Formula 1, like life, is many times down to timing. The time around a circuit determines your success and the timing of your contract with a certain team could equally mean success. That hasn’t worked well for Fernando Alonso since coming to Ferrari and as Motor Sport Magazine’s Nigel Roebuck ponders, could Alonso be considering another move to be met with terrific or poor timing?
Alonso was at McLaren in 2007 and that arrangement didn’t work out well. Then team boss Ron Dennis had a new phenom in rookie Lewis Hamilton—with very good reason mind you—and Alonso was immediately at odds with the young, soon-to-be world champion.
Dennis was shoved aside but now he’s back and while one can’t grasp the nuance of Alonso and Dennis together again, one also has to appreciate both men’s desire to win again. That desire could be the trump card in an otherwise sour past.
As Nigel explores in his terrific article, Alonso very well has his future in his hands and if you read the entire piece, you begin to see that there are rumors out of Italy that new Ferrari boss, Marco Mattiacci, may be just fine with the Spaniards departure. The rumor has the new team boss very much needing to establish his leadership and remove Alonso’s pull on the team.
Both Niki Lauda and Giancarlo Minardi—for whom Alonso drove—believe that losing Fernando would be a major disaster for Ferrari. I agree no matter what the desire to establish a beachhead as a new boss may require.
Mattiacci would do well to reach détente with Alonso and see out the contract but those same rumors have German wunderkind, Sebastian Vettel, linked to the team as a replacement. Not a bad choice as a 4-time world champion and that German/Italian combination worked well with Schumacher and Ferrari in the past.
I’ve said from the beginning that it would not shock me if Fernando went back to McLaren and it still wouldn’t. McLaren lost their young phenom, Hamilton, to Mercedes so they need a world-class driver and none come larger than Alonso. This would also boost their reputation with new engine partner, Honda.
Could Alonso head back to Woking? It wouldn’t surprise me but the bigger question is this—is it the right timing? Could Fernando leave Ferrari just as James Allison gets a handle on things and starts delivering race-winning cars or could the opposite be true as McLaren find their new shove a complete package for winning races?
Timing is everything and it will be interesting to see if Alonso gets it right.
Hat tip: Motor Sport Magazine