Christian Horner says Fernando Alonso has not been offered a contract by Red Bull since 2007, after the Spaniard claimed he was approached to replace Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo’s shock decision to move to Renault in 2019 left Red Bull unexpectedly needing to find a replacement, with Alonso on Thursday claiming he was contacted about the seat. With Red Bull having already denied the claim, Alonso (pictured) stated he wants an apology from Horner for saying of the Spaniard, “He’s tended to cause a bit of chaos wherever he’s gone,” but when the topic was again raised the Red Bull team principal denied the 37-year-old was offered a deal.
“Just to be totally clear, there was no offer to Fernando Alonso for next year,” Horner said. “Fernando is a fantastic driver, he’s a great talent in Formula 1. He’s obviously chosen his path.
“We had an enquiry from [agent] Flavio Briatore, and from Liberty Media, but the position within Red Bull has always been very clear that we invest in youth and have a talent pool through the Red Bull Junior Program. And as has been the case with Sebastian Vettel, Daniil Kvyat, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, we’re always going to draw upon the talent pool that we have.
“We have offered Fernando a contract in the past, but that was back in 2007.”
Asked to clarify if Liberty Media tried to place Alonso at Red Bull next year, Horner added: “There was just an enquiry as to whether we would consider Fernando. Which you can understand from a promoter’s point of view: Fernando Alonso is a great asset to Formula 1; if he could be in a competitive car I’m sure they would prefer him staying than pursuing his triple crown. I wouldn’t expect them to do anything different.”
Alonso’s request for an apology came earlier in the race weekend in an interview with Sky Sports F1 that will be broadcast ahead of Sunday’s race.
“From Red Bull, in fact, l had [offers] in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and two this year — one in Monaco and one in August,” Alonso said. “The comments of Christian Horner this summer and Mr. [Helmut] Marko are completely out of context and surprising about me causing chaos or being difficult to work with.
“One, they have never worked with me. And second, they have chased me on five or six occasions over the last seven years. And now they say that — that they are loyal to their program and their junior drivers.
“It has been weird and unfair to me. I wrote to Christian after his comments this summer. He apologized on email and hopefully he will apologize again this weekend.”