Whitmarsh still keen to sign Alonso but manager claims reports are fiction
3 December, 2013
McLaren have not given up on signing Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso for its new Honda-powered era beginning in 2015, with team boss Martin Whitmarsh apparently ramping up his efforts to lure the Spaniard back to the Woking outfit.
Whitmarsh, who openly tried to woo the Spaniard back to McLaren for the 2014 season, this week skipped attending the prestigious Autosport Awards in order to travel to Madrid, where Alonso was launching an exhibition featuring the memorabilia of his entire racing career collected by his father.
Indeed, Whitmarsh was photographed with Alonso alongside representatives of the two-time world champion’s other Formula 1 bosses, including Giancarlo Minardi, Stefano Domenicali and Flavio Briatore.
Daily Mail correspondent Jonathan McEvoy said Whitmarsh was so keen to attend Alonso’s exhibition that he delegated McLaren’s managing director Jonathan Neale to collect the trophy in London to mark the team’s 50th year in Formula 1.
“It is understood that Whitmarsh is keen to develop a channel of communication to Alonso with an eye on bringing in the Spaniard for the 2015 season,” said McEvoy.
The news ties in with the latest comments made by Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who commented that he was disappointed with Alonso’s performance for Ferrari this year.
“I thought he gave up a little bit, which is proof that he was looking for another team,” Ecclestone wrote in the foreword to the official 2013 season review.
But at the very same time, Alonso’s manager Luis Garcia Abad denied that the 32-year-old has already agreed to move to Honda-powered McLaren for 2015.
“What you’re saying is Formula 1 fiction,” Abad, also in Madrid, told Spanish radio Marca.
“You cannot have two signed contracts, as when you sign one, you must notify the body that controls it. So it is technically impossible. And an unsigned agreement is not an agreement.”
Asked if Alonso intends to fulfil the terms of his entire Ferrari contract, which runs to 2016, Abad answered: “Fernando has said the same this year in three press conferences in different languages.” (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.