Alonso says Hamilton/Mercedes swap deal was on table


Fernando Alonso has revealed that a proposal for a Ferrari/Mercedes swap with Lewis Hamilton for 2015 was on the table, before he eventually decided to cut loose and join McLaren.

Amid intense discussions over the summer of 2014 about his future at the Maranello team, there had been speculation that Alonso was trying to open a door for a switch to Mercedes.

One idea that surfaced at the time was for a straight driver swap with Hamilton, who would be moved to Ferrari for last season.

However, the idea never got very far and, after feeling that he could not continue giving his all for Ferrari, in the end his contract was cancelled and he decided to join McLaren.

Speaking to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser about the idea of a swap with Hamilton, Alonso said: "Yes, that offer was there.

"The circumstances meant that it came up, but Ferrari didn't want it at that point. They were in talks with me to renew until 2019, but Ferrari's offer did not convince me and I went to McLaren-Honda.

"I don't know if Hamilton knew about it."

No regrets

Although Alonso endured a frustrating time at McLaren last year, he says he has had no second thoughts about the decision he made.

"Never," he said in a separate radio interview with Cope. "I have good memories. The years at Ferrari were very good, five years that were unforgettable and I wish all drivers could drive for Ferrari one day because it's a pretty unique experience.

"But I think my era there was over and I'm satisfied with what we achieved but I don't miss it."

Reflecting on his McLaren time he said: "It started poorly but as I said, I needed a change. I think my period at Ferrari was over.

"I had an offer on the table to renew until 2019 and I didn't take it. I don't know if everybody would have done that, but that's me.

"I make my choices based on my intuition and peace of mind, which I didn't have at Ferrari because it had been exhausting, both physically and mentally, to give everything race after race."

He added: "It meant finishing my career at Ferrari, probably never winning again. And fives years finishing as runner-up had been very stressful, very demanding, mentally and physically.

"We were championship runner-ups but it appeared to be a funeral. When you talked to the people at Ferrari and the fans and the press it was very demanding. Ferrari is there to win and if it doesn't it's a bit of a chaos.

"I enjoyed my time there, but I think I enjoy F1 much more now, even being 10 positions behind them last year, and hopefully closer this year.

"And I think there was no real option to win with Ferrari. Last year it didn't happen for them, and hopefully this year they'll have a better chance, but I still doubt it and so starting something new is something that I needed in my career."

Translation by Pablo Elizalde

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Lewis Hamilton
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren
Article type Breaking news