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Formula 1: What will happen to Verstappen and Alonso?

Formula 1: What will happen to Verstappen and Alonso?

There is an unusually large amount of conversation in the Formula 1 paddock. The hottest personality is that of world champion Max Verstappen. But there is also talk about two former champions.

Max Verstappen in the Mercedes, Fernando Alonso in the Red Bull – or is Sebastian Vettel perhaps coming back from racing retirement? Rumors of changes and wild speculation about the big names in motorsport keep Formula 1 in suspense early in the season.

After only three races of the season, the focus goes beyond the end of the year, while current sporting events temporarily become irrelevant. Will there be any further big surprises following record world champion Lewis Hamilton’s sensational move from the Mercedes to the Ferrari in 2025?

Mercedes flirtation with the Red Bull world champion

The fact is: The Silver Arrows want world champion Verstappen to be Hamilton’s successor. “Yes, you can see what his performance level is,” said team boss Toto Wolff in a recent interview with Fox Sports Australia. The German factory team has been flirting with the series winner for weeks. But the Dutchman still has a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2028. However, the three-time champion is said to have a clause that should allow him to leave the team if his close confidant Helmut Marko has to leave early.

The 80-year-old Austrian is team boss Christian Horner’s opponent in an explosive affair. Horner was accused of inappropriate behavior by an employee. After an investigation initiated by parent company Red Bull, the complaint was dismissed. But anonymous emails with juicy details fueled the process, which in turn revealed power struggles at Red Bull.

Verstappen actually just wants to race and keep winning. After his recent failure in Australia, the World Championship lead is to be defended and expanded on Sunday (7 a.m./Sky) in Suzuka. Hardly anyone has any doubts that he will succeed in Japan because he is sitting in the best car – again. So it seems questionable why he should drive a Mercedes in the future. The car doesn’t work for the second year in a row, and Hamilton even had the worst start to the season of his career. Despite apparently interpersonal problems at Red Bull, Verstappen probably has the best conditions there in the future.

Alonso with Verstappen in one team?

That’s exactly what Fernando Alonso might like to have again. At the age of 42, the 2005 and 2006 world champion is thinking about moving on. According to reports, the Spaniard is Horner’s preferred candidate and could replace the Mexican Sergio Pérez. He has been too inconsistent in the past, and the expiring contracts of Alonso at Aston Martin and Pérez at Red Bull at the end of the year could be the moment to make a change. So there could be the dream duo Verstappen and Alonso – or Verstappen goes to Aston Martin. There have also been recent media reports about this scenario.

“I won’t follow what others do and let someone dictate my fate. I’ll do that myself,” said Alonso. “The decision is made regardless of what happens at Mercedes or Red Bull. We don’t know how this drama will end,” said Alonso, who also wanted to become world champion in Ferrari and failed.

Just like Sebastian Vettel, who resigned at the end of 2022. In various interviews, the four-time world champion did not rule out a return to Formula 1. He also spoke to Wolff, but apparently not about the free space in the garage. At 36, he is still young compared to others, said Vettel, referring to Hamilton (38) and Alonso (42), who can still impress with speed even in old age if their company vehicles allow it.

And there is also Australia winner Carlos Sainz

With a view to the next few years, a lot will depend on how Mercedes fills the second cockpit alongside the Briton George Russell. Alonso is said to be on the list here, as are Carlos Sainz (29) and young talent Kimi Antonelli (17). But the racing team is clearly hoping for a big name with charisma – and it doesn’t get bigger than Verstappen at the moment.

Sainz, who was dropped from Ferrari for Hamilton, only showed his skills almost two weeks ago when he took advantage of Verstappen’s failure to win in Melbourne just two weeks after an appendectomy. “I’m still without a job for next year. This will help,” said Sainz. The Spaniard is also associated with Kick Sauber, which will become the Audi works team from 2026, and as a former young driver he also has good connections with Red Bull.

A decision at Mercedes is unlikely to be made until the summer. Wolff recently made it clear again and again how important Verstappen is. The Austrian described it as a failure not to have signed the exceptional talent as a teenager. Instead, he went to Red Bull. “It’s a kind of relationship that has to happen at a certain time, but we don’t know when,” said Wolff.

Source: Stern

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