Mercedes confirms Alonso is plan B to F1 champion Hamilton for 2016

Fernando Alonso has been singled out as Mercedes' main target for 2016 if the Formula 1 team cannot agree a new deal with Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes confirms Alonso is plan B to F1 champion Hamilton for 2016

Talks between Hamilton and Mercedes to thrash out a fresh deal were put on hold until after last season, so that the discussions would not get in the way of the title battle between the Briton and his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

AUTOSPORT revealed last October that Alonso was on Mercedes' radar and although renewal talks began with Hamilton last November, with both parties seeing no reason why a fresh contract cannot be sorted out, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has suggested that Alonso is a fall back option in the event that talks break down.

"There's no hurry, we'll discuss it during the year," he told Gazzetta dello Sport, with Hamilton's current deal running out at the end of 2015.

When asked what would happen if a contract could not be sorted, he said: "I'm optimistic, the priority is to carry on with these drivers. Should it be impossible, then Alonso represents the top alternative, followed by [Valtteri] Bottas."

Wolff believes that Alonso remains one of the best drivers on the grid, despite the recent disappointing streak at Ferrari that prompted his decision to leave Maranello.

"He is a dangerous rival with any car," he explained "If he is at the wheel of a car that can finish sixth, he will take it to third place."

Alonso has rejoined McLaren for 2015, with the team suggesting that the Spaniard has a multi-year deal.

However, there are likely to be performance clauses in the contract that could allow him to leave in the event that the Woking-based team does not deliver.

WILLIAMS MAIN 2015 RIVAL

Wolff also believes that Williams will be Mercedes' main rival in 2015 - although would not be surprised if Red Bull returned to form after a disappointing campaign last year.

"I put Williams at the top of the list," he said when asked where he thought the biggest threat would come from this year, "but I also fear a lot Red Bull: they have won four consecutive titles and will field every resource in order to fight again for the title."

He also did not dismiss the possibility of Ferrari, and new signing Sebastian Vettel, delivering more than some expect.

"Never underestimate them," he said. "It's an icon and it's important for it to be able to win again as soon as possible. I'm convinced it will soon be competitive again, maybe in 2015 already."

Translation by Michele Lostia

shares
comments
Mercedes 'incredible' in 2014, says Formula 1 rival Red Bull
Previous article

Mercedes 'incredible' in 2014, says Formula 1 rival Red Bull

Next article

F1 has had a bright winter

F1 has had a bright winter
Load comments
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022