Spa-Francorchamps – Fernando Alonso is hoping Red Bull boss Christian Horner will apologise to him personally this weekend for suggesting he is a disruptive influence.
As a row over claims and counter-claims about Red Bull’s offers to give the retirement-bound Spaniard a seat in Formula One next year continued on Friday, both sides’ views were aired.
Alonso claimed, in interviews with Sky Sports F1, that he had received two approaches this year from Red Bull, including one this month following Daniel Ricciardo’s decision to leave Red Bull for Renault, and seven in all.
Horner told a news conference that Red Bull had not offered him a drive for 2019 and had not approached him since 2007.
“Just to be totally clear, there was no offer to Fernando Alonso for next year,” said Horner. “Fernando is a fantastic driver, but he’s obviously chosen his path.”
He added that Formula One’s new American owners Liberty Media had asked if Red Bull might consider signing the 37-year-old two-time world champion.
“There was just an inquiry as to whether we would consider Fernando, which you can understand from a promoter’s point of view,” added Horner.
“If he could be in a competitive car, I’m sure they would prefer him staying. I wouldn’t expect them to do anything different.”
His public comments followed less complimentary remarks by him and other members of the Red Bull team, about Alonso, while they were considering who to sign to replace Ricciardo.
Horner was quoted widely describing Alonso as “not the healthiest choice” for Red Bull while Helmut Marko, the team’s motorsport advisor, said his “demands were very tedious” when they talked to him a decade ago.
He said he turned his teams into a “one-man show”.
Clearly offended by these remarks, Alonso said: “I had a couple of offers from Red Bull. In fact, I had in 2007, in 2009, in 2011, ’13, and two this year, one in Monaco, and one in August.
“So, I’m happy you asked me this question because the comments of Christian Horner this summer and Mr Marko are completely out of context – surprise comments about me creating chaos and a difficult man to work with.
“One – they never worked with me and, second, they’ve been chasing me for five or six occasions, in the last seven years, and now they say that they are loyal to their programme and their commitments and their junior drivers.
“It has been weird. It has been unfair to me. I wrote to Christian after his comments this summer. He apologised by email and, hopefully, he’ll apologise again this weekend.”
Late Friday, Alonso said he had not had a verbal apology from the Red Bull boss.
“I had an apology on email,” he said. “But now I have nothing to say. I have been around long enough to know how these things go. I don’t really care. I don’t want go back and forth with this – I have better things to do.”