Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has ruled out Fernando Alonso returning to the Formula One team next season. With Ferrari potentially having two vacant seats in 2018 and Alonso's McLaren contract running out at the end of this year, there has been talk that the two-time champion could be a candidate for a comeback.
Alonso declined to answer directly when asked earlier in the season if he was interested in rejoining Ferrari, where he raced from 2010-14, but said he was "open to anything".
Speaking at the Austrian Grand Prix, Marchionne made it clear the Spaniard had already been told by Ferrari they were not interest in a reunion. "Alonso may well have shown the desire to return, but he did not find the right response from our side," said Marchionne. "We're not interested."
He also dismissed speculation of a pre-contract being already in place with Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who failed to finish at the Austrian Grand Prix for the firth time in nine races after crashing out at the opening corner. "As for Verstappen we have not signed anything," Marchionne added. "Before the end of the year, you'll know."
Marchionne, meanwhile, urged Kimi Raikkonen to raise his game over the remainder of the season if he is to keep his seat for the next campaign. The Finn has failed to keep pace with teammate and drivers championship leader Sebastian Vettel, having claimed just two podium places this season. His future with the team is in doubt.
"Kimi has got to show a higher level of commitment to the process," said Marchionne. "There are days when I think he's a bit of a laggard, but we'll see."
Although Vettel is leading the championship by 20 points, there had been talk in Austria that even his place at Ferrari could be under threat as a result of the clash with Lewis Hamilton in Azerbaijan. But Marchionne said that although the team had told Vettel – who escaped further punishment for the offence – it was not impressed by what happened in Baku, the matter is now closed.
"I saw him on the Monday or Tuesday after Baku," the Ferrari chief added. "We said that this [incident] was something to be avoided. We have now closed that chapter, so we must think of the races and not the personal squabbles.
"Sebastian is aware of what happened. I understand the pressure and it was not an easy race. We lost the other car at the second corner in a manner that was not very correct. But I don't want to talk about who behaved well and who did not."