NOVEMBER 2, 2014
Alonso return would be no surprise says Lopez
Fernando Alonso's future continues to be clouded in mystery.
What does seem certain is that his five-year relationship with Ferrari is set to end, with the only thing blocking his official departure and the arrival of Sebastian Vettel being a Mexican standoff-style contractual impasse.
It is believed Ferrari and Alonso are both waiting for the other to publicly declare it's over and therefore breach contract -- either costing or saving the Italian team up to an incredible $50 million payout due to the Spaniard.
It is an odd situation, given that Luca di Montezemolo's parting shot as president was to declare that the Alonso-Ferrari marriage is definitely over.
"Yes Luca said something," Alonso is quoted by Germany's Focus, "but I have been every day on the Ferrari website and nothing has been written."
The paddock perception is that Ferrari's supposed signing of German Vettel caught Alonso by surprise, leaving him to choose between a move to McLaren-Honda or a sabbatical.
But Lotus might be the ideal stepping stone for a works Mercedes deal for the 33-year-old, and even the Enstone team's owner Gerard Lopez is not ruling it out.
"It would not surprise me," the Luxembourger told France's Canal Plus, "if Alonso should someday return to the cockpit of a formula one car from Enstone."
McLaren, on the other hand, is saying nothing, much to the frustration of the British team's current drivers, Kevin Magnussen and the 2009 world champion Jenson Button.
Asked how many drivers Woking is considering for 2015, team boss Eric Boullier laughed to Finland's MTV3 broadcaster: "Hundreds.
"In all honesty, four or five," he added.