Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claims that Fernando Alonso came very close to joining Red Bull for the 2009 Formula 1 season. That year, Alonso raced for Renault after rejoining in 2008 and held talks with the energy drink team over a possible deal.
"We got very close to signing Alonso," Horner said. "Helmut [Marko] and I went to see his management at the end of 2008 for the '09 and '10 season, and we offered him a two-year contract. He would only sign up for one year. We said Red Bull’s position was a two-year deal or nothing, and he wouldn’t commit to that."
Red Bull was trying to fit a replacement for David Coulthard, who retired from the sport at the end of the 2008 season. With Alonso rejecting the deal, that meant it was Sebastian Vettel who took up the seat, going on to win four world titles with the team.
Horner also revealed that Alonso's management was looking for a deal that would see him join Red Bull midway through the 2009 season: "Halfway through 2009, I had an approach to say ‘Could he join mid-season?’. They thought he could win the championship in the car."
"He had another conversation in the back of an Alfa Romeo at Spa airport several years late," added Horner. "[But] the most serious discussion was the first one, and then it missed its chance."