NOVEMBER 21, 2007
The future of Fernando Alonso (this week)
The Spanish media is hungry for news about Fernando Alonso's future and is busy running stories on an almost daily basis about the various permutations possible, the sponsors who would be involved and so on. The instant copying services provided by a number of Internet sites means that there is always something that seems to need to be reported. What is very clear is that whatever is going on, is going on as secretly as possible and that it is not easy for Fernando to find a deal that he wants. If it was this would have been sorted out weeks ago and Alonso would be in a car and getting to know his new team. What is very clear now is that Alonso did not have a set plan when he departed McLaren. Since then there has been the obvious speculation that he would go to Renault, Toyota or Red Bull. Toyota has now dropped out of the running. Red Bull has two drivers and uses Renault engines so a deal with Alonso is not going to be easy to negotiate so that would seem to indicate that there is a lot more to this than meets the eye. There continues to be talk that Ferrari has some kind of arrangement with the Spaniard for 2009 but no-one is willing to confirm that although this may be one of the reasons that Fernando is having such trouble. It makes no sense in the modern world to have a driver for a one-year deal, even if it is a double World Champion. However, Alonso's trump card is that he is a big name and there are several teams that could use that status in the short-term, not least Renault which is hardly going to impress its sponsors by going into next year with Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jr, who between them have less than 20 races in F1. And Giancarlo Fisichella while very experienced has really lost his glitter in the last two years. So the pressure is on Renault as much as the pressure is on Alonso. Both sides can posture as much as they like. Renault boss Flavio Briatore has been playing the media of late saying that there is a 60% chance that Fernando Alonso will drive for the team next year. This may have been a message to someone - Alonso or a sponsor - but when one boils it all down this means nothing. Sixty percent of nothing, as any mathematician will tell you, is nothing.