Williams F1 may be late player in Fernando Alonso sweepstakes
Just when you thought the Formula 1 silly season was over, reports out of Europe say that the Williams F1 team is making a late bid to sign Fernando Alonso for 2018.
After three years of struggling with McLaren-Honda, Alonso is openly assessing his limited options for next season.
Meanwhile, McLaren is making clear it wants to keep him.
“We will do everything we can to keep Fernando,” said managing director Jonathan Neale.
Alonso’s options actually appear limited, with Mercedes and Red Bull apparently having no vacancies. This week, Ferrari locked up both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, taking that team off the list of possible Alonso landing places.
Renault is one option for the 36-year-old Alonso, but another may now be emerging — Williams.
“Auto Motor und Sport call it a rumor, but at Auto Bild Motorsport we know that Williams and Alonso are on the brink of a sensation,” the German publication said. “The two sides have been talking for some time.”
Alsono would presumably take Felipe Massa’s place, as Williams is yet to commit to Massa for 2018.
“There’s no reason not to go for another year if the package is right,” Massa said at Spa. “But I’m completely relaxed, no matter what happens.”
An Alonso-Williams collaboration makes sense, as the British team is eyeing a return to regular podium places, considering deepening its relationship with Mercedes, and looking to keep sponsor Martini happy with an experienced driver.
And sources report that Lance Stroll’s billionaire father Lawrence is also keen on Alonso joining Williams, as his 18-year-old son could learn a lot from the two-time champion.
McLaren could replace Alonso with 17-year-old British youngster Lando Norris, who has reportedly already begun a series of private F1 tests.
Finally, another option for Alonso may be Force India.
“We would be the ideal team for him,” said sporting director Otmar Szafnauer.