Daily #F1 News and Comment: Sunday 22th September 2013
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Heikki could be back (10:01)
The music is a playing but when will it stop
When the Kimi/Ferrari deal became public it would have been safe to assume that the silly season would calm down a bit. Alonso and Ferrari were painting a picture of harmony that was (and is) hard to believe.
TJ13 reported that Alonso is not as loved in the Ferrari family as Massa but they know he gets the job done. With the arrival of Kimi the balance is shifting and the once loved son is very lonely. During the week Di Montezemolo said Kimi can win the championship next year which isolates Alonso even further.
So is there anything to be read into Whitmarsh’s comments about Alonso? Jenson said he has a contract while Sergio, he has a contract with a few dots outstanding. When asked about Jenson’s statement over his contract Whitmarsh said “That’s accurate.” He then goes on to say, “Sergio has a tremendous benchmark in Jenson, who is consistent, a great quality driver, a great team player and who brings a tremendous amount of benefits to our team. For a young charger like Sergio, he knows and I know that he has to come in and beat him. He hasn’t done that consistently enough so far this year.”
“He is going to give it a good go this weekend I expect.”
This does not sound like a very convincing endorsement of young Sergio. Could it be that his seat is in danger and that is why there is love flowing from McLaren to Alonso?
Next year will be a transition year for McLaren before Honda comes on board. They could afford to stick one of their development drivers, Kevin Magnussen or Stoffel Vandoorne, in for a gap year. Alternatively they could sign Massa, which should keep Carlos Slim happy.
Alonso has a lot to lose by leaving Ferrari. Not only will he leave with a reputation of spitting out his dummy if he does not get what he wants but if reports are correct re his cycle team being sponsored by Fiat/Santander it may damage that relationship.
What counts in his favor is that Santander already sponsors McLaren and as the EU market is not looking good they may decide to focus on the UK market for a while.
It is not beyond imagination that Alonso could come over in place of Sergio or that Massa could replace Sergio but for the minimal gains and potential costs to all parties it is unlikely. Alonso will stay at Ferrari and see how it goes against Raikkonen. If it goes well he will stay, if not, 2015 could be the year that he moves. Sergio will need to button up and put his goods on the table next year or he will be jettisoned from McLaren.
Heikki could be back
It has long been anticipated that Heikki Kovalainen may return to Caterham as the team believes the lack of experience has hurt them this season. With the new regulations next year his worth would increase much more.
When asked about drivers for 2014 Tony Fernandes said they were saving for 2014 but unfortunately due to the state in which Formula 1 finds itself currently “the budget plays a large part in your decision making.” However, speaking to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat newspaper Fernandes said Kovalainen had a big chance to return but he does not want to say more than that. “Heikki is still with us, he is a big part of this family.“
If rumours are to be believed then Charles Pic is safe (Renault connection) and Van Der Garde is on his way out.
It may not be all bad for Van Der Garde as he brings sponsorship money from McGregor and there are other teams interested in him (or his money). Van Der Garde believes he has improved this season. “To be honest, I would like to focus on racing and do my best. The good thing is that I have shown my potential this year and improved my speed.”
He also believes he still has a chance to stay at Caterham. “I am very happy in the team.They have improved a lot but of course they need a faster car next year.“
But are we as fans (and team managers) expecting too much too soon from new Formula 1 drivers? If someone as experience as Hamilton struggled to get to grips with his Mercedes how can we expect a young/inexperienced driver to blossom immediately?
~ by thejudge13 on September 22, 2013.