NOVEMBER 5, 2014
Santander met with McLaren in Austin?
Evidence is building by the day that Fernando Alonso is McLaren-bound.
Writing in the Swiss newspaper Blick, veteran correspondent Roger Benoit claims the deal was actually all but finalised a few weeks ago in Sochi, Russia.
It appears a two-year term with an option for 2017 has been agreed, but perhaps with the minute details still being discussed.
"Alonso has played it (the negotiations) very hard," a McLaren insider is quoted as saying by the Spanish daily Marca.
The newspaper's correspondent Marco Canseco claims all the evidence points in favour of the Spanish driver switching from Ferrari to McLaren-Honda for 2015.
Another piece of the puzzle, he said, were "several meetings" in Austin last Sunday morning when "Santander marketing representatives" sat down with their McLaren counterparts ahead of the US grand prix.
Although the Spanish banking group is signed up to stay with Ferrari as a major sponsor, Santander - closely and personally aligned with Alonso - has worked with McLaren since 2007, with branding still prominent on the drivers' chests.
Marca also published a photo of Alonso taking a close look at Jenson Button's 2014 McLaren in parc ferme immediately after the US grand prix.