Mercedes could be set to reignite one of motorsport’s most combustible rivalries after team bosses admitted that McLaren’s Fernando Alonso is on their shortlist to replace departing world champion Nico Rosberg.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes’ other driver, and Alonso endured such a fraught relationship while team-mates at McLaren in 2007 that the Spaniard quit the Woking-based team two years early.
Yet Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has confirmed that Alonso is among a number of names, including the team’s reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein and Valtteri Bottas of Williams, under consideration to replace Rosberg, who stunned F1 by retiring last week just days after winning the title, and drive alongside three-time world champion Hamilton.
“You have to consider Fernando. He is a driver I respect a lot. He combines talent, speed and experience. It’s all there,” Wolff told Sky Sports.
“But he is in a contract with McLaren-Honda at the moment and we just need to weigh all the other options up.”
McLaren chiefs said this week that they remained confident that Alonso’s contract, which has a year remaining, would keep him at the team, whatever the lure of trading up to a more successful outfit.
Two-time world champion Alonso has finished 10th and 17th in his two years back at McLaren and has not won a grand prix since 2013.