The curious case of Fernando Alonso. He won two titles, has been in the center of two “gates” in Formula 1 and left McLaren out of frustration with the Honda engine supply that didn’t manifest itself in wins. There was that time at Ferrari that didn’t usher in more titles as well.
Like Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso was supposed to be the driver that brought titles back to Maranello but Ferrari parted company with the spaniard when that didn’t materialize. Something was amiss during his time at Ferrari. He then returned to McLaren and that package didn’t product titles either.
In the end, some fans suggest that Fernando’s choices of when to move to different teams has been ill-judged and there is some truth to that but there is also some fate/luck in that process too. Lewis Hamilton made the right choice at the right time. Daniel Ricciardo is hoping his choice will be the right one at Renault but so far, that’s proving to be inconclusive and not looking great at the moment.
In an article over at ESPN, there is an interview from F1 Racing cited in which Fernando Alonso says he is ready to come back to F1.
“I’m not done with F1,” he told F1 Racing. “2021 is a good opportunity and I feel fresh and ready now. It’s something I will explore.
“Formula One is unfinished business because people think that we deserved more than we achieved — especially in the last few years. In my museum there are cabinets with a lot of trophies, but nothing recently and that seems a bit weird.”
I find this an interesting comment and his recent move of severing ties with McLaren may have been to position himself for other offers. There is a part of me that thinks this isn’t likely to happen but there is also a part of me that thinks the timing is interesting.
Fernando wasn’t hinting at a 2020 comeback because the available seats were at teams that were midfield and the only top spot was Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas. However, 2021 will have many of the very top drivers at the top teams out of contracts and this leaves many options for Fernando to lobby. Mercedes (Hamilton), Ferrari (Vettel), Renault (Ricciardo), Mercedes (Bottas), Red Bull (Albon).
The only one that seems possible could be Ferrari if they are truly disenchanted with Vettel but one might consider Ricciardo a possible replacement or some even suggest Hamilton (which I would find odd given Charles Leclerc’s status at that team).
I also can’t imagine Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes because if he wins the title again this year, he will be tied with Michael Schumacher for all-time championship wins and he would want just one more to take the record and Mercedes would be best poised to do so in 2021.
The most logical choice that I can think of for Fernando would be to return to the team he won two titles with, Renault. Ricciardo’s contract will be up and I would imagine that if things haven’t dramatically improved in 2020, he may be lobbying hard for Vettel’s seat and that may make sense for Ferrari as he and Leclerc would most likely pair well.
This might leave a seat open at Renault and it is the move I said Alonso should have done before joining McLaren. I felt that Renault becoming a full works team would be something Alonso could get behind but it is taking longer to be a top contender than they wanted. However, perhaps the combination of Alonso and Renault in 2021 with some clever design cues could find them moving forward to the sharp end of the grid.
Time will tell but let’s just say that Fernando is ready to come back to F1. Is that a good idea in your estimation? If so, which who?
Hat Tip: ESPN