MX23RW : Monday, October 15 11:36:43

Williams deny 2018 Fernando Alonso talks

Williams play down reports that they are close to signing up Fernando Alonso for 2018.

Williams have played down reports that they are close to signing up Fernando Alonso for 2018.

Reports have suggested that frustrated McLaren-Honda driver Alonso could announce imminently that he is moving to the customer Mercedes-powered team next year.

However, Williams deputy Claire Williams told Bild: "I read that with astonishment.

"I know nothing about it. I never negotiated with him - never sat at a table with him."

Williams also dismissed suggestions that Alonso's huge 2017 salary would be paid by billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who wants the very best teammate to pair with his son Lance next year.

"Forget it," Claire Williams responded.

"Mr Stroll is a successful businessman because he does not throw money around like that."

Williams currently sit fifth in the 2017 constructors' championship.

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Force India's Scottish driver Paul di Resta stands in the pits during the first practice session at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 23, 2013
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