…according to Spanish publication Diario Gol, they claim Ferrari are willing to repair bridges with Alonso saying that they recognise that their car wasn’t competitive enough to win championships when he drove for them.
Further, it is claimed that the team have made an approach to Alonso about driving for them next season, presumably to replace Kimi Raikkonen thus giving us the tantalising prospect of a team mate battle between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. But is that even a possible?
Even if the Maranello team took back the Spanish Samurai, the inevitable clash between finger boy Vettel and the Fernando would surely be contrary to a ‘Risky project’ that Alonso wants to avoid for 2018.
“I’m not going to sit down with anyone until September,” Alonso claims
“But I want to go to a safe project, not a risky one. I would like to be in a place I can be competitive from day one and win.”
“After 16 years, with everything I have achieved, I would like to be competitive in my last years in formula one,”
The options are clearly limited. At present only Mercedes and Ferrari are likely able to provide the equipment to be “competitive from day one and win”. Indeed tongues were wagging after Alonso’s manager Flavio Briatore tweeted a picture of the Italian taking out to dinner Mercedes duo Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda.
— Flavio Briatore (@Briatore) June 23, 2017
The obvious issues are similar for Alonso at Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton has an ongoing contract (for now), but Valtteri Bottas is only contracted for this year with Mercedes. However, the Finn has performed well enough to satisfy team and is expected to have his deal extended. Ex-World Champion Damon Hill, however, sees another reason why Mercedes could have “no place” saying:
“Fernando takes more than one place in a team and Lewis takes more than one place… Explosive! “says the Briton. “I do not see it working.”
But could we see Hamilton with a shock retirement at the end of the year? After all, he’s exceeded his idol Ayrton Senna’s records and it’s fair to say he has interests outside of Formula One. It would not be a surprise to anyone to see Hamilton pursue a celebrity career away from the sport a la David Beckham. Such a move would open a possible door up for Alonso, but this is purely conjecture.
The other move that has been touted for some time is that of Renault. The driver has returned to the Enstone team before after the last disastrous stint at McLaren ended badly in 2007 but Renault aren’t expecting to be on ‘winning terms’ with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull until at least 2019 according to the team’s boss, Cyril Abiteboul.
One thing for sure is that we’re getting more smoke and mirrors from the Spanish driver with recent claims that “Next year will be a happy year,” and “Wherever I will be, it will be the perfect solution,”.
Most importantly when quized specifically about his F1 prospects and not that of a switch to Indycar he responds “No matter what decision I will make, I will win in 2018. This will make me happy,”
Where does the Jury think Alonso will go in 2018?