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.
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.