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Ferrari being Ferrari (04:50)
Caption Competition (04:50)
Whitmarsh wanted to keep Perez (05:15)
Ferrari being Ferrari
There are certain things one can rely on in life no matter what is happening elsewhere. The sun will always shine, men will always love motorsport and Ferrari will inevitably always be Ferrari.
Following on from a silly season full of stories of civil war and turmoil at Maranello it should not be a surprise to hear them up to their usual tricks. The dressing down Fernando has received from Il Padrino has not been left to rest and is certainly not forgotten by the Spaniard.
With quotes to the media in Brazil of “Second place is mine, certainly not Ferrari’s” and “We started the season with great ambition, and thought we could fight for the title, we obviously couldn’t, but i’m proud of what I achieved, second place in a car that is not the second fastest by far”, his feeling towards 2013 are clear.
However, the most poignant one I feel is “”The reason why we failed? Why don’t you ask Domenicali, because not being able to use the wind tunnel, again, didn’t do us any good.” So what is Alonso angling for here? Having clearly missed out on the possibility of another team for 2014, he is forced to put up with what he has at least for the short term.
It would seem he is footing the problems Ferrari have encountered at the door of Stefano Domenicali, with a possible replacement already waiting in the wings. The glory days he enjoyed at Renault were shared with one Flavio Briatore. For any who don’t remember Briatore’s last involvement in Formula One there is a short video explaining ‘Crashgate’ below.
[Briatore, on 5th January 2010, had his ban overturned]
Alonso could regain the control of the team which he is set to lose with the introduction of a team mate on equal terms to him, Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando could be changing tact, having not been offered an extension to his contract and Ferrari keeping Nico Hulkenberg on speed dial, the team must be feeling pretty safe driver wise.
A return of Briatore to Formula One would be hard for many to envisage, especially given he said he would never return to Formula One in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. However, there is another team boss who is soon to be a free agent. Ross Brawn could want a return to Maranello where he would be well received to manage the strongest 2014 driver pairing on the grid.
Either way, Alonso is setting himself up well for next year by stirring the stew. If the car is poor, he can walk away easily citing the fact he stood by the team for so long. Alternatively, this could see the departure of Domenicali which could see an ally of his brought into the Ferrari setup instead. Should Alonso leave, he looks as if he wants to do it the hard way. The power struggles will continue long after Interlagos.
There is a long and cold winter ahead at Maranello!
Susie Wolff, yesterday, tweeted this picture. What could have been said?
Whitmarsh wanted to keep Perez
For a team that started and finished 2012 with the strongest car, 2013 has been a far cry from the highs McLaren are used to experiencing. The loss of their title sponsor and change in driver formation is set to shake things up along with the changes of car regulations for 2014.
It seems strange now to hear Martin Whitmarsh saying to the media in Brazil he would like to have kept Perez if they had been able to find Magnussen a drive elsewhere. There was always the option of leaving him in a Junior Formula for one more year and seeing what the options were come next season. Had another team already got their eyes on Magnussen and they were scooping up the talent before it was stolen?
Furthermore, what does this say about the rest of the grid? With Magnussen confirmed, it would now seem that Chilton is very safe for 2014, along with Jules Bianchi unless something radical changes. Caterham are reported to be interested in the Swedish GP2 driver Marcus Ericsson, so something has to give there as well, as 3 into 2 drives does not work.
Ultimately, the big lesson to take from all of this is McLaren don’t seem to have the influence towards the back of the grid anymore compared to the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull, as demonstrated by Bianchi signing at Marussia and Ricciardo in 2011, for the now defunct HRT.
The first signs of the wheels falling off at Woking?
Also, interesting to note that two drivers with big budgets (Maldonado and Perez) have failed so secure 2014 drives. Is F1 slowly turning away from pay drivers (at least at the front of the grid)?