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Mercedes wanted ‘a Bottas or a Wehrlein’ – Alonso

Fernando Alonso has finally confirmed reports Mercedes expressed interest in signing him up for 2017.

Ultimately, the German team replaced the suddenly-retired Nico Rosberg with Valtteri Bottas, but not before a reported round of phone calls to some of F1’s top drivers.

“I think Rosberg caught Mercedes by surprise and so they made a round of calls to everyone,” Spaniard Alonso told Cadena Cope radio.

“They even said ‘All the drivers called us’ and I think it may be true.  Whether they called them or the drivers called, I think they talked to the entire grid to have information and know every situation.

“I was no different,” Alonso explained.  “Toto Wolff called me in an informative, very calm way but I told him I had a contract with McLaren, that I was happy here and had no plans to do anything crazy.

“I think they also had a driver profile in mind – a Bottas or Wehrlein type – to fit with the Mercedes programme and not put too many obstacles for Hamilton,” he said.

“It was a two or three minute conversation and nothing more than information.”