Red Bull have all but closed the door on any chance of Fernando Alonso joining the energy drinks outfit in the wake of Daniel Ricciardo’s departure to Renault for 2019 and beyond, leaving open one of the most coveted seats in the sport.
The veteran Spaniard is at the crossroads of his career, some reports suggest he will depart Formula 1 at the end of the year fed up with the frustration of toiling in the midfield with McLaren.
Some Spanish publications have lobbied the unlikely option of Alonso joining Red Bull alongside their young star Max Verstappen.
But according to Red Bull team chief Christian Horner such a scenario is unlikely, “I’ve got huge respect for Fernando, he’s a great, fantastic driver, but it would be very difficult to see. 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 would be to continue to invest in youth then take a driver who is obviously close to the end of his career,” added the Red Bull team chief in an official F1 podcast.
Red Bull have tended to promote from within the ranks of drivers they groom in the junior categories, currently they have Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly with the young Spaniard arguably with an edge over the French rookie due to greater experience in the top flight.
Horner explained, “We’re fortunate that we’ve got several drivers under contract that are great talents. I think we’re going to sit back and evaluate what the situation is, see what comes out.”
“It’s an incredibly attractive car to be driving, I don’t think we’re going to be short of requests and offers. I think we’ll look at everything.”
“The preferred route will be to invest, as has been so successful, in home [grown] talent. Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Sainz, Gasly – they are all products of the junior programme that have delivered for us.”
“[Sainz and Gasly] are very quick drivers so I think this just gives us opportunity to take a breath. They’re under contract anyway till the end of the summer or beyond. We’ll look at the options available to us and make sure we make the right decision for the team,” added Horner.
Big Question: Who should partner Max at Red Bull next year?