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- Updated: May 18, 2017
Some members at Mercedes have admitted that there is a possibility that Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will feature together for the team next season, but a lot will depend on how the Brit feels about the move, given the duo’s previous falling out.
With Valtteri Bottas having only agreed a one-year deal with the reigning constructors’ champions, there could be a vacant seat to fill for the new campaign. Alonso himself has said that he has not ruled out the possibility of such a move in the future.
It was earlier reported that Alonso was one of the candidates approached in the off season following the retirement of world champion Nico Rosberg, but Mercedes eventually lured Bottas from Williams to fill the void.
Although Bottas has made a good impression, even winning his first-ever race at the Russian Grand Prix, there are question marks as to whether he will be given an extension.
Alonso is out of contract at McLaren at the end of the year and is growing increasingly frustrated having failed to finish four times already this term.
Should Hamilton and Alonso indeed be reunited it would see the drivers paired together for the first since the 2007 season which saw the pair regularly come to blows at McLaren.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the episode might play a role in the decision over whether to enlist the 35-year-old.
“Lewis also plays a role, of course, we need two drivers working together for the team, two drivers that are equal in speed to pressure each other and pressure the entire team to improve,” he told Marca.
“You have to look at everything before you reach a decision.
“I think the best drivers always accept the challenge and Fernando would clearly be a challenge, but it is much more than Lewis feeling at ease with Fernando, it is the whole dynamic of the team that plays its part and you have to look at the personalities and characters and how they’d fit in.
“I think Fernando is a different person today than he was before. The realistic situation is that there are probably other drivers who are would hold priority over Fernando, for the moment. Valtteri and Lewis are the priority, and we look at our juniors, Esteban Ocon and the others. He’s part of the group, but nothing more.”
Wolff, however, has no doubts about how good Alonso is behind the wheels, despite a barren trophy cabinet since 2013. The Spaniard has just claimed 62 world championship points in the last four seasons.
“I am a fan of Fernando Alonso’s driving, even if he’s not the best then he’s one of the best on track,” he admitted.
“The pace is there and his motivation is the same… I do not think being 35 is a problem. He’s towards the end of his career, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have three or four years left to win races or championships.
“But right now we have a setup in our team that works and the relationship between the drivers is good and if I could choose Fernando the individual, it would be much easier than choosing the Fernando who has all of this historical background. That said, it’s something which we would have to evaluate.
“You can never say no, that would be silly. But for the moment the setup we have is one that we like very much and we do not see the need to change it right now. There are also young racers arriving, so that’s the situation.
“We had a normal conversation on the phone and we ran into each other at a few races, as I do with many other drivers. It was a general discussion about the situation, an information exchange about how we see the situation, what the current contracts look like… but nothing happened. There was no contract negotiation.”