Belgian GP

Alonso went to McLaren for ‘huge money’ – Lauda

Niki Lauda says he has little sympathy amid the situation facing Fernando Alonso.

Recently, the likes of Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber have said they feel sorry for the Spaniard, who has struggled since 2015 with McLaren-Honda rather than raced at the front where he really belongs.

But when asked what advice he has for Alonso, F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda said: “Nothing at all.

“He’s where he is because he wanted to make a lot of money at McLaren.”

It is expected Alonso will commit to a team only for 2018, so as to leave his options open for 2019 and beyond.

Mercedes, for instance, will have a key vacancy in 2019, as Lewis Hamilton’s contract is expiring.

“2019 is still far away — I’m not worried,” Lauda told Speed Week.

“We will soon be able to say something about 2018. Personally, I’m very satisfied with Bottas. I think our lineup is the strongest, because together Vettel and Raikkonen are weaker and Verstappen and Ricciardo are less stable,” he added.

Lauda also denied that Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel have been targeted by Mercedes for the future.

“Verstappen is waiting for a top car and is disappointed now, but he must fulfil his contract,” he said.

“Vettel will stay with Ferrari,” Lauda added. “So it’s not an issue for us.”

Alonso considering rival team offers

An irritated Fernando Alonso claimed on Sunday that he is considering offers from rival teams following another Honda power failure saw him retire his McLaren at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Asked how much longer he would continue to put up with his frustrations, he added: “Seven or eight more races.

“I think we will consider all the options out there, but we did a fantastic qualifying, a fantastic start, we won a lot of Grands Prix in our careers.

“There needs to be one change only. I think there are many answers out there and we need to find them. They will not come looking at the sky.

“We need to sit down and work on it and hopefully we find the best solution for next year.

“I think we will see what happens in the next couple of weeks.

“I’m happy with the team. We’ve had three tough seasons so far but McLaren is one of the best teams in the world and I would be happy to keep working with them, but we need to see how things evolve.”

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