News and views on motorsports

Monday, December 19, 2005

Alonso To McLaren in 2007

This piece of news gave me a shock for a couple of reasons. First, the last place anyone would've expected Alonso to go was McLaren and second, unlike the Sauber-BMW-Williams deal, no word of this emerged anywhere in the mainstream press. So, Big Ron scores twice in the last one week. First, the Vodafone deal and now this huge surprise with Fernando Alonso. I have a feeling these deals may be linked. Perhaps Vodafone wanted Fernando in the team. Fernando himself is only saying that he wanted a fresh challenge to win the world championship again with another team, having secured his dream this year.

So now the questions and speculations. We know for sure someone in the McLaren team will be vacating his race seat. Who'll it be and where will he go. Lets start with Juan Pablo Montoya. In case anyone's forgotten, he has only recently joined the McLaren team this year and whilst the relationship went through a rough beginning, nevertheless Juan Pablo I thought did well towards the end of the year. Should 2006 be hist last year for McLaren, I'd be very surprised because I'm pretty sure he'll be on top of things from the start. And should he leave where would he go? Surely not to Williams. Can't see him at Renault. Ferrari?

In fact, the person everyone seems to be expecting to leave is Kimi Raikkonen. There were plenty of rumours during the 2005 season that he had signed for Ferrari in 2007. Could the rumours now be true? Kimi is one of my favourite drivers. He's got speed, talent and he hardly makes mistake. To see him driving for the cads, its a thought thats pretty hard to bear. But all the signs seem to be that the young Finn will be wearing scarlet.

In the meantime, Ron Dennis is singing praises about his young protege Lewis Hamilton, the Formula 3 Euroseries star. Though Ron believes that Lewis will not be breaking into Grand Prix motor racing in a McLaren but should Hamilton blitz the field as he did in the Euroseries then one can imagine Ron Dennis will keep him under consideration for a 2007 race seat. And if that be the case, then both the current Silver Arrows drivers will be leaving this time next year.

Who will replace Alonso at Renault? In fact, there are rumours rife that Renault will not in fact be around by then. Or that at the very least 2007 will be its last season before pulling out. Speculation is that Mark Webber, a Flavio Briatore managed driver will be filling the void.

Ron Dennis made an interesting statement during the announcement: "Our aim for next year remains absolutely clear to everybody within the team – we want to win races and be in a position where we might have two Formula One World Champions driving for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in 2007." Wonder if that means that the two drivers will have to slug it out to keep their seats or perhaps McLaren will definitely be backing just one of the drivers for 2006. Will Renault now throw their weight behind Giancarlo Fisichella for 2006 in an effort to prevent Alonso running away with the number 1 in 2007?

How does all this affect Herr Schumacher? If indeed Kimi is Ferrari bound for 2007, does this mean that he'll be leaving for retirement? Or is there something more to the stories linking him to Red Bull. When Ron Dennis speaks of two world champions, could he have meant the inclusion of Michael Schumacher in the team?

In the meantime, Renault have expressed their dismay at the news. Some other reactions can be found here on

The news of Alonso's signing will have created many questions that I'm certain will be answered in the coming weeks.

1 comment:

Jay Steele said...

The question on my mind is how Flavio Briatore can possibly not be conflicted in this situation. He claims he knew nothing about this deal: in that case, can he possibly collect management fees from Fernando for this McLaren deal? It would seem to be to be a huge conflict of interest, getting paid to make Renault a weaker team.