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Mercedes and the Spanish elephant in the room

NEWS STORY
06/12/2016

Toto Wolff admits that Fernando Alonso is one of the drivers Mercedes is considering as a replacement for Nico Rosberg.

Though Zak Brown insists that Alonso is "happy" at McLaren, the fact is that unless the Woking outfit enjoys one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the sport, the Spaniard is not going to realise his dream of a third world championship title with the Honda-powered team, certainly any time soon.

On the other hand... there's Mercedes.

As the Silver Arrows ponder how to replace Rosberg, the elephant in the room is that had the German not chosen to retire he would have lined up alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2017 as reigning world champion, winner of 23 Grands Prix, 30-times pole-man and 20 times the fastest driver over the course of a race.

Consequently, all else considered, including the fact that 2017 sees a raft of new regulations, why would Mercedes want to risk a possible fourth consecutive title, be it drivers' or constructors', on a relative rookie.

When the grid lines up in Melbourne next March, Alonso will be the most experienced man on the grid, winner of two titles and 32 Grands Prix. Along with Vettel (and Hamilton) he is the most proven driver out there.

Consequently, despite Brown's assurances it comes as no surprise to hear that Mercedes is giving consideration to re-establishing a driver partnership that almost brought McLaren to its knees.

"You have to consider Fernando," Wolff told Sky Sports. "He is a driver I respect a lot. He combines talent, speed and experience. It's all there.

"But he is in a contract with McLaren at the moment and we just need to weigh all the other options up."

Happy or not, Alonso would be a whole lot happier in a car that can provide that third title, not to mention re-partnering with one of the finest ever talents to grace the sport. Consequently, you can be sure that the Spaniard will have people looking through the small print of his contract with the same relish that others are challenging some of the more interesting political results.

Though there is little that Mercedes can offer McLaren, one person who could push for the deal is Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 supremo fully aware that putting the Spaniard in a place where we all wish he would rather be would be box office gold.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by mickl, 07/12/2016 17:05

"I'm surprised Esteban Ocon hasn't been mentioned much as he is also a Mercedes development driver and much rated."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by mickl, 07/12/2016 17:03

"If Rosberg has any sense of humour I bet you he's rolling around laughing at the chaos he's caused. :)

I bet Bernie is laughing too with all the publicity this is causing."

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3. Posted by Mocha, 07/12/2016 0:27

"Anyone have a rough idea of how much $$ it would take to buy Alonso out from his contract? There are surely clauses that lessen the penalty if the car is as bad as it is now... Ballpark on what the contract was to begin with?"

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4. Posted by @LONSO, 06/12/2016 23:09

"The question is can F1 afford to not put Alonso in a mercedes, I agree BERNIE isn't Alonso biggest fan, but he knows his rating would go through the roof, Hamilton can't claim his better then Alonso (2007 was extremely bias) and winning against Alonso would make his legecy (remember Alonso dethroned Schumacher, with him claiming it means more cause it's Michael)..
Over all I've been following F1 for only 20 years but this could be better then senna /prost. "

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5. Posted by Rock Doc, 06/12/2016 22:18

"I can't see him going there, McLaren would be mad to let it happen.

If Alonso were to go to Merc then that would destroy McLaren. They would have no seasoned driver to help with development next year and they really need that to build on this years work. Yes they progressed this year, but they are still not where they were before the move to Honda. Losing Alonso would be the final nail. What sponsors they have now will be leaving in droves.

You can bet they will not let him go without a fight ... or a very large wad of cash ..."

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6. Posted by JackTheCat, 06/12/2016 21:24

"If Alonso wants a third title he will not get it at McLaren Honda unless there is a dramatic change in fortune the likes of which has rarely been seen in F1. Therefore he knows this is probably his best chance. Mercedes get the kudos of having the two best drivers in F1 in the same team and we get to see if Hamilton's raw speed can beat Alonso's all round tactical ability. All that stands before this happening is a contract and we know money can sort that out.

Bring it on!!!!!! "

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7. Posted by alfsboy, 06/12/2016 19:53

"i reckon Button for the job while the youngsters prove their mettle."

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8. Posted by -ape-, 06/12/2016 18:07

"I would rather see Gossjean in a Merc. Team Haas need $$$$$ so why not him."

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9. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 06/12/2016 13:40

"Surely Fernando has the all important "performance clause" not hard to see how he invoke that."

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10. Posted by koko, 06/12/2016 12:40

"Only a couple of issues (I root for Alonso) the elephant will never drive for Mercedes:
+ Ecclestone never liked Alonso. He made that clear few years ago. Maybe 2007 and Crashgate may have caused this animosity, I don't know. It's also true that for BE money talks, but still;
+ Hamilton may also have small letters in his contract. For sure he will not come out in public saying "I don't want Alonso", but if his vote is considered, he may object;
+ While Hamilton may not be on high waves right now, he's the known devil and the team may want to work with him while they grow the next champion;
+ Paddy Lowe was at McLaren during the war. He may also have an input there and I really don't think he will be happy;


I would love to see him there, but I guess Button or Massa have more chances of driving for Mercedes next year than Alonso. And I hope I am wrong. :-)
"

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