According to the former Mercedes CEO, Nick Fry, Fernando Alonso turned down an opportunity to join Brawn in a move which would have seen him contest several more championships.
Having just won back to back championships with Renault, Fernando Alonso joined McLaren Mercedes in December 2006. His partner, Lewis Hamilton, new to F1 that season, finished 2nd at the end of the campaign while Alonso finished 3rd.
Not happy with Hamilton apparently being a priority to the team, Alonso left by mutual consent and returned to Renault. Sadly, his form dipped and he came 5th and 9th with Renault in the championship before moving on to Ferrari.
But, according to Nick Fry, it could have all been so different. When Fernando was with Hamilton at McLaren, it was a joint venture with the British manufacturer between mobile network Vodafone and German car manufacturer Mercedes, largely for sponsorship purposes.
However, in 2009 Mercedes bought a stake in Brawn, who went on to win the constructors' championship the same year with, and they wanted Alonso as their driver; Jenson Button had won the drivers' championships with the team that season, too.
“Fernando Alonso should have been driving for Nick Fry and Ross Brawn in 2009. If he did, he would be four times world champion today," he said at the Sin Limites Management and Business Summit (MABS) in Madrid.
The McLaren star will now never know how differently his career would have panned out if he had joined Brawn andalthough Fry didn't go out on the offensive, he did question Alonso's decision making.
“Fernando Alonso could be one of the lost talents. If he had made better decisions, he would have done much better.”
At the time, Brawn made a frank assessment of the possible options in front of him as he looked to assemble a team that would go on to dominate F1.
"There’s Lewis Hamilton, there’s Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando. If you look at those three for a team in our position, where we have a strong rebuilding process going on, then we need a driver with strong development capacity, experience and absolute speed. Fernando has all of those things.”
While Hamilton waited until 2013 to join Mercedes, it proved well worth the wait as the team knocked out three back to championships in the constructors' table, and their drivers Rosberg and Hamilton split the spoils 2:1 in the Brit's favour.
Will Alonso regret his decision? His career has certainly tailed off since returning to McLaren but if he can secure a move back to Ferrari we could see him at the top again very soon.
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