After dropping Sergio Perez and all that Telmex money, McLaren have set their eyes on Fernando Alonso. They made no bones about it and even sent top honcho Martin Whitmarsh to Madrid to personally talk to the 2-time world champion.
McLaren made Alonso priority number 1 that they just sent second-in-command Jonathan Neale to the prestigious Autosport Awards in London to receive the award celebrating 50 years of McLaren in F1 so Whitmarsh can make the flight to Spain right away.
Whitmarsh did make it to another event; the opening of the ‘Alonso Collection’, an exhibit of Fernando Alonso’s racing memorabilia.
McLaren tried to downplay the presence of Whitmarsh at the event saying he was there representing one of the four teams Fernando Alonso has driven for in Formula 1.
People in the business see through it and have cited that Whitmarsh wasn’t even Alonso’s team principal during his single year with McLaren.
It is obvious that Whitmarsh, this early, is trying establish a connection with Alonso and may entice him to join McLaren in 2015, when the Honda engines come in.
"Yes, I would welcome Fernando here. He is a very talented driver," said Whitmarsh when asked about Alonso several weeks ago.
After another disappointing season, which saw Alonso express his frustration on social media and the press, the stress on him took a toll and was evident even to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
"I thought he gave up a little bit which is proof that he was looking for another team," wrote Ecclestone in F1’s 2013 season review.
Luis Garcia Abad, Alonso's manager, downplayed the presence of Whitmarsh in Madrid.
"Formula One fiction. It is technically impossible. An unsigned agreement is not an agreement," says Abad.
Fernando Alonso will be joined by Kimi Raikkonen in Ferrari in 2014.