, a fantastic driver, but it’s very difficult…he’s tended to cause a bit of chaos wherever he’s gone.

“I’m not sure it would be the healthiest thing for the team for Fernando to join. Our preference is to continue to invest in youth than take a driver who is obviously close to the end of his career,” added Horner.

Red Bull have opted to promote impressive Toro Rosso rookie Perre Gasly to be Max Verstappen’s teammate next year.

Meanwhile, at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday, Alonso sat out the first free practice session of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, allowing McLaren to run Lando Norris, the teenager considered as a possible teammate for recently signed Carlos Sainz next year.

Big Question: What’s behind this tit-for-tat between the Bulls and Fernando?