Fernando Alonso turned down an approach from Red Bull to join the now four-time world champions back in 2008, it has been revealed.
After a tumultuous season at McLaren in 2007 the Spaniard returned to Renault, where he had won his two championships, for two more years. However, it has now emerged Alonso was top of Red Bull’s driver list.
“Fernando Alonso had it in his hands to change the course of his own – and Formula One’s – history in November 2007,” El Mundo Deportivo’s correspondent Elvira Gonzalez wrote.
Instead, Red Bull stuck with then driver’s Mark Webber and David Coulthard for 2008, before the Scot retired at the end of that season.
Sebastian Vettel was drafted in from 2009, while Alonso made the move to Ferrari in 2010.
Gonzalez continued saying meetings between Alonso’s manager Luis Garcia Abad, Gerhard Berger and even Dietrich Mateschitz took place for 'weeks' in Madrid.
Mateschitz reportedly said at the time: “I want him (Alonso), but at least for two years with an option for a third.
“From what I’ve heard, Alonso is talking to other teams about a one-year contract.
“I would rather wait and build a car capable of attracting the greatest drivers in the paddock in 2009."
According to Gonzalez, another option open to Alonso was Toyota, who then pulled out of F1 after 2009.
While one high level driver didn’t join Red Bull, several high level engineers are set to leave - including design genius Adrian Newey it is reported.
Last week the 54-year-old was reported as suggesting he would like a go at the America’s Cup sailing event and now one of the world’s greatest sailors, Sir Ben Ainslie, is set to meet with Newey in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“Someone with his (Newey’s) design and technical experience would be invaluable,” said Ainslie.
At the same time, Newey’s number 2 Peter Prodromou and his deputy are set to leave for McLaren.
Up until now the identity of that deputy has been unknown, however Auto Sport und Motor now reveal him to be Dan Fallows.
Fallows’ job title at Red Bull is aerodynamics team leader.
“McLaren obviously have lost significant technical staff over the last few years and it is only natural that they are looking to recruit,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told F1′s official website.
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