OCTOBER 16, 2007
Lining up the ducks
Although the problem of Fernando Alonso and McLaren will not be solved until after the Brazilian Grand Prix, it is our understanding that a number of the teams are putting options into place so that they can react as soon as the future of Alonso is known. If Fernando goes to Renault it will mean displacing at least one driver although there are rumours that Giancarlo Fisichella will be moving on come what may to be replaced by Nelson Piquet Jr. If Alonso joins Piquet or Heikki Kovalainen will have to move on and there have been hints that Renault boss Flavio Briatore is trying to place one or the other at Williams.
If Alonso goes to Ferrari, which seems a much more likely option, then there will need to be a place found somewhere else for Felipe Massa. Our spies continue to say that this will be at Toyota and that Massa would not push out Timo Glock but rather result in the departure of Jarno Trulli. We expect that Glock will be confirmed as a Toyota driver in the days after the Brazilian GP, as soon as his BMW deal is over.
McLaren needs to find a replacement for Alonso and the only name we have heard being mentioned - probably because McLaren does not seem to have made any move at all (presumably because it does not want to be accused of breaking Fernando's contract and it can go after pretty much whoever it chooses give the competitiveness of the car) - is that of Nico Rosberg. He is contracted to Williams and the team says it will not sell his contract but if the driver makes it clear that he wants to depart it is really just a matter of working out how much has to be paid and to whom. In the case of Nico that would be a large sum of money because Williams has a number of sponsorship deals in which Rosberg is an important element.
Of the drivers who are being displaced there seems to be a fair amount of interest from various parties for Tonio Liuzzi, while Ralf Schumacher is still hoping to get another chance and could perhaps end up in the Vijay Mallya-run Spyker team - or whatever it is called in 2008. If Ralf wants to stay in F1 he is going to have to take a serious pay cut.
At the moment, however, everything remains on hold until the World Championship is settled.