Red Bull denied having made an offer to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso to replace Daniel Ricciardo in 2019.
The Spaniard, who announced that he will be leaving Formula One at the end of the season, told reporters Thursday in the run-up to the Belgian Grand Prix that he had rejected a Red Bull approach to join the team in 2019.
Ricciardo will join Renault next year and will be replaced at Red Bull by Frenchman Pierre Gasly.
“To be perfectly clear, there was no offer to Fernando Alonso for next year,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner said Friday. “We offered Fernando a contract in the past, but that was in 2007.”
Horner said Alonso’s representative, Flavio Briatore, a former head of the Renault team, had consulted, as had the owners of the Formula One commercial right, Liberty Media, about a possible interest in Spanish.
Horner suggested that Liberty’s approach was expected, as Alonso is an important personality in the sport and his absence would be felt.
“There was only one question about whether we would consider Fernando, which you can understand from a developer’s point of view,” Horner said. “Fernando Alonso is a great asset to Formula One. If he could be in a competitive car, I’m sure they’d prefer him to stay longer than look for his Triple Crown,” he added.
Alonso is looking for the so-called “Triple Crown” after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Toyota this year. The 37-year-old, who has already won the Monaco Grand Prix, is expected to focus his attention on the Indianapolis 500, the only race he has yet to achieve an unofficial title that only British rider Graham Hill has achieved.