“My future is already set,” he told British television Sky a few minutes earlier. “Or already set in my mind for some months. Now we are finalising everything. You need to be patient, you need to wait a little bit.” – Alonso.
When you know it you will say ‘it was so obvious you will do that’,” he added. – Alonso.
Obvious??? Not in my mind. What was obvious to me was to stay at Ferrari another year while McLaren and Honda worked out all the kinks in their new system, and while you’re waiting, see what the talented James Allison (whose first car will come online for 2015) can come up with. If he can produce a car worthy of your (Alonso’s) services, see out your Ferrari contract with a championship or two, then go back to McLaren, finish out your career and take care of unfinished business. That is what was obvious to me.
But since Sebastian Vettel has jumped the Red Bull ship, and with only one other team that could be a possible destination – Ferrari – it would seem that the only thing that is obvious as of right now, is that Alonso will not be at Ferrari for next year. So maybe it is obvious, maybe the answer is McLaren. That has been the rumor all year, one that until recently no one thought was possible, not even this blogger.
However, there is some logic in it. Despite McLaren’s poor competitiveness since 2010, this is one of the most successful racing organizations in the world. Honda does know a thing or two about engines and winning and the man most responsible for McLaren’s winning pedigree, Ron Dennis, is back in charge. Oh yeah, one more thing, one of Adrian Newey’s right-hand aero men, Peter Prodromou, will be Woking’s chief aerodynamicist.
Everyone says the Vettel announcement put Alonso on the back foot; I don’t buy that for a second. Whatever is going down, it has been in the works for some time, just as Alonso has alluded to. These deals usually have been completed long before we find out about them, at least in the sense of a handshake or a verbal agreement.
As far as Alonso’s price tag losing some of its oomph, or Dennis wanting to drive down that price tag, all parties in negotiations will try to get the best deal, which is only natural. Does it really matter if it is 30, or 50 million for the Spaniard or in the case of Vettel 8o million for the package the four-time champion was offered to go to Ferrari? It is all about the championships, well most of the time anyway.
Side Note: Vettel is going to need that 80 million to make up for a crap car (at least in the first few years) that will have an even looser rear end not to mention no front end feeling than the RB10 this year, which caused him so many issues, allowed Daniel Ricciardo to completely outrace him, tarnished his star and validated my argument that it was the car and not the driver that was on display over these last four years
What is also obvious is that Alonso desperately wants a third championship, not more millions. He has said as much, in fact he said that three championships puts you into a very special group of drivers. Much has been made of time running out for Alonso, but I don’t see that happening. He is still driving at a very high level; look no further than this year to see what the Spaniard can do with a F1 car.
What is not that obvious is, if it is finally announced that Alonso is heading back to McLaren, will Honda show up with an engine (ICE) fast enough to challenge Mercedes and/or Renault? What is not obvious is, will McLaren get their act together under Dennis and Eric Boullier and run this team the way it was back in 1998/99 or 2007/8? What is not obvious is, will Prodromou be able to bring the black magic that he learned under the master full circle on his own in a different organization?
Lots of questions whose answers are not that obvious…