Earlier in the week Flavio Briatore of Renault said he would love to have Alonso back at Renault, and then there were reports that Renault could make a bid to buy Alonso’s contract from McLaren for next year, reuniting him with the team he won his two Drivers World Championships for.
Today however Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn squashed the rumors by saying that Renault does not need Alonso to be successful in the future.
“Success in F1 is always the product of team work, It needs a perfect car, chassis, engine, tyres, team effort, and driver of course. The best driver cannot succeed without a perfect team and vice versa.”
“I demand from the team to compete at the highest level. If we cannot come first we have to be at least runner-up. But I do not interfere with the daily operations, for this we have Flavio (Briatore) and Alain (Dassas).
“The team know what it takes to win. This year, we started late because the title fight of 2006 took our full efforts until the very last race.”
“We had to pay for this and we had to get used to new tyres, a new driver. But I am absolutely confident we will be successful in 2008.
“But this is not depending on one person.”
Renault has always been reluctant to pay a huge amount to and for drivers, and have been known as the team in pitlane making the best use of it’s budget, which has never been one of the largest in Formula One. Knowing this it was surprising that Briatore would say that Renault would be prepared to buy Alonso out of his contract, as negotiations with Ron Dennis are known to be very difficult, especially if he has a signed contract in his hand.
What is known is that Alonso does have a contract with McLaren for next year, and even he admitted earlier in the week that he would be at McLaren next year. A year away from racing was also floated for Alonso next year, but again he knows that a year off is not desirable, especially next year when it will be the first season under a new rules package, and especially with traction control being outlawed. Spending a year on the sidelines would mean Alonso would come back a year behind all the other top contenders.
Look for Alonso in a McLaren next year, but for 2009, who knows, but the smart money is on either Toyota or BMW.