F1 owners Liberty Media try to return Fernando Alonso to a race seat, and move Lewis Hamilton over to Ferrari.
As a blogger, sometimes my time is short as I have a day job, but this story is too juicy to not report but my biggest problem is time to write it up with my opinion, so apologies – The below is a TLDR summary from a Redditor (u/1enox) of an article by Germany’s Auto Bild, of which I’ve Google translated at the very bottom of the page.
This kind of reflects my predictions of some seismic change coming in Formula 1 – TJ13 readers would’ve no doubt read before…
Short TL;DR by u/1enox
Liberty Media is trying hard to get Alonso back into F1 by pitching him to top teams. Marko confirmed that Red Bull, for instance, was approached in the summer, but he was a no-go because Honda didnt want him
The current plan is to get Hamilton to Ferrari and Alonso to Mercedes. They think this scenario would be box office comparable to Ali vs. Frazier
While Ferrari is interested in Hamilton he would only consider it (according to sources in Maranello) if Wolff joins as well (and Wolff said he won’t), in order to be politically on the same boat as Leclerc with Todt (I assume they mean his manager)
Mercedes will only continue to stay in F1 with a works team if Wolff can fund the whole operation over sponsoring (Wolff has hired a marketing expert for this now), otherwise, they will only stay as a engine supplier
Wolff to Liberty is not happening because for that he would have to be 3 years out of F1, those are Liberty’s conditions. His Mercedes contract ends 2020 however.
Hamilton is about everything informed and he also knows that Mercedes could live with it if he leaves, especially as he earns 50 m/year, Alonso or Verstappen would probably accept to race for only a third of this
“Marko is aware of the situation around Alonso, Hamilton and Verstappen: `We have to offer Max a car for 2020 with which he can win the title. Otherwise he is gone. It will be decisive weeks. Right now there is a lot going on behind the stage”
F1 reporter Ralf Bach writes in his column about the future mega transfers of Formula 1. Is Hamilton going to Ferrari? And Wolff will be there too? What role does Alonso play?
s is burning under the Formula 1 Christmas tree – and by that I don’t mean Advent candles that are lit by the F1 marketer Liberty during the contemplative Advent season. The Americans around CEO Chase Carey and sports boss Ross Brawn have to plan the future. Goal: Never sweeter cash registers sound!
That’s why the Formula 1 makers are planning mega deals behind the scenes. The focus will be on world champions Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard, who had a nice farewell from Formula 1 with sports cars at Le Mans and Daytona and the 2019/20 Dakar, wants to return to the premier class.
For this he has asked the Formula 1 bosses for help. And he found open ears. Because Liberty knows: Not only sex sells, but also big names.
Red Bull’s chief consultant Helmut Marko confirmed to me that the new “Alonso Managers” had already contacted Red Bull in the summer. “We immediately said that there was no need for Alonso in our company,” reveals the lawyer from Graz. “It also doesn’t work because of our engine partner Honda. If they only hear the name Alonso, all their neck hairs will be in their way.”
Background: Too often in his McLaren Honda days, the Spaniard had publicly blasphemed about the Japanese engine.
Highlight: At the home race of Honda in Suzuka 2018 he etched over radio: “GP2 engine! The comparison with the approximately 400 hp weaker power units of the junior class was too much for the proud sons from the Land of the Rising Sun. Since then, Alonso has been an absolute no-go.
But the Formula 1 makers don’t give up. For the year 2021, they are still working on megadeals with the two superstars Hamilton and Alonso. One idea: Hamilton will drive with Ferrari and Alonso will replace him with Mercedes. For the Americans, this constellation would be a pure money printing machine. Similar to the golden age of the big boxing fights between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
But it’s not that simple. Ferrari and there especially Fiat boss John Elkann show interest in a commitment of Hamilton instead of Sebastian Vettel. But the Briton, who is also basically interested in breaking Michael Schumacher’s records at Ferrari, of all places, at the end of his career, links his future planning to that of Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff – and doesn’t even make a secret of it.
Hamilton publicly makes his contract extension at Mercedes dependent on Wolff’s position at the top of the team. And also from Maranello it can be heard that Hamilton would like to have his team boss at his side in the event of a possible move to Italy – also to create a counterweight to the Leclerc-Todt axle.
Wolff points corresponding rumours into the realm of fables. But one thing is also certain: after winning six World Championship titles in a row with Mercedes, he can only lose in the future. Especially because a different wind is blowing there now.
Ola Källenius, the new Mercedes boss since May, has to save money. The Swede announced that he intends to put aside up to 1.3 billion euros in the next few years in order to be prepared for the mobility of the future and potential penalties due to the diesel scandal. Only if Wolff succeeds in financing the approximately 500 million Euro Formula 1 project completely through sponsors from 2021 onwards would the Swede be prepared to continue to lead the factory team.
If he does not want to supply only customer engines – so the radio announcements at the corporate headquarters in Stuttgart say – would he only want to supply customer engines. That’s why Wolff already engaged the Cologne marketing expert Walter Mertes for the sponsor acquisition. Mertes had previously been a member of the board of ITR, the holding company of DTM, for many years.
Wolff’s move to Formula 1 marketer Liberty as successor to CEO Chase Carey also seems to be off the table (for the time being). Reason: The Viennese would have to wait three years for the new position as Formula 1 boss. This is the Americans’ condition when someone from the inner circle of the premier class overflows to the F1 owners. This is to rule out possible bias. However, Wolff could switch to Ferrari as early as 2021. His Mercedes contract expires at the end of 2020.
Hamilton is informed about everything. He also knows that Mercedes could live well with his retirement. The Brit is expected to collect a total of 50 million euros a year (including premiums). Alonso and the Dutchman Max Verstappen, who is also interested in Mercedes, would drive for a third of the fee.
Helmut Marko knows the situation around Alonso, Hamilton and Verstappen. “We have to offer Max a car in 2020 with which he can become world champion. Otherwise he’s gone. It will be decisive weeks. At the moment it’s really happening behind the scenes.”