Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Baku City Circuit, 2017

Alonso may not make 2018 decision until December

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says he may not make a decision on his career until the end of the year.

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Start, Road America, IndyCar, 2017
F1 at Road America? Great idea. Won’t happen, though…
Given the success IndyCar has made of its return there since last year, this is a great if unlikely idea:

I know there are probably better options for the second race in the US, but I would love to see F1 cars racing around Road America.
Brian VanDyke (@Prosybris)

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53 comments on “Alonso may not make 2018 decision until December”

  1. Probably just me but I find that quite arrogant from ‘nando.. yes, he is undoubtedly an amazing driver. But to decide on where he’s going that late into the year is a bit. well.. arrogant.

    Most teams will want to know their driver line-up by then for development reasons etc.. also surely most teams would have already made their decisions on drivers by then. Yes I know Mercedes were in a similar situation late in on the year but that was out of theirs hands. This just seems a bit “I’ll decide when, not you” from Nando which could leaving him (highly unlikely) without a seat at all.

    1. I agree. By November Mercedes and Ferrari will have their 2018 drivers contracts all signed. I’m guessing Force India will have their other seat signed as well. I don’t see any of the other teams as being significantly better than McLaren.

    2. Is it possible he hasn’t gotten the offer he wants yet? I’m that case he might want to make statements that keep other drivers guessing.

      1. I agree totally, because there isn’t anything on the table from a leading team, he can safely say this. Put it this way, as a backmarker or mid field team at best, what’s really the worst that could happen with a late confirmation from Nando. Realistically only Renault really of all the teams on the grid provides an outlet. I think the case would be very different if we were talking about one of the leading teams’ drivers and if it were the case that Merc or Ferrari offered a drive, the decision would never have to wait till the end of the year I’m sure.

    3. For me, this definitely means he’s either staying at McLaren or moves to IndyCar. That’s it, there are no other options. All other teams will likely have a set of drivers for next season by then.

      1. Don’t speak so soon 😉
        What if Mercedes haven’t resigned Bottas’ because they are aware they may also need an Alonso or a Vettel at the end of this year as well as Hamilton to take the fight to Ferrari?
        Then you may have a seat at Mercedes, or what if Vettel signs with Mercedes? Ferrari will need the best they can to bring the fight to them…
        There are plenty of possibilities yet, and I think Alonso is being a wily fox here by making sure he is available for when they come to fruition.

    4. @nemo87, I wouldn’t say it is especially late given that, with the lengthening season, teams have begun to shift their final decision towards later in the year, with the final announcements coming in October. Whilst it is not so common, some other drivers have tended to sign contracts comparatively late in the year too – Perez has tended to sign his contracts with Force India around November to December.

    5. +1, seems a bit rough on Mclaren for him to leave it quite so late. trying to find someone to fill his shoes will be a big job. He knows that and so is making sure that know it too.

    6. Why would he not wait until close to the end of the season to see if Honda can get their act together ?
      Alone among the engine suppliers they will be able (and apparently intend to) deliver upgrades all the way to the end of the season. Penalties really don’t matter to them at this point – achieving a competitive power plant is the only thing that counts.
      If they can, he’ll stay, as the rest of the package looks pretty competitive; if not, and at his age, why would he suffer another season like this one ?

    7. Arrogance? It is his life, his career, his decision and he can make it whenever he wants to.

      His choice to wait until the end of the year suggests that he has to wait for something else to happen before he can make his choice.

      When Fernando Alonso comes on here and starts telling you when you should make that move to a new job then you can blast him but the only arrogance i see here is in your statement.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        18th August 2017, 9:41

        He’s not going anywhere. There aren’t any other options, Indy Car is the only plausible one but I can’t see it for a few years yet. He’s rightly piling on the pressure at McLaren/Honda because they need him.

        1. @ rdotquestionmark I fully agree. Just imagine McLaren with a couple of development drivers because the car doesn’t deserve better. The team would quickly sink out of sight on the F1 stage. Love him or hate him (I think he’s the best driver on the grid but personally, not so much) Alonso is the reason that the McLaren/Honda boat is still floating & relevant.

    8. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
      18th August 2017, 10:32

      I don’t think it’s a problem. Or arrogant. McLaren can prepare and make a list of drivers who they want should he say no and approach them.

      1. I’m not sure FA’s quotes are being interpreted as they were meant. He is saying that he will be trying everything to stay in F1 in a competitive ride first and foremost. The Nov/Dec thing is only if he has decided he must look outside F1…obviously not his preference. So there isn’t one bit of arrogance here. This makes sense and is consistent with what he has been saying all along.

        I haven’t given up on him going to Mercedes, but it seems Renault is a possibility and without question Mac would love to keep him. He’ll most likely be in F1 next year and perhaps 2019 might see him at a real top 3 team if that can’t happen next year. He’s certainly not done with F1 yet. And where he’ll be next year we’ll certainly know sooner than later.

    9. @nemo87 – Out of interest, what did you make of Nico’s decision to retire in December last year?

      I think Alonso is basically saying if he gets a competitive car, he’ll sign up now. If not, he’ll wait and see. Even in December, I’m sure almost every team would be willing to ditch a driver to bring in Alonso if they had the opportunity.

      1. @petebaldwin It was a shock! Even from a rivalry point of view I fully respected his decision. He had undeniable reasons. As much as I ‘hated’ him throughout the season as a lewis fan.. I couldn’t help but agree he helped make the season superb!

        I thought it was a bit crappy that he left it so late, to tell the team, I can only imagine the headaches he gave Mercedes. But he left to retire. That’s a huge decision. Where as ‘Nando seems to be hanging McLaren out to dry until something better comes along.

        1. @nemo87 Couple of things…from Nico’s standpoint, his announcement was not late. He made it as soon as he knew. And that was never going to be until he secured the WDC, and no sooner. Then he actually took a very short time to commit to such a complex (yet perhaps easy) decision.

          Headaches? Yeah no doubt, for a short time. They have obviously adapted well, and he is welcomed at the garage and has a role, so there’s certainly no hard feelings. And imagine the #1 #2 tension if the points stood as they do with NR in VB’s seat.

          I wouldn’t word it that FA is hanging Mac out to dry…he’s doing his bit, and is in a unique and difficult and strange position given how long Honda has taken, his resume, his time left in F1, the seating arrangements. It’s Mac that has left I-want-to-retire-here FA out there for the taking. Any team in any series will only benefit massively on the track with FA, that goes without saying. I don’t care what baggage people want to assume comes with him. I don’t see him making salary, nor attitude (speculative) a stumbling block to a top ride, particularly at this particular juncture in the road for him.

          Eg. If LH doesn’t block him from a quali run…if Merc and FA doesn’t receive confidential info from Ferrari…we’ve got no problem. FA wants a WDC, not money nor drama, imho. He’s soooooo ripe for the picking. His power on the track far outways anything else that would be a speculative unknown and will be managed if and when it comes up.

    10. I don’t think FA has any illusions that he’ll still be making F1 decisions in Nov/Dec. It will only be if he decides he must leave F1 (highly unlikely) that he will then hope to announce something outside of F1 by Nov/Dec.

      I have no doubt that any team FA considers satisfactory for him going forward has already been approached. I would think all the relevant teams know he is poised and could have him if they wanted. I would be surprised if FA hasn’t already offered to drive for free at Mercedes. Point being, I’m sure the teams pretty much already know he’s available and open to discussions…have known that all season as soon as it was obvious McHonda were still nowhere.

    11. Arrogant? He’s weighing options for his career because the engine supplier hasn’t caught up with the rest of the field in 3 years. He’s been more than patient especially considering his level of talent.

  2. Nice to see Dr. Marko still rooting for his now grown-up “children”.

  3. @keithcollantine, Apology unnecessary, but whatever caused the delay was unusual only in being a lot later than usual, 1 to 2 hours late is a frequent occurrence here in the antipodes, but just like yesterday, all are “posted” 0:01am.

  4. I smell Alonso doing a year in Indycar which would be amazing if he was to get a ride in one of the big three. It’s not F1 but id love to see him fighting for wins

    1. @racerdude7730 It’s more likely than F1 going to Road America, but I still doubt it’ll happen.

    2. @racerdude7730 – I think he’ll stay at McLaren and then enter Indycar with them in 2019.

      1. I’d say that’s the most likely scenario.

        I’d love to see Alonso in IndyCar with a real chance to win races next year, rather than plodding along for another wasted year.

    3. I smell a swap between Kimi and Fernando.

  5. Grosjean, that’s exactly the opposite of what’s needed to fix the problem. Stop being part of the problem.

  6. If F1 want another Grand Prix in US, why not give Indianapolis a try using the new Indycar road coarse layout used since 2014.

    1. First short answer to that is Indy would not want a head to head comparison of the two series on the same track. F1 cars would make Indycars look slow, lapping numerous seconds quicker.

      1. @robbie I remember way back in the ’80’s, they sent over a CART front runner to do demonstration laps at Brands I think it was. The car was noticeably bulkier (the unkind motoring press labelled it ‘a truck’) and the exhaust fumes made your eyes water but what was really significant was that an average F1 car with a Cosworth DFV in the back ran rings around it mainly because the CART was an oval racer with minimal aero, and despite the F1 car having considerably less horsepower. The 2 series appear to have converged of late with the Indycars getting smaller with more aero whilst the F1 cars seem to have got bulkier compared with the ’80’s. I would love to see a head-to-head now. Not sure the result would be that clear cut, and would be track dependent.

  7. Might just be that he wants the press to stop asking the same question – he’s now said end of year to avoid having to speak about it meantime, and will no doubt already be in talks.

    Can’t see a move to Merc unless Lewis moves on, and can’t see a move to Ferrari while Vettel is there given they always run a number 1 and number 2 driver…………..Red Bull?, not while existing line up is there.

    The question is not where Alonso will go – but where Max goes and when, and what space that leaves!!!

    1. But he isn’t saying end of the year for an F1 decision. The Nov/Dec thing is if he feels there’s nothing for him in F1 any longer and he has to look outside it for competitiveness.

  8. I don’t understand Honda and their comments. Didn’t Honda cancel the Sauber deal?

    1. Sauber did.

    2. @hahostolze
      The Honda deal was Kaltenborn’s idea, when she got ousted (or perhaps that was the reason) the new management looked at other options.

  9. I can see Alonso doing what Senna did in 1993; sign a contract on a race-to-race basis. Back then McLaren had a young Mika Hakkinen as a reserve driver, I am sure this time around they can lure a decent backup driver to be ready to jump in and replace Alonso (if Button is not up for it).

    1. @barkun Now that’s an interesting idea.

    2. can someone fax this idea to alonso? that’s what they did in ’93… fax things. I don’t think that in this day and age it’s possible to reach such an agreement. with all the sponsors who invest their money not only in a car but also in a face and… wait… we’re talking about McLaren… what sponsors? haha. I’d love to see a race by race contract. It would spicen things up. Can Honda deliver? Can they keep Alonso? Will Norris jump in?

      1. for the record… back in 1993, after a few races Senna decided the car was good enough and signed for the rest of the season (Hakkinen eventually replaced the under-delivering Andretti for the last 3 races).

  10. @barkun – What a great idea that is! Would inject lot of drama in the early part of season, “will he race? will he not race? Is he talking to someone other team? Oh look, he tweeted about Indy Car”.. I imagine commentators and F1 writers will have a great time :D :D. I don’t mind that to be honest.

    In my ideal world, he does 2018 on a race-by-race basis, gets a Mercedes/Ferrari seat for 2019, wins the championship, goes to Indy car for 2020 and wins there. So, a bit of Senna’s career and Mansell’s career mixed for the Prost of our generation :)

  11. Alonso doesn’t have the amount of leverage he thinks he has. Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull have moved on. He does not fit into their long term frameworks in the way that we would have maybe 4-5 years ago. It seems, the reason he’s leaving his decision until November/December, is so as he can position himself well in the event that somebody in a top team does a Nico Rosberg and calls it a day. With a strong talent pool now, I doubt he’d get anywhere near to a top drive at this stage of his career.

    Renault could be an option, but an improbable one. The talk here in the French press is that they want Ocon in the 2nd seat, and failing that they’d go with Kubica. You also have to factor in the salary demands of Alonso compared to the two above and the fact that Renault already have a driver who can provide good technical feedback and performance in Hulkenberg. As the article says, Alonso wants a) The 3rd title and b) The triple crown. Mclaren is the only option if he wants another crack at Indy, and if the Renault engine deal comes about than he may get a more reliable car that could nab him a podium on a good day.

    1. I disagree with several things you’ve said. I’m not convinced the top 3 teams have moved on…let’s wait for official announcements on that, and there is still 2019 when more openings might be available on those teams.

      He’s not leaving an F1 decision until Nov/Dec…that’s only for if he decides he has to leave F1, which I think is unlikely.

      Don’t know why Renault or any team wouldn’t want him, and I would be shocked if FA made salary an obstacle to a worthy ride. He’s got plenty of money. All he wants now is a competitive ride.

    2. I agree that while Salary can be an obstacle, it can easily be removed if the circumstances are right, with Renault being on an upward trajectory. However, you haven’t explained why the big three teams would give him the time of day. Mercedes and Ferrari have both refuted claims they want to sign him and the Red pair are locked in for next year. When you have Ocon on Toto Wolff’s books, LeClerc a Ferrari driver in waiting and Sainz in the Red Bull stable why would you choose someone who despite having tremendous ability, is nearing the end of his career and has a well documented history of feuding with team personnel.

      1. Black n Blue, given that Renault have made a bid for Ocon in the past, there is no guarantee that Mercedes will be able to hold onto him for the longer term.

        As for Leclerc, he may be performing strongly in Formula 2, but I cannot see him driving for Ferrari for a few years yet – no rookie has made his debut at Ferrari for 45 years now (Arturo Merzario, in 1972, was the last driver to debut with Ferrari), and there are no signs of that changing.

        If Leclerc drives for any team next year, it’s most likely to be Sauber – I can’t see him driving for Ferrari until 2019-2020 at the earliest, and perhaps even later than that (they let Massa train at Sauber for several years, whilst Ferrari were planning to move Bianchi from Marussia to Sauber before his accident).

        Talking of feuding drivers, Sainz Jr is reportedly worse in that regard than Alonso – there was the allegation that Red Bull moved Verstappen to Red Bull as much because the rows with Sainz Jr were threatening to tear Toro Rosso apart, and more than a few accusations of Sainz Jr having bitter rows with the senior management.

      2. @Black n Blue Why give him the time of day? Only because he’s FA. Arguably the best on the grid. Is this not the pinnacle of racing? Should the top teams not have top drivers for maximum value for our paying dollar?

        And it is not that he is nearing the end of his F1 career. It is that he still has easily 5 more years age wise and why wouldn’t any team in any series gain hugely from him, as I say on a comment further up the page.

        Throw away the best driver on the grid because there might maybe possibly be some bit of drama? Please. “Feuding” with team personnel? Please.

  12. There is zero chance of F1 racing at Road America as that place is nowhere near upto F1 standards in any regard.

    There is no pit complex, There is no real media or broadcaster facilities, The paddock isn’t upto scratch, Spectator facilities would need a ton of work as would roads going to the circuit & parking. And that’s before we get to how some of the areas of track would need work to produce more run-off & that some of the areas around the back of the track (The kink through Canada corner) can’t be changed due to whats behind the existing wall’s.

    The only permanent road circuit that Indycar runs on which could host F1 is Indy because having hosted F1 in the past it’s already upto F1 standards.
    Even the street circuits Indycar use would need some work in order to find room for pit/paddock & media facilities.

    Just a point on why I keep bringing up media/broadcaster facilities. F1 & it’s circuit includes hundreds of media people & dozens of broadcasters from around the globe & you need places for the media people to work from & for the broadcasters to run there equipment/staff from.
    Indycar doesn’t generate the media attention so you don’t have the amount of media people at each race so the media facilities are either non-existent & have media working out of local hotels or only big enough for a handful of publications.
    And in terms of broadcasters, There is only 1 (Either ESPN or NBC) that handles its broadcast from the track all the rest either produce coverage from a studio or just take the international feed as is with none of there own coverage.

  13. On the COTD, it will never happen. We all have our favorite road courses for a second USGP but virtually none of them are viable locations. You can count out Indianapolis, too. Even with F1 under new management, the George family want nothing to do with F1. With time being of the essence, Liberty has few location choices for a second race and it will likely be a street race in a large city.

  14. Nando is still trying to butter his bread on both sides!

  15. Just go to Daytona already,…

  16. L O N G B E A C H Please!

    1. @cm-cm The Long Beach city council recently made the decision to continue with Indycar with a long term deal rather than make the switch to F1.
      http://www.crash.net/indycar/news/872168/1/long-beach-votes-unanimously-to-keep-indycar-race

      And to be honest i’m happy with that as an Indycar fan as its probably there biggest race outside of the Indy 500 & losing it would have been a big blow to the series.

      I also wouldn’t like to see the circuit changed too much as I like the current layout & how bumpy & demanding it is on cars/drivers. If F1 went there it would likely be totally resurfaced which would take away a lot of its character as well as some of the challenge. And there would likely be changes to the layout which I wouldn’t like to see as I really like the way it is now.

  17. I have always admired Alonso and I hope he gets a competitive drive next year. I think it will depend on what happens in the rest of this season to a large extent.

    If there are signs that the Honda engine is continuing to improve then I think he may decide to give F1 and McLaren one more year. He knows their chassis is pretty good. If McLaren opt to ditch Honda and go for Renault power I think this may also be a positive factor, which might influence his decision to stay.

    I cannot see Fernando going to any other team really as much as a lot of us might really like him to. I think if none of the above comes to pass he will opt to walk away at the end of the season.

  18. Pretty sure Alonso will take the decision much earlier than that.

    I think he is just tired of being asked questions early on so just wants to get that out of the way by replying to the media ” I told you already I make my decision in Nov, now leave me alone”.

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