SportF1F1 signings that never happened: Alonso, Hamilton, Verstappen...

F1 signings that never happened: Alonso, Hamilton, Verstappen…

Throughout the history of Formula 1, unlikely stories have been created of signings that might seem impossible but in reality were about to happen and that would have changed the outcome of many sports races. On other occasions, the agreements between the drivers and teams have created legacies that will last for decades, such as that of Michael Schumacher with Ferrari or Lewis Hamilton with Mercedes, although it is always curious to review those ‘what ifs’ of the Great Circus.

Lewis Hamilton a Red Bull

The English driver is the most successful in history, and with his seven world titles he is equal to Michael Schumacher, but life in Formula 1 could have changed at the beginning of the 2010s, since he was very close to signing for RedBull. After becoming world champion in 2008 with McLaren, the Briton had no dominant cars, so a repeat feat seemed a long way off, which was why he finally went to Mercedes in 2013 .

But before making the leap to the Silver Arrows, he became interested in the Milton Keynes team, as the team manager himself, Christian Horner , acknowledged to the Daily Mail : “Lewis [Hamilton] and I have had conversations during these Between 2010 and 2013 he was interested in driving for Red Bull, but we already had Sebastian Vettel, and it didn’t make sense to have two roosters in the same pen.”

Fernando Alonso in Mercedes

When Nico Rosberg suddenly announced his retirement after winning the Formula 1 world title in the 2016 season, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had a problem. The Austrian had to look for a replacement to accompany Lewis Hamilton, and one of the obvious names that appeared on his list was that of Fernando Alonso, who was having a bad year at McLaren-Honda .

However, the experience of the Spaniard in 2007 when the German engines were equipped in Woking was one of the reasons why the Silver Arrows opted for another pilot. In addition, the Spaniard was involved in the espionage case between McLaren and Ferrari, and his relationship with Hamilton was not the best after their year as teammates, so Wolff opted for Valtteri Bottas.

Nico Rosberg a McLaren

The duel between Rosberg and Hamilton could have taken place before the start of the hybrid era in Formula 1, specifically in 2008 , when Fernando Alonso left the Woking team. The vacant position at McLaren was filled by Heikki Kovalainen, who left a good feeling in his debut season at Renault.

However, Ron Dennis considered the possibility of hiring the German, who was one of the best friends of the seven-time world champion.

“He was an interesting candidate for McLaren, but I had a contract with Williams and Frank [owner of the group] made it clear that he would not sell me,” Rosberg revealed to Die Welt , although he did not do badly at Mercedes, since in his time between In 2010 and 2016 he achieved his goal of winning the title, despite the fact that he ended his relationship with Hamilton after the fratricidal fight.

Fernando Alonso at Red Bull

Again, the Spaniard is in a failed signing. The Spaniard has always been criticized for making the wrong decisions, and after his first adventure at McLaren he was about to join Red Bull, as Horner admitted to Motor Sport Magazine : “We were very close to a contract. Helmut [Marko ] and I talked to his manager at the end of 2008 about 2009 and 2010, and we offered him a two-year deal.”

Alonso chose to stay at Renault to go to Ferrari, with whom he was close to winning the world titles in 2010 and 2012, but they went to Sebastian Vettel and the energy drink team, just like in 2011 and 2013.

Mikka Hakkinen and Williams

The Finn was given the opportunity to switch to the then dominant British team in 1993 . The team won both titles a year earlier with Nigel Mansell , and would do so again later with Alain Prost, but Mika Hakkinen chose McLaren.

On Beyond the Grid he explained why: “A lot of people think it was about money. I felt like at Williams, the driver is just the driver.” The choice was good if taken with perspective, and it is that the Finn won the 1998 and 1999 World Cups.

Damon Hill a McLaren

Despite clinching the title in 1996, Damon Hill left Williams. The following year, the Briton drove for Arrows without much success, and in 1998 he had the opportunity to make the leap to McLaren, since the Woking team was interested in the services of one of Michael Schumacher’s great rivals.

However, the negotiations did not go as expected, and in statements to AMuS, he said: “Ron [Dennis] did not make me an attractive offer, it was an insult”. After that, Hill is likely to regret, because Mikka Hakkinen got the championships of those two seasons, while the English was not too competitive.

Jacques Villeneuve a McLaren

Adrian Newey , who was still at McLaren, wanted Jacques Villeneuve to drive for one of his new creations. The 1997 world champion with Williams was personally contacted by the aerodynamic genius: “He told me not to sign with BAR.”

Interestingly, at that time, the Canadian was already in negotiations with the team for the following season, and his representative was the team’s boss, Craig Pollock . “If Craig hadn’t been there, negotiated more with McLaren, then Adrian [Newey] probably would have convinced me.

After seeing that, McLaren would have been a better option, since with BAR , the son of the legendary Gilles never came close to fighting for a world championship again.

Michael Schumacher a McLaren

We stay with McLaren, and that is that after his two world titles in 1994 and 1995 with Benetton, Michael Schumacher was very close to signing for McLaren, as Mercedes motorsports boss Norbert Haug revealed.

“We always agreed that we wanted to work together again. In 1998 it was almost over, there were advanced negotiations with McLaren-Mercedes, which ultimately came to nothing.”

The ‘ Kaiser ‘ stayed at Ferrari, where he won his other five championships in a row, a streak that no one in history has been able to overcome. After a first withdrawal, German returned to Formula 1 with the Silver Arrows, so Haug’s prophecy about collaborating again was true.

Max Verstappen a Mercedes

This is a well-known and current story. In 2015, Max Verstappen made his debut for Toro Rosso in Formula 1, Red Bull’s sister team, when he was still 17 years old, and it was all thanks to Helmut Marko ‘s decision to take him to the Big Circus very soon. Despite the criticism, the passing of the races proved him right, and he was world champion in 2021.

However, in 2014, when he raced in his first year of Formula 3, also the first in which he competed in single-seaters, he won many races and finished third, behind Esteban Ocon and Tom Blomqvist . That is why Mercedes and Red Bull were interested in the Dutchman, although it was the energy drinks who took the young genius.

The director of the Germans, Toto Wolff , was considering his signing, but having no place available in Formula 1 for him, Verstappen decided to make the leap to the Great Circus with Marko.

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