Fernando Alonso pokes fun at Mercedes with '$200m plus' Lewis Hamilton joke

Two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso has made light of the amount of money Mercedes have to spend on Lewis Hamilton's salary.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team celebrates his second position with third placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team celebrates his second position…

Fernando Alonso has poked fun at George Russell in an amusing exchange about Mercedes’ F1 budget, making reference to Lewis Hamilton’s salary.

F1 pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit is well underway with all 10 teams in action.

As part of the on-track action, a number of drivers and team personnel speak to the media in between the two sessions.

On Tuesday, Alonso sat alongside Russell as they answered questions about their respective teams.

The two-time world champion has been vocal in the fact there’s not enough testing time ahead of seasons, with drivers given just three four-hour sessions each ahead of the first race.

Alonso made a comparison to other sports such as football and tennis - where players get to practise and prepare significantly more than F1 drivers, who get just a few days in the car.

During his answer, Alonso stated that the budget for F1 teams is around $200 million, when in fact the budget cap means can only spend $135 million - something Russell pointed out.

(L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team; George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1; and Alexander Albon (THA)
(L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team; George Russell (GBR)…

Alonso was quick to fire a quip back at Russell, indirectly mentioning his Mercedes teammate, Hamilton.

“In football or tennis you change the racket or balls or everything before the tournament or before a season and you let the players test all the equipment one day before a grand slam,” Alonso said.

“We are talking in the most sophisticated sport, $200m budget per team a year and things like that.”

Russell interjected: “Our budget is $135m.”

Alonso then joked: “Yeah, but you have a very expensive driver alongside you. So it’s more than £200m probably for Mercedes, with your teammate.”

Driver salaries don't currently contribute to a team's overall budget - within F1's financial regulations. 

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