Formula 1

Toto Wolff hints about potential Mercedes move for Fernando Alonso

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Formula One star Fernando Alonso took part is his first official practice on Tuesday ahead of his Indy500 debut next weekend.

The McLaren driver will miss the Monaco Grand Prix to compete around the 2.5-mile superspeedway circuit and he is happy with the progress made in such a short space of time.

"Everything went very smoothly," Alonso said, as per BBC Sport.

"The last half-an-hour we had some issues with the rear suspension and we could not complete the programme.

"We had planned to run a little bit in traffic, so we missed that part, but overall it was an amazing day."

Of course, there isn't much chance McLaren would have allowed him to participate had their start to the F1 season not been so disastrous.

The British team are yet to score a point after five races and with Alonso's contract up at the end of the season, they will have to prove they will become more competitive if the Spaniard is to stay.

The two-time world champion is unlikely to have a shortage of teams who will want to sign him.

At 35, some might be sceptical over how long Alonso has left in the sport but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff isn't concerned by his age.

In fact, Wolff even hinted his team could be among those to approach the McLaren driver after failing to rule out a future move.

“I’m a big fan of his as a driver, and you can possibly say that he is, if not the best, one of the best on track,” he told Marca.

“His ability in a race is enormous. The energy and motivation are there and I do not think his 35 years is a problem.

“He is in the final stretch of his career, but that does not mean that he will not be able to win races or titles in the next two or three years. But right now the relationship between our drivers is good.

“If I could choose Fernando Alonso today as he is, as an individual, it would be much easier than choosing him with by taking into account his history. And that said, it’s something we have to consider.

“Of course we would have to evaluate the option, you can never say ‘no’ in advance, it would be stupid."

Alonso's checkered past with Lewis Hamilton will certainly play a factor in any decision made by Wolff and co.

The pair endured a fractious relationship during their one season together at McLaren in 2007 before Alonso moved on.

Nevertheless, Wolff has revealed he is already on good terms with the former Ferrari driver and the pair frequently have conversations over the phone.

He added: "We talk on the phone on a regular basis and meet up at the races, as with many other drivers.

"There was a general conversation about the situation, an exchange of information, how he saw the situation, how we saw him, how his contract was, but he never went further. A contract with him has never been negotiated.”

What it means for Valtteri Bottas is unclear but the Finn has certainly got his work cut out if he is to secure a seat at Mercedes next season.

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