Alonso’s future in F1 has been in doubt for several years now, since the move from Ferrari to McLaren in 2015 the performance of the car has stymied the Spanish Samurai’s ambitions.
Without doubt Alonso is a huge talent, perhaps the best in a generation on track, this has never has this been in doubt. Off the track? Well…
The Spanish driver has moved from team to team over the years, seemingly bereft of luck. Moving to teams on a down slide, Renault 2008 onwards. Teams in organisational disarray, Ferrari 2010 onwards. Teams who just changed engine supplier in the most complicated engine rule era ever, McLaren Honda 2015 onwards. Unfortunately for McLaren fans, the move to Renault power has just proven they too are now in the organisational disarray category.
So with the sound of the British punk band the Clash ringing in his ears, should Alonso stay or should he go (from F1)?
Perhaps actually there are some very similar traits with Alonso and the punk movement. It’s far more than just being a coincidence, that Alonso’s poor luck can be the sole reason for such a long run of nothing for over a decade could it? Some might say that just like a punk, the air of anarchy is part of the individual.
Even now the reputation of the disgustingly talented Fernando Alonso has a horrid stain across it. The stain of chaos and disruption, undermining the teams balance and direction.
Even Red Bull’s ‘Spice Boy’ Horner said in the papers yesterday that the thought of Alonso taking the departing Ricciardo’s seat would “not be the healthiest thing for the team”.
“I’ve got huge respect for Fernando, he’s a great, fantastic driver, but it would be very difficult to see,” Horner said. “He’s tended to cause a bit of chaos wherever he’s gone.
“I’m not sure it would be the healthiest thing for the team for Fernando to join.
“Our preference would be to continue to invest in youth then take a driver who is obviously close to the end of his career.”
Alonso’s current team at McLaren Renault has seen it’s fortunes take a serious step backwards, particularly since the arrival of Zak Brown. In an effort to retain his ‘star driver’, Brown has allowed Alonso significant control and influence within the team’s strategic decision making – ditching Honda for Renault power being a prime example.
Brown also allowed Alonso to dilute his focus away from Formula 1, starting last year with the McLaren entry into the Indy 500, giving the Spaniard a shot at the so called ‘Motorsport Triple Crown’ – The being a win at the Monaco Grand Prix, a win at the Le Man 24hrs and a win at the Indy 500. Alonso now has two of the three, the Indy500 remains to be won despite an impressive showing in 2017.
Having now sacrificed McLaren to the whim of Alonso, Brown now concedes that McLaren and F1 will likely loose Alonso to Indycar from next year.
“I think if we were more competitive, he’d definitely want to stay in Formula One,” Brown told the Indianpolis Star.
“He’s talked about his frustrations about being in a Manufacturers’ Championship as opposed to a Drivers’ Championship.
“If you look at the race results, it’s probably a fairly fair statement.
“He likes to challenge himself. And racing the Indy 500 and/or IndyCar might compel him.”
Alonso is also likely to have his head turned by IndyCar, Brown confirms.
“He’s very interested,” Brown added.
“He likes the series but hasn’t decided yet what he wants to do as it relates to Formula One.
“He thinks it (IndyCar) is great racing. He loves the Indy 500. So I think he very much enjoyed that experience. He’s a racer. He likes to race.
“I think winning not only the Triple Crown but all three series (Formula One, IndyCar, WEC), he probably finds intriguing.
“And he likes the racing in IndyCar. It’s extremely competitive. And he likes America, so I know it’s something he would consider.”
Alonso returns to driving a Honda?
Even the manager of Honda’s motorsport division Masashi Yamamoto says he would be open to Fernando Alonso racing for a Honda-powered entry in IndyCar next year.
Honda received huge amounts of criticism from Alonso during its three poor years in partnership with McLaren in Formula 1, but Yamamoto is not ruling out the possibility of the pair being reunited in IndyCar.
“Drivers exist or they’re here to win races. That’s their goal.” says Yamamoto.
“I’m very neutral in that sense. Regarding last year, I feel very sorry for the McLaren drivers because we were unable to achieve their goals, to give them an opportunity.
“Regarding Indy, I’m just an advisor, and it’s all decided by America Honda , I can only advise it. I think he’s a fabulous driver.”
Before his ignominious exit, former racing director Eric Boullier conceded that the general plan was to try and retain Alonso within McLaren, no matter in what capacity, when asked about a move to Indy.
“As far as we are concerned for Fernando, we would like obviously for him to stay in the McLaren family and I’m not sure yet he has taken his decision, so we will see at the right time.”
Sadly I think he has no option but to walk away. In this current engine dominated era, unless he’s driving a Mercedes or a Ferrari, which is extremely unlikely, he has no chance of winning a championship even with his exceptional talent. Love him or hate him the sport is really missing out on something.
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