Retired Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg says that Fernando Alonso was never an option to replace him at Mercedes, believing the Spaniard would have caused “fireworks” with teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg beat Hamilton to the F1 drivers’ championship in 2016 before sensationally announcing his immediate retirement from the sport.
The shock news offered a late twist to the driver market, with Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda claiming that half the grid had enquired about the seat.
McLaren driver Alonso was linked with the drive, but remained locked into the final year of his contract for 2017 and underlined his commitment to the British team. Rosberg was ultimately replaced by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca, Rosberg said that as a fan, he would have liked to see Alonso replace him, but stressed that it was never a realistic proposition.
Alonso and Hamilton spent one year together as teammates at McLaren in 2007, with a fierce rivalry developing that saw the pair fall out. Alonso left the team after just a single season.
“Now I’m a fan and on that side, it’s very easy to respond,” Rosberg said when asked who should have replaced him at Mercedes.
“Everyone says Alonso and I say it too, because there would have been fireworks with Hamilton, sparks flying.
“As a fan, it would be nice, but for the team part it was not possible, and they have found a great solution. Bottas is fast and has beaten [Felipe] Massa three times in a similar way as Alonso did, and can do very well.
“Of course Hamilton will be at a very, very high level and it will be difficult to beat him, but I have proved that it is possible.”
When asked if there had been any chance of Alonso making the move, Rosberg said: “No, nothing. I can’t imagine it, not for Mercedes, no.”