I had been ignoring the rumor all weekend but thought what the heck?Â I might as well post it and we can talk about the realities.
We’re going to call this one a rumor for at least a little while, but wow. We just got wind of this monster deal that would really cause a major stir in the already tumultuous world of Formula One. News of the World just reported that two-time world driving champion Fernando Alonso is leaving McLaren-Mercedes next year. While that was considered a sure thing in the wake of Stepneygate and all, the real shocker is that he isn’t headed to Renault to be reunited with Flavio Briatore as expected. Instead, they have him going to Ferrari of all places. The report says that a cool $40 million was the price to secure Alonso for the scuderia. As they point out, it should be a relatively easy transition for Fernando, who has already been *ahem* studying design features of the Ferrari all season.
With current Ferrari pilot Felipe Massa headed to Toyota, Fernando will be joining current #3 in the driver’s race, Kimi Raikkonen, in ’08. It should make for another interesting battle over who’s number one. The same article that tells of Fernando going to Maranello also bolsters the rumor that Ross Brawn will be stepping up as team manager when Jean Todt leaves at the end of the season. It’s not often that the silly season starts this early, but this has been a very atypical year for the FIA and its premier racing class. We’ll do some digging and see if we can find other sources to back this one up. But until then, this can only make the last three races of the season more compelling TV.
And then this:
They say a rumor repeated often enough will become true. If that’s the case, then one of Ferrari’s drivers had better start updating his CV, because the rumor-mill’s a churnin’ again over Fernando Alonso’s speculated move to the Scuderia. The report was flying around Monte Carlo, where the F1 circus made its most recent stop. But while previous reports placed the two-time world champion in the red racing suit for 2009, the latest reports push that off a year until 2010.
Alonso, of course, beat out Ferrari’s mega-star Michael Schumacher two years in a row to win the world title before leaving Renault for McLaren. That arrangement most famously didn’t work out, resulting in Alonso’s release from his contract and his subsequent return to Renault. The contract was said to be for two years with an out clause after one, but the French team has failed to perform this year and Alonso has scored a paltry nine points six races now into the season. He’s been angling for a Ferrari drive and the Scuderia has been rumored to take a liking to the accomplished Spaniard.
However, the renewed reports raise several questions. Most pressing is which of Ferrari’s current drivers would be given the oust to make room for Alonso? Kimi Raikkonen scored the title for the team, but this year Felipe Massa is following very shortly behind the defending champ. Second to that comes the issue of sportsmanship and teamwork, both of which are highly prized in Maranello and severely lacking in Alonso’s demonstrated character. But while these and other issues seem prohibitive, we wouldn’t be all that surprised to see how quickly they can be dismissed in pursuit of a dominating championship.