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Hungarian Grand Prix: Alonso/Red Bull rumours add intrigue to summer break

The lack of a concrete denial from Christian Horner adds fuel to speculation that Fernando Alonso may be chasing Red Bull seat for 2014.
Just as the F1 paddock was becoming accustomed to Daniel Ricciardo being the most likely partner for Sebastian Vettel in 2014, another major player started to be linked to the role.

Despite the belief that Kimi Raikkonen would be the stronger foil for Vettel following Mark Webber's retirement, paddock gossip in Hungary claimed that Ricciardo was on the verge of cementing a move from Toro Rosso to replace his fellow Australian, but the weekend ended with increasing talk of Fernando Alonso leaving Ferrari for its biggest rival.

The speculation began when the Spaniard's manager, Luis Garcia Abad, was spotted in earnest discussion with Red Bull boss Christian Horner in the Hungaroring paddock, and Horner did little to slow the rumour mill when he told various television outlets that outsiders would be surprised at just who had expressed interest in filling Webber's seat.

"There is quite a lot of interest," the Briton confirmed to the BBC, “We'll take a bit of time over the summer to reflect on the options that are open to us and look to make the right decision to put the right driver alongside Sebastian before next year.

Denying that he would be prepared to let Vettel move in the opposite direction – as had been suggested by some of the more fanciful rumours, Horner insisted that there was still a lot to consider before Red Bull could make its anticipated August line-up announcement.

"Last week there was speculation about Kimi; this week it's about Fernando,” he acknowledged, “We want to make sure nothing wavers in our mind about putting the right team package together with the two fastest drivers we can, who will work collectively well together and achieve the best results for the team."

Meanwhile, Abad – who also represents Red Bull protégé Carlos Sainz Jr – told the British broadcaster that his conversation with Horner had not been about a possible move for Alonso, who has been frustrated by Ferrari's inability to match Red Bull at the front of the field and dropped behind Raikkonen in the pursuit of Webber after finishing only fifth in Hungary.

Interestingly, recent rumours of Vettel possibly moving to Ferrari at the end of his Red Bull deal were always played down by the prospect of Alonso black-balling a serious rival in the second scarlet car....

Horner was also spotted deep in discussion with Raikkonen's manager, ex-F3 winner Steve Robertson, over the weekend, raising speculation that perhaps Ricciardo's position as favourite for the second RBR seat wasn't quite as comfortable as many expect.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
07.07.2013-  Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 race winner and 2nd position Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21
06.06.2013- Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
12.05.2013-  Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138
09.06.2013-  Podium: winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9, 2nd Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138
12.05.2013-  Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138
07.07.2013- (L-D) Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H

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July 29, 2013 10:31 AM
Last Edited 432 days ago

Just clever misdirection from Horner. He knows that by not flat out denying a rumour, the media will be all over it like a cheap suit, taking pressure off the Ricciardo/Raikonnen question. I'm sure the meeting would have been regarding Sainz Jr filling Ricciardo's old seat at Torro Rosso. That's my theory, anyway.

ian mcinnes

July 29, 2013 11:11 AM

Agree with Golan, the silly season, probably all the hot weather, scrambling the brain cells. However after following Ferrari since 1972, through all the good and bad, I can see Ferrari being back as they were in the 80s and 90s, is was not until Shummi arrived that it sorted out--- just like at Red Bull now, being a realist, I can see Ferrari being mid grid runners, they have stood by Massa - who was good, but he needs to admit to himself-- move on. Alonso was never one of my favorites, but give him some credit, he has tried his best with Ferrari, and they CANNOT produce a car- I very much doubt any decent driver would want to go there, and if Alonso had any sense and wants another title, I would be knocking on a lot of doors for a drive. Is this a sign of the times, Ferrari supplying Murassia engines, as all the 4 cars would be RED, HELP !!!!!! I think Ferrari are needing a total BRAIN SHAMPOO TREATMENT , and soon.

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