Wolff: No talk of Alonso joining Mercedes


Although Toto Wolff had dinner with Flavio Briatore in Baku, the Mercedes motorsport boss insists there “was not any talk about Fernando joining the team.”

Despite McLaren-Honda’s continued struggles, Alonso intriguingly stated that Baku had been a “very positive weekend for me”.

This led to speculation that the Spaniard had resolved his future while Wolff’s Friday night dinner with Alonso’s manager pointed towards a 2018 Mercedes contract.

However, the Mercedes motorsport boss says Alonso joining Mercedes was never part of the dinner conversation.

“If you have dinner with Flavio it is clear that you talk about Alonso,” Wolff told PA Sport, “but we are very happy with our driver line-up.

“There is no question about that, so there was not any talk about Fernando joining the team.”

The Austrian explained that he feels that, “at the moment”, there is no reason to look beyond Valtteri Bottas when deciding Lewis Hamilton’s 2018 team-mate.

“At the moment there is no reason why we won’t continue with Valtteri, but we just want to give ourselves time to see how the season pans out.

“He is a great addition to the team and every day he is with us that becomes more clear.

“I have been in the sport for eight years and, while sometimes taking your time is not very good for the driver, it is good for the team to understand what is happening.

“This why we will not be rushing into any decision when it is not necessary.”

Meanwhile in a separate interview with Sky Sports, Wolff spoke of his admiration for Alonso but admits his history with Hamilton plays a role in Mercedes’ driver choices.

“I rate Fernando a lot as a racing driver,” he said.

“He’s a very complete racing driver but you need to see the scene within the overall circumstances – within the history of Mercedes, in the team, with Lewis.

“It’s about how the drivers work together, how they make the car go faster and therefore the dynamic is very important.

“Lewis in the car doesn’t go any better and as a personality he is who he is. I wouldn’t want anybody else in the car on a difficult day.”