Alonso and Hamilton want split

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2007 | Daimler ChryslerFernando Alonso:

I’d be delighted if I didn’t carry on with Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton:

I’d much rather it were Fernando at Ferrari and me at McLaren.

But it looks ever more likely that Alonso will return to Renault rather than switch to Ferrari.

Renault boss Flavio Briatore has admitted he wants Alonso back in his team and suggested the Spaniard is able to leave his McLaren contract.

Alonso ruled out taking a sabbatical next season, which had been rumoured.

And Ferrari’s Jean Todt stated that Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa will continue driving for the team next year.

If Alonso does go to Renault, it will surely spell the end for Giancarlo Fisichella, who is lagging behind rookie team mate Heikki Kovalainen this year, the Finn having just scored the team’s first podium of 2007.

But who will take Alonso’s place at McLaren? Germans Nico Rosberg and Timo Glock could be in the frame, or McLaren’s test drivers Pedro de la Rosa or Gary Paffett.

The British press have excitedly suggested that it might be Jenson Button – but surely the team would not want two British drivers?

Vitantonio Liuzzi has no drive for next year. Nor does Ralf Schumacher, who’s just been dropped by Toyota.

Giedo van der Garde, who is on the same driver development programme that Hamilton was, is Spyker’s test driver but has had a poor year in World Series by Renault and surely isn’t ready for F1 yet.

Other test drivers looking for a race drive are Christian Klien (Honda) and – tantalisingly – Hamilton’s GP2 rival Nelson Piquet Jnr (Renault). Mika Hakkinen tested for McLaren last winter, but didn’t seem to do very well. The twice-champion currently races for Mercedes in the DTM.

As for Alonso and Hamilton, it’s all a fair cry from the days of their pally Mercedes advert together isn’t it? We may have another of those classic Senna-Prost rivalries on our hands…

Photo: Daimler Chrysler

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