Webber: Alonso to sit the year out

1490280768650.jpgThere is the high possibility that Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, may opt to sit out the remainder of the 2017 season if the performance of his MCL32 car doesn’t improve.

The team went through the rigorous process of re-inventing themselves over the winter, dropping the MP4 ‘bit’ from their cars name, and also a livery change to orange to remove any lasting trace of Ron Dennis from the F1 teams operations.

One lasting ‘trace’ of Dennis remains though… the incompetent Honda power unit. Dennis was famous for saying ‘you won’t win with a customer engine’, that may prove to be true, but at the moment you can’t even compete with a Honda works engine.

Star driver Alonso is in the final year of his 3-year McLaren deal, and the question surrounding Fernando’s patience with Honda and the team remains. Fernando cut a forlorn figure on the drivers parade before the Australian Grand Prix.

Mark Webber, who has remained close friends with Fernando over the years had this to say: “Maybe Fernando is not there the whole year,” speaking with Belgian broadcaster Sporza.

“Maybe Stoffel [Vandoorne] has a different teammate at some point. Fernando might not do the whole year, you never know.”

“He’s frustrated. He doesn’t even want to finish seventh or sixth. Maybe points for Stoffel is quite nice. Fernando is not interested in points.

“He wants to fight for the podium, so Fernando is mentally a long way away from where he wants to be,” Webber added.

Alonso was hoping the rule changes for this year will also signal a return to the front of the grid for the Woking based team. Qualifying 13th for the opener at Albert Park, Fernando later retired from the race when his car suffered damage to the floor.

On the other side of the garage though, the season presents a great opportunity of learning for the teams other driver Stoffel Vandoorne. For whom Webber believes will only benefit from the situation the team currently find themselves in.

“It’s a tough situation, the car and the team are not there,” Webber added. “But in a way he can still do the learning in the background, so it’s not a bad scenario for him to learn the first season in Formula 1 because the radar is not on him.

“The radar is on the team and the politics and the problems with Honda.

“He has such good pedigree in junior categories, I think there’s still good currency for him. You can’t have two years like this, but he will be okay.”

All eyes next then will be on the performance of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes, if Bottas struggles to match Hamilton, or even finish in front of the Ferrari’s as a rear gunner to Hamilton… Alonso may be sounded out for a switch to Brackley as early as August.

13 responses to “Webber: Alonso to sit the year out

  1. Alonso will wait to see which seats are available next season. If there are no good seats which means he’ll retire in 2018, he might leave directly.

    • There’s always a seat at Ferrari. They have a history of picking up a new driver while two are still under contract. Vettel and Alonso could be a legendary team.

      • Marchionne booted Alonso when the latter was still the best driver on the grid. I’m not sure Marchionne wants today the political complications Alonso brings with him anymore than he did two years back…

        • Marchionne didn’t get rid of Alonso – Montezemelo and Mattiacci did. Marchionne wasn’t running Ferrari at that point. The way that Montezemelo and Mattiacci handled the Alonso situation was largely responsible for Marchionne getting rid of both of them. Your lack of knowledge of Ferrari is evident again.

          • Nah, this is revisionist history, likely coming from Ferrari fanboism.

            When Marchionne decided to get the power in Ferrari, he first got rid of Domenicali but parachuting in Mattiacci, had Mattiacci do the dirty work of restructuring the organization and giving leave to Alonso (di Montezemolo couldn’t have been OK with removing Alonso as he was Alonso’s biggest fan at Ferrari, and Alonso couldn’t have possibly walked away by his own accord from Ferrari into the hands of Big Ron no less and a ridiculous donkey of a car), and as a final touch removed di Montezemolo while Mattiacci took leave when the henchman work was done. Di Montezemolo got the boot for lacking results and apparent inefficient management over almost a decade or so, not necessarily specifically for his handling of Alonso.

            Feel free to disagree, but don’t insult my intelligence.

      • Alonso in a Ferrari was pure gold for myself. He drove the wheels off a dog of a car and it was a costly mistake for the team when he was replaced. That said, for all his talent,his best days are behind him. I fear its going to be his last year in F1 and will look forward to next year’s Wec.

    • The scenario over Alonso potentially re-joining Ferrari will not stem over whether Marchionne wants to work with him, but whether Fernando wants to come back and fight with Vettel, who himself may negotiate with the Ferrari to block an Alonso return.

  2. What traditionally happens over the season is Ferrari tails off and Red Bull comes up so I can’t see Alonso going to Ferrari and Red Bull simply don’t need him. Vettel will be at Mercedes next year – Bottas is just keeping his seat warm for him. Will Hamilton want to re-live the politics of having a strong German teammate in a German team? I think not – he’ll jump ship to Ferrari. Part of Vettel joining would be that he’d have a sidekick so Bottas might stay or Wehrlein might come in as an understudy. Failing that Hulkenberg might be an option. Where’s Alonso? I can only see Le mans in his future…

  3. If the stats and past performance are worth anything, Bottas is not really supposed to match Hamilton. In fact, the gap between Hamilton and Bottas should roughly be on the level of the gap between Vettel and Raikkonen: On occasion Bottas would get in front, or when Hamilton’s car breaks down, but in principle he shouldn’t be operating anywhere close to Rosberg’s level…

  4. I think the writer would do well to remember that it was in fact Martin Whitnash that successfully courted and signed Honda back into partnership, not Ron Dennis.
    Ron Dennis wasn’t involved in the team in any meaningful way at the time

    • True, on paper, but I seem to recall at the time the Judge was reporting that Big Ron was likely behind the deal. It was roughly at that moment — if memory serves — that Big Ron forced Whitmarsh’s hand to drop Perez and get Magnussen on board, and then booted Whitmarsh out. I believe it is plausible Big Ron was fully behind the Honda partnership…

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