Red Bull has confirmed a meeting with Fernando Alonso took place with the Ferrari driver’s manager at the Hungaroring last weekend.
Initially, the sensational story of a potential move to Red Bull for the two-time world champion was dismissed by some, as Alonso’s manager Luis Garcia Abad also handles the career of rising Red Bull-backed youngster Carlos Sainz jr. But when told his meeting with Garcia was obviously simply about the 18-year-old Sainz, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sport Bild: “Nonsense. Why would I talk to him about Sainz jr, who has long been in the Red Bull junior team?” Sainz jr drives for the GP3 team MW Arden, a collaboration between Mark Webber and Horner.
Clearly, Garcia and Horner might have something to talk about other than Alonso, but Red Bull is not hiding the fact the Hungaroring meeting was about Ferrari’s number 1. “I can’t remember if we talked about Red Bull or Spanish red wine,” a mischievous Helmut Marko, the head of Red Bull’s driver programme, told German television Sky.
With Australian Webber heading to Le Mans, Red Bull is weighing up a new teammate for Sebastian Vettel next year.
Earlier, although Kimi Raikkonen is also still in the running, it was believed Daniel Ricciardo had sped into pole position for the seat.
But Horner insists: “We have never been under pressure to take one of the junior drivers.
“We have won the world championships for the past three years, and we want to ensure we can carry on doing so in the future.”
Nothing has been heard from Alonso’s manager Garcia since the Hungaroring meeting, but still involved in the 32-year-old’s driver career is the former Renault boss Flavio Briatore. He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “He has a contract and contracts must be respected. Alonso has never said he wants to leave.”
A weak argument after Raikkonen’s contract was broken by none other than Ferrari when Santander bought the Finn out of Formula 1.