According to multiple sources, Williams has made a bid to sign Fernando Alonso for 2018.
Fernando Alonso linked to Williams move for 2018
Alonso currently drives for McLaren and has driven for the Woking-based team for three years. This time however, has been plagued by a lack of pace and reliability problems in McLaren’s renewed partnership with Honda. This has led to Alonso assessing his options for 2018, although they are limited with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing having no vacancies in their driver lineups for next season.
Despite Alonso keeping all of his options open, McLaren is making it clear that it wants to retain its star driver for 2018. No one was more forward than Jonathan Neale, McLaren’s managing director: “We will do everything we can to keep Fernando,” he said.
One viable option that Alonso has would be a move to Renault for 2018, although a suggested move to Williams is beginning to emerge.
“Auto Motor und Sport call it a rumour, but at Auto Bild Motorsport we know that Williams and Alonso are on the brink of a sensation,” revealed the German publication. “The two sides have been talking for some time.”
If Alonso was to join Williams in 2018, he would most likely replace an ageing Felipe Massa as the team has not yet commented on the driver’s future. “There’s no reason not to go for another year if the package is right,” said Massa at Spa. “But I’m completely relaxed, no matter what happens.”
A partnership with Alonso and Williams would make sense, with the Grove-based team wanting to return to the podium more regularly, keep its title sponsor Martini content by signing an experienced driver, and considering deepening its relationship with engine supplier Mercedes.
Auto Bild has also claimed Lance Stroll’s father, Lawrence, is also keen on Alonso joining the team as his son could learn a a lot from the double world champion. “Lawrence Stroll is willing to pay Alonso’s EUR 25 million salary personally, as he wants the best driving instructor and development aid for his son,” they claimed, addling that “Stroll even plans to take over the Williams team, having already invested at least EUR 40 million.”
In the event of Alonso leaving McLaren to join Williams for 2018, the Woking-based team could sign Lando Norris – who is dominating the European Formula 3 series this year – as a replacement option after the British driver impressed at F1’s in-season test at Hungary.
Force India could also be an option for Alonso according to Otmar Szafnauer, who said: “We would be the ideal team for him.”
Alonso is expecting to make a decision regarding his future next month, after saying: “I’ve always said that September would be the decision month,” when asked if he has decided where his future lies.
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