As Formula 1 annual ‘silly season’ ramps up, Scuderia Ferrari President, Sergio Marchionne, has ruled out re-signing Fernando Alonso, despite the two-time champion showing interest in a return to the Italian squad.
Neither current Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel nor Kimi Raikkonen, currently have a contract for 2018 and with Alonso’s McLaren-Honda contract also expiring at the end of this year, rumours have circulated that the Spaniard wants to return to the team he raced with from 2010 to 2015.
Speaking to motorsport.com at the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix however, Marchionne made it clear that such a move was not on the cards.
“Alonso may well have shown the desire to return [to Ferrari], but he did not find the right response from our side,” said Marchionne. “We’re not interested.“
Machionne also fielded questions about Max Verstappen and whether a pre-contract had been signed between Ferrari and the sought-after Dutchman.
“As for Verstappen we have not signed anything. Before the end of the year you’ll know.”
Furthering talk that Ferrari’s driver line-up is set to change for 2018, there were even rumours in Austria that championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s place at the Scuderia was under threat, with a possible replacement being title rival Lewis Hamilton.
It comes two weeks after Vettel’s controversial swipe at Hamilton during the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, a matter Marchionne says has been dealt with.
“I saw him on the Monday or Tuesday after Baku, we met and we [Ferrari] said that this [incident] was something to be avoided.
“We have now closed that chapter, so we must think of the races and not the personal squabbles.”
“Sebastian is aware of what happened. I understand the pressure and it was not an easy race. We lost the other car at the second corner in a manner that was not very correct.” he added.
“But I don’t want to talk about who behaved well and who did not.”