Red Bull wanted to sign Fernando Alonso instead of continuing their contract with Pierre Gasly, according to reports.
Alonso announced that he would be leaving the F1 scene at the end of last season, but has since been heavily linked with a swift return in 2020.
However, the option – it would seem - for Alonso to make an even swifter return was there if he had wanted to take it.
It has been reported that Red Bull had offered the Spaniard a race-seat midway through the season in place of Gasly.
Prior to these reports, Red Bull were proclaiming that they would remain with Gasly until the end of the campaign, but have been believed to have approached the two-time F1 champion for an immediate change.
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According to Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo, the Milton Keynes squad offered Gasly’s seat to Alonso only for the double world champion to utterly decline the offer.
“And it is not Fernando who approached Red Bull,” claims the report, “but it was the team led by Christian Horner who was interested in the driver.”
The answer though, was a “resounding ‘no’.”
Partnered by Max Verstappen, who is currently third in the F1 standings, Gasly is yet to record a single podium finish all season. He does, though, have 63 points which places him sixth in the Drivers’ Championship.
Red Bull are currently in pursuit of Ferrari for second place in the Constructors’ Championship, but have been held back by the Frenchman’s lack of high finishes in comparison to Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.
As a result, Red Bull decided to drop Gasly anyway and replace him with Alexander Albon, who makes the switch from Toro Rosso, with the Frenchman going the other way.
The whole reason Alonso left F1 in the first place was due to the lack of competition in the sport. Mercedes - partnered with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas - have taken the standings by storm and look unbeatable.
Only Verstappen has managed to better Hamilton and Bottas, winning both the German and Austrian Grands Prix. Other than that, though, Mercedes have dominated, claiming all 10 of the other races.
A lot of the competition now revolves around the two Mercedes drivers themselves and it looks as though that won’t be changing any time soon. If that is in fact the reason Alonso left the sport, you can imagine him rejecting more offers yet to come as the seasons progress.
Red Bull’s latest attempt to sign Alonso comes over 10 years after they first tried to appoint the 38-year-old. Tech guru Adrian Newey revealed that they were “very close” to signing him back in 2007.
“It’s one of those things that unfortunately never happened,” he told Esquire Magazine. “But it was very close.”
There were also talks in 2009, 2011 and 2013 while last year Alonso stated that Red Bull also approached him in “Monaco and again in August” regarding a 2019 drive.News Now - Sport News