Kurt Verlin
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Claire Williams Laughs Off Alonso Link to Williams F1 Team

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Claire Williams, deputy team principal of the Williams Formula One team, has denied the rumors that Fernando Alonso is close to signing with them for 2018.

After struggling for three years at McLarenHonda, the two-time World Champion has been looking for another team to find success. Two of the most prominent rumors have suggested a move to IndyCar or to the Williams F1 team, though some around the F1 paddock also mentioned Renault as an option before managing director Cyril Abiteboul stated that it wouldn’t happen, at least not in 2018.

Now Claire Williams is also putting her foot down on the rumors, telling Germany’s Bild she had been surprised at the story. “I read that with astonishment. I know nothing about it. I never negotiated with him—never sat at a table with him.”

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Moreover, Williams laughed off the suggestion that billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who helped pave the way toward Formula One for his son Lance, would pay Alonso’s significant salary (Honda currently pays $40 million for the privilege of being lambasted by the Spaniard every time he gets overtaken on a straight line and then watch him quit mid-race).

“Forget it,” she said. “Mr. Stroll is a successful businessman because he does not throw money around like that.”

The whole matter is quickly coming to a crux. Even if Claire Williams is being deceitful in the spirit of the F1 silly season, one wonders what Alonso would hope to achieve at Williams. In the short-term, neither Williams nor McLaren-Honda are likely to give him a championship-winning car, and in the long-term the latter team is probably the best bet.

McLaren also seems to be willing to move heaven and earth—and throw in an Indy 500 race—to retain Alonso’s talents. Even if he’s unhappy now, it would be a surprise to see him anywhere else next year.

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Source: Bild (German language)

Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.