NOVEMBER 3, 2023

Alonso probably started Red Bull rumours says Marko

Dr Helmut Marko thinks it might have been Fernando Alonso's camp that triggered the latest firestorm of rumours about his Formula 1 future.

Fernando Alonso, Mexican GP 2023
© Aston Martin Racing

The 42-year-old Aston Martin driver actually reacted with fury to the swirling speculation - involving potential retirement but also a sensational Red Bull seat-swap with Sergio Perez - when asked at Interlagos.

Rumours in the paddock are normal, Alonso said, "but in this case people are just trying to have fun and attract followers. And I don't play those games.

I don't like rumours like this because I value professional journalists who have worked in Formula 1 for many years. And that's not who did this.

Alonso even threatened consequences for those who dreamed up the rumours.

Some suspect it might have been Red Bull - perhaps keen to ramp up talk that struggling Perez, despite his 2024 contract, is not up to the task of remaining Max Verstappen's teammate.

Marko denies any knowledge of the origin of the speculation - but admits his suspicions.

This was all completely out of thin air, he told Sport1. "Both Christian Horner and I have emphasised several times that Perez will drive with us next year. Regardless of the results.

He has a contract and we will stick to it.

As for the Alonso element specifically, he added: "I can well imagine Alonso spreading them himself because his results with Aston Martin have been very disappointing recently after the brilliant start to the season.

It wouldn't be the first time that he used his home media for that.

And even if Perez is somehow ousted, the much more likely candidate to fill his shoes is Daniel Ricciardo, who is back in top form after his McLaren sacking last year and his broken hand this season at Zandvoort.

The 33-year-old Australian denied talking with his Red Bull bosses about replacing Perez.

All the stuff around my contract next year has been related to Alpha Tauri, Ricciardo said in Brazil. So that's honestly as far as that goes, I think.

Verstappen himself, however, seems open to the idea.

If it's Checo next year, then great. I have a great working relationship with him, but also personally, I think he's a great guy, said the world champion.

And if it's Daniel, then we also will get along fine and we have a great time. But maybe also nothing happens, so we'll see, Verstappen added.