Niki Lauda does not believe Fernando Alonso is in 2018 plans for Ferrari, Mercedes
Alonso, obviously frustrated with his dire situation at McLaren-Honda, will make a bid for victory at the fabled Indy 500 later this month — and Lauda says he understands why Alonso wants to do it.
“He’s bored, and he needs a challenge,” Lauda told Spanish broadcaster Movistar. “As a driver, I understand, but for McLaren to let him go in the most important race of the year and where they can have their best result is a tough decision to make. It’s a good decision for Alonso because he can enjoy things there that he cannot do here, and I’m curious to see what he can do at Indy.”
Beyond 2017, however, Alonso’s future is wide open. He is said to have already had talks with Renault, but what everyone with designs on winning seems to want are Ferrari and Mercedes.
Lauda doubts either of them are options for the 35-year-old Alonso.
“He left a lot of trouble with his teams when he left,” Lauda said. “I don’t think Ferrari wants to have him again. He left with a contract. The same thing happened with us (McLaren-Mercedes). We (Mercedes) have drivers who do their job, so if we win with Hamilton and Bottas, we don’t need a replacement.”
Nonetheless, Lauda said Alonso’s talent is beyond dispute.
“He is fast, aggressive — in this way, he is the best,” Lauda said. “But unfortunately, drivers sometimes cannot prove they are the best by the decisions they make, and Alonso has made many mistakes. He left Ferrari very early and decided to go to McLaren, but the problem with Honda’s engine development was already known. Now he’s disappointed, but going to McLaren was his decision.”