OCTOBER 31, 2014
Alonso keeps F1 guessing over future
Fernando Alonso is keeping the F1 paddock in the dark over his future, as a string of rival drivers also wait impatiently for his next move.
Undoubtedly the most powerful player on the driver market, the Spaniard is said to have definitely split with Ferrari, but reports suggest a contractual impasse is in play between Alonso and the Italian team.
Once that is past, Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari switch will surely become official, but for now even Kimi Raikkonen - the other driver wearing red - is on standby.
"Let's see what happens," the typically phlegmatic Raikkonen told Finnish publications in Austin. "Until then there is no reason to speculate."
But also dramatically held up by the Alonso stalemate is McLaren, his likely 2015 destination as the British team's highly anticipated works Honda era begins.
It means the careers of both Jenson Button - the most experienced driver in F1 and a former world champion - and Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen are hanging by a thread.
"We haven't been told anything (by McLaren) apart from they don't know anything," Button's manager Richard Goddard told Reuters ahead of the US grand prix.
"I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's not like they've made their mind up as to one path or another.
"He (Ron Dennis) speaks to me and he says 'I'm really sorry, but we're still in a holding pattern. I know perhaps we shouldn't be, but we are'," Goddard added.
One of the outlets convinced that Alonso is definitely McLaren-bound is the Spanish daily Marca, insisting that the terms have all been agreed and the contract is only awaiting Alonso's signature.
But for now, Alonso is saying nothing, amid wilder speculation he might spearhead an Audi entry for 2016, take a year out to race at Le Mans, or start on the road to a works Mercedes seat by switching to Williams or Lotus.
"I have a very ambitious plan in my head for my future," he told reporters in Austin.
"If that happens people will be very, very excited -- as I am," the 33-year-old added.
Italy's Autosprint quotes him as continuing: "Some things have slowed down the process of my decision, including the crash of Jules Bianchi at Suzuka.
"But the problem at this time is not what anybody is saying -- the decision is mine," he insisted.