Debate: Who will Alonso drive for in 2008?

Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2007 | DaimlerIt’s the question on everyone’s lips which has ground the driver market to a halt.

Fernando Alonso is contracted to McLaren for 2008. But their falling out this year has been so catastrophic, with Alonso seldom passing up an opportunity to condemn the team since the row at the Hungaroring, surely the Spaniard will be driving for someone else next year.

But who?

Ferrari have Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa under contract and rumours suggest that, if Alonso will join the team, it won’t be until 2009.

Renault, his team from 2002-6 with whom he won two world championships, would be clear favourites on the face of it.

But will he want to join a team that have visibly slumped in performance this year? And would Flavio Briatore’s outfit be willing to pay Alonso’s high salary demands? Nevertheless he has been linked to a straight swap with Heikki Kovalainen, the Finn going to McLaren.

Red Bull have David Coulthard and Mark Webber but the chance of grabbing a big-name star could persuade Dietrich Mateschitz to open his wallet. Reports in Spain have suggested that Ron Dennis will not release Alonso from his contract unless he goes to a team such as Red Bull or Williams that are perceived to be less competitive.

Toyota could certainly afford him but the team doesn’t look like going anywhere. Could Alonso take up the challenge of leading them to the front?

Honda are rumoured to have lost faith in Rubens Barrichello, but surely Alonso wouldn’t want to end up driving something as bad as a RA107?

Williams would also be quite a step down for Alonso, but Rosberg would be a good fit at McLaren.

Staying at McLaren might be the only choice he has left. But it would be extraordinary in the light of what has happened. How would he handle another year with Lewis Hamilton? Would the complaints stop… or increase?

I hope whichever he picks we see a happier Fernando Alonso still racing in F1 next year – it would be a terrible waste if he went into sabbatical.

Photo: Daimler

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25 comments on Debate: Who will Alonso drive for in 2008?

  1. Another interesting question is: IF Alonso goes to Ferrari in 2009, he will no doubt be partnered with Massa who recently signed a long term deal. Where, then, does Kimi go?

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st November 2007, 12:35

    The rumour is that Raikkonen will stay and Massa will go, most likely to Toyota. Contracts are made to be broken…

  3. It would be almost a void season for me if he went on sabbatical, or was driving an uncompetitive car, next year. He is the only proven answer to both Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen – he’s beaten them both before.

    I think perhaps his reluctant choice would be to stay at McLaren, but I guess it’s not just in his hands. Allegedly his manager is saying McLaren can’t just sell him off to whichever team without their consent.

    I don’t really see things at McLaren getting WORSE than they are now, relationship wise. They have 2 of the best drivers on the grid, championship contenders…something has to give, you can’t have everythign.

  4. Pedro said on 1st November 2007, 13:50

    The logical choice would be to stay at Mclaren, but I seriously doubt it. Whe wants to be #1, and it won’t happen at Mclaren.

  5. Pedro said on 1st November 2007, 13:51

    He wants to be #1, sorry for the tipo!

  6. Andy J said on 1st November 2007, 15:19

    I hope goes to Spyker (or whatever they’re called)…….

  7. Wesley said on 1st November 2007, 20:58

    I think he will go to Williams

    I would love to see him go to Toyota just to see if he could bring that boat anchor further up the pack!

  8. Because of his comments and then when req big periods of quiet! – he has to move and red bull – who were improving towards the end of the season maybe the best as the owner has the poss funds to help offset any uncompetitive car he may need too drive – money isn’t the solution too many things but it may ease a damaged? pride

  9. Massa signed a contract to 2010, but it wasn’t specified he would be a driver. He could remain on as a tester and reserve driver.

  10. Phill said on 1st November 2007, 22:14

    anyone else see the crash.net article on Alonso possibly driving a ‘Williams Lexus’ as part of some Toyota masterplan? I’d like to see that.

  11. Sigmund said on 1st November 2007, 23:48

    Andy J: Even if he though I am an Alonso fan and a big fan of India – so will be cheering for Force India next year – I don’t think it’s going to happen. But I guess you didn’t either.

    I don’t think McLaren can ship him anywere they want, and I don’t think Alonso wants to drive a Williams. Red Bull, mayby, but not too likely. They would have to really persaude him that they would have a competitve car with him as a #1 driver, and where does that leave their contracted drivers?

    It would be hard to stay at McLaren, but the relationship can’t become much worse. My guess is he will stay as a result of him and Dennis not finding a mutual agreement. And mayby he understands that it’s even more unreasonable to ask for #1 status against Lewis next year. He’s no longer a rookie, but a proven race winner.

  12. I would not totally bet against him going to Williams.

    a) this may be part of the deal how to get Rosberg to McLaren

    b) Alonso would have no problems to be no 1 driver there (if Rosberg moves) and this may be a temporary move till a seat in one of the top teams becomes available. Better Williams than nothing

    The question may be, where would Frank Williams find money to pay for Alonso’s services … But Toyota may come up with some $$ and Alonso himself may attract some rich sponsors

    However ridiculous this idea looked to me a day or 2 back, it does not look impossible… If ALonso would even contemplate move to Toyota, why would not he consider Williams instead…

  13. Alonso looks like he is in a big mess. Staying in McLaren would be unthinkable, after all, they don’t like him for sure. He has been too much of a pain for them compared to golden boy Hamilton.

    On the other hand, Ferrari? Why will Alonso go to Ferrari – to see if he can do to Kimi what he could not do to a Hamilton? Another year of whining? And one thing about Ferrari is that they never had a whiner in the team during Schumi years, and this year, and they are unlikely to want a known problem racer like Alonso.

    The perfect place for Alonso would be Renault. But Ron would not want him to go there – he is determined to make sure Alonso is punished for messing up his year – even though it was Hamilton who started it all at Hungaroring (heh heh).

    Can McLaren keep him and not give him a drive?

    Somehow I don’t think Alonso’s lawyers would have left such a loophole in his contract.

  14. I would like to declare here, that am no fan of Alonso(By the by, i was and still am, a fan of Schumi and of course, now i root for Kimi). His behaviour during the entire episode(s) is far from impeccable. However, only humans crack. He is only a human, who can drive superhumanly.

    Through this year, i cheered every time Lewis finished ahead of him. Then, Budapest happened. Now i must say, “Ron, can you please buy two shirts”? One for you saying, “Papa” and another for “Baby” Hamilton. Ron, clearly favored Hamilton, which was obvious after Monaco. Hamilton got away with murdering his team(mebbe it’s man love between Ron & Hamilton). If it were anyone else, they would really only have shoe laces protruding from their rear end. Shoe being firmly entrenched right up his/her …..

    Macca, as improbable, is a choice for Alonso. It perhaps, is a(may be, the only) safe one. Others are, pretty much a wild shot in the dark. I would like to say, as much i hate to think this(for his sake), Macca perhaps(other than Ferrari & BMW may be even Renault), are capable of challenging for championship next year.

    I read about Alonso being the trouble maker. However it is only the journo’s(passionately in man love with Hamilton) and people in forums, who are raising this. People(well most, excluding Ron & Patrick) in the paddock still think his stock is up. May be it’s due to the fact that, even after when Ron Hamilton & CO. threw everything at him and the kitchen sink, Alonso, he kept his focus(yeah, he was flustered mid-season, anyone would be, may be not Michael but others, yes) and finished his year rather strong(than i bet many were hoping or expecting him to).

    With this, i would like to reassure people(who want Alonso to go down), that Alonso will have a drive, for certain. He may or not win a championship, which however will depend largely on his car, than him. He has not lost his drive/desire/hunger to win. He will win, with enough races the championship(s). Let’s face it, he’s defeated Kimi & Schu who were the fastest of the lot, unarguably(in those respective years).

    Let’s be objective in either showering praise or shoving stick guys. We(most of us), perhaps, are not even a tenth as talented, as any of the guys on the grid.

  15. AndyJ said on 2nd November 2007, 9:35

    Sigmund old mate, I wasn’t being serious!

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