Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2014

Rumours intensify around Alonso’s Ferrari future

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2014In the round-up: While Fernando Alonso does not deny he could leave Ferrari for a rival team next year, fresh rumours claim he will not see out his contract with the team.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Alonso refuses to rule out Ferrari departure (Reuters)

“Fernando Alonso on Thursday refused to categorically rule out leaving current team Ferrari as soon as next season for either former outfit McLaren or reigning champions Red Bull.”

Alo, this is the end (così è se vi pare) (Quotidiano, Italian)

Italian journalist Leo Turini believes Alonso is on his way out of Ferrari.

Ferrari and Alonso heading for divorce – who will the Scuderia go for next? (James Allen on F1)

“The Spaniard has been told by the new Ferrari management that he can leave and well placed sources say that unless there is an 11th hour change of heart the clamorous split will happen.”

Max Chilton moving aside on Friday morning so struggling Marussia can bring in much-needed cash (The Mirror)

“Max Chilton is to step down so close pal Will Stevens can become Britain’s newest F1 ace in Japan on Friday.”

Bernie and FIA discuss typhoon contingency plans (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“At their regular Thursday meeting team managers were told that an early start on Sunday – it’s currently scheduled for 3pm – could create a bigger window in which to get the race run.”

Kenny Handkammer, Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Buddh International Circuit, 2013Red Bull feuert Chefmechaniker (Bild, German)

Red Bull’s chief mechanic Kenny Handkammer (pictured with Sebastian Vettel) has left the team since the last race at Singapore and is not with them in Japan, according to Bild.

Hamilton: This is my best F1 season (BBC)

“This has been the most consistent, best performing season I remember having.”

‘Relaxed’ Verstappen ready for bow (Sky)

“Not at all [does it matter where he finishes on the timesheet] because for me this year I am just preparing for next year and I need to get experience of the new engine as it is a bit different than the last few years.”

Bottas gets new steering assembly (Autosport)

“The Williams Formula One team has elected to change the steering assembly on Valtteri Bottas‘ car for the Japanese Grand Prix, following the problems that compromised him in Singapore.”

Japanese Grand Prix Betting: Rain Could Be A Gift For Red Bull in Suzuka (Unibet)

My Japanese Grand Prix preview for Unibet.


Comment of the day

@GT-Racer recalls a rain-lashed weekend at Suzuka ten years ago:

I remember been there in 2004 where all of the Saturday running was cancelled due to a typhoon threat which ultimately never materialized. Although the rain was bad enough that it was unlikely they could have driven in it anyway and it did flood parts of the TV paddock and damaged/destroyed several broadcasters TV equipment.

This is always a risk for racing in Japan, Many local categories regularly have races postponed/cancelled due to the weather because when it rains in Japan at certain points of the year it really rains and not even the best wet weather tyres can cope with it.

An additional problem with Suzuka is the undulation as that creates areas where rivers can form on the rises/falls and water can collect on the flat bits at the bottom of those and various different approaches to drainage over the years has failed to solve this problem.

One of the bad areas tends to be exiting the final chicane as the water flows down that very steep downhill right at the point where you need the most traction under acceleration and because the river tends to cross the track/racing line aquaplaning there is always a massive issue although the slow speed tends to limit problems to big slides/minor spins.

The biggest issue is in the middle of the Esses and through the exit on Dunlop just before Degner, a big puddle nearly always builds in those places and again aquaplaning is a massive issue but the higher speeds make it significantly more dangerous (See Morbidelli/Brundle in 1994).

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On this day in F1

Five years ago today Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix but a string of penalties for other drivers created confusion over the exact order of much of the rest of the grid.

Images © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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  • 50 comments on “Rumours intensify around Alonso’s Ferrari future”

    1. That Alonso’s picture is so “caption-able”

      1. @fer-no65 “I get $100m from Honda?”

        1. Seb wants my seat ?

          1. I’ll be so sad to leave.

      2. “Who wants his car to look good?”

      3. And Berger is gonna run it too???

      4. “Really? really? has McLaren given me the seat?”

      5. “What did you say Flavio? Niki Lauda said he’ll think about it?”

    2. Forget McLaren, I now think this is going to be a straight swap with Vettel. Would certainly help with the contract buy-out negotiations. Of course this comment could look foolish in a couple of days time!

      1. Why would Seb want to leave Red Bull?

        1. The fact he could prove himself in another team. The fact Newey is leaving. The fact everyone loves Riccardo. The fact that Ferrari are still Ferrari and Vettel loves his F1 history. The fact his idol drove there. There are many reasons.

          1. @john-h I think Vettel wants to beat Ricciardo before moving.

            1. Vettel doesn’t care about Ricciardo. He proved he could win championships at RBR, even against a fast teammate (yes, Webber was fast). He’s got nothing to prove to Ricciardo.

          2. Logically, if we look how impressive Max is, then there’s a possibility Seb will leave, by 2015 if Verstappen outperformed Kvyat consistently, then Red Bull will promote their “gem” again in 2016 or 2017

      2. The Blade Runner (@)
        3rd October 2014, 10:02

        Hmmmm… Alonso + Button = Santander’s dream come true

    3. I swear, Fernando’s facial hair changes every week.

      1. I swear Nandos neck is getting so big that to turn his head he will need to actually turn his shoulders !!!

      2. Hahaha I’ve always thought Alonso looked like one of those bobbing head things you get in the back of car windows

      3. Did he dye his hair?

    4. Bernie is not going to let anyone but God change the race schedule, with hundreds of TV stations all over the world, many of them contracted for tens of $k’s to advertisers to show a live broadcast at a pre-arranged time, on what in many countries is a very busy sporting weekend.

      1. You said God and Bernie like the’re two different entities ;)

        1. Bernie is so modest he doesn’t want it to get out.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        3rd October 2014, 8:29

        As it is Japan this is a minor issue.
        Many broadcasters are in Europe. They can broadcast live and an integral re-run at the normal planned time.
        Most people would not even notice when they wake up on Sunday.

    5. “This has been the most consistent, best performing season I remember having.”

      I can’t say I agree.

      In 2012, he was virtually flawless. He didn’t make a single serious mistake all year, completely out-performed Button, and should have won the WDC if not for McLaren’s disastrous incompetence.

      In 2014, he is not out-performing Rosberg in the same way he was out-performing Button. He’s also made a handful of mistakes (Bahrain Q3, Austria Q3, Silverstone Q3, Hungary spin).

      2012 is Lewis’s best season to date, closely followed by 2007, then 2010, and then 2014 IMO.

      1. Memory is a very subjective thing.

      2. Did he mean with Mercedes ?


      3. Drivers tend to base success on wins, not morel victories like beating ur teammate and things out of your control letting you down.

      4. Rosberg is a great driver and bearing in mind that he won 7 races from 14 and could have won more if not for Mercedes reliability troubles, Yeah, that’s his best season.

      5. Thank you! I have been trying to persuade people that Hamilton was 2012 driver of the season. Both Alonso and Vettel capitulated to their teammates at certain points but Hamilton was blindingly fast almost all year. This is typical Lewis – if he’s on a high it’s the best year ever and if it’s a low it has to be the worst, his family aren’t supporting him, he isn’t feeling the car etc. etc.

        I’m very pleased to hear his direct views as a fan but always take it with a grain or two of salt…

    6. I was very kindly given a COTD back in January about Ferrari’s prospects in 2014. I said that a poor car this year could see Ferrari tear itself apart, that Domenicali would be fired and Alonso would walk.

      The reality was worse than my wildest imaginings. A paltry two podiums, a Raikkonen that can’t work with the car, Domenicali gone, Di Montezemolo going and Alonso preparing to leave. As a Ferrari fan it’s been at times almost unbearably painful to watch a team you have such passion for go so far astray.

      I can’t blame Alonso if he goes, in fact I’ll support him and be delighted to see him win races and hopefully championships. He’s struggled valiantly in mediocre cars long enough. Five seasons of Alonso driving cars that were far inferior to his talents. It wasn’t meant to be like this.

      One of my most cherished memories of F1 was seeing Schumacher clinch his third title with Ferrari at Suzuka. I wanted to see that again with Alonso, to feel like that again. It’ll never be.

      1. As a Ferrari fan who too remembers Schuey clinching that third title at Suzuka it would have been incredible to see Alonso do the same I agree.

        And sadly it seems Ferrari truly are falling apart.

        It’ll be years in the wilderness for them I fear if Fernando walks.

        1. Both of them will be, I fear, but Ferrari have more years ahead of them than Alonso.

      2. Not to criticise Alonso but he does seem to have a very particular way of setting up his cars judging from the troubles other very competent drivers seem to have when 1st they partner him.

    7. While I’ve never really warmed up to Alonso, I certainly can’t deny the guy’s skills. His consistent decent results over the last 5 years (especially as compared to his team mates), in what has mostly been a mediocre car, leave me thinking that he is probably the best all around driver currently in F1. If there is such a thing as some one “deserving” another WDC, Fernando is the man. Hopefully, wherever he chooses to drive next year, he’ll have a car that will allow him to be up front, fighting for the championship. It’s where he belongs.

    8. What the….Chilton’s stepping aside for his ‘close pal’? He gets to decide who replaces him as well (i.e. not Rossi, but Stevens)? Methink Chilton, Sr. runs this team.

      1. well, yeah, because in reality he has already paid for that seat for the season, then put up even more again a couple of races ago, so I guess he is giving up something that according to contract is “his” @wsrgo

        1. @bascb Reckon he’ll be around next year? I wouldn’t begrudge Palmer a seat in his place, though I would prefer someone with more potential, like Marciello.

          1. I think he will be there, seems the money is still flowing sufficiently to keep the team somewhat afloat @wsrgo

    9. SaturnVF1 (@doublestuffpenguin)
      3rd October 2014, 5:33

      I think the news of RBR’s long time chief mechanic leaving mid-season could be pretty significant. I find it unlikely he’s been sacked. Could he be going on leave to join Seb at another team next season?

      1. you mean, letting him go now, so that he can be there from the first race onwards next year @doublestuffpenguin?

        1. But from the article, it could well be down to some kind of bash up – he was seen with bruises and a stichted up chin when he showed up in Singapore …

    10. Formula-I (@)
      3rd October 2014, 7:25

      in football transfers, teams usually said that “he will go nowhere”, “he love the club”, “teams says he not for sale” etc. but the fact is reverse, i think Alonso likely go to another team next year

    11. That’s the craziest silly season ever: SportBilld and Gazzetta Delo Sport reporting that Vettel is heading to Ferrari to replace Alonso next year/2015.

    12. 1 month ago i said it, Vettel is on its way to Ferrari for 2015. So it will appear on newspapers sooner or later. But official announcement will be at the end of the f1 season.

    13. I will be very shocked if Alonso leaves Ferrari right now but stranger things have happened!

    14. Williams is the place for Alonso for one or two years. Then Mc Laren could be a good place to be.

    15. Vettel to Ferrari could be an interesting combination and he could be part of Ferrari’s 2-3 year plan. On that subject this is about the craziest thing I’ve heard in a while…
      @pitlanetalk: Should Sebastian Vettel indeed leave to Ferrari in 2015, Max Verstappen could take his place at Red Bull alongside Ricciardo. #F1 #Formula1

    16. As my username suggests, I am, and have been for over 12 years, a massive Fernando Alonso fan. I willingly concede he is probably not the nicest man ever to walk into an F1 paddock and nor do I necessarily agree with his actions on some incidents in his past. Blocking Doornbos in practice at Hungary 2006 and his handling of the McLaren fiasco in 2007 to name but 2. Alonso-tinted glasses make me see very little wrong on his part at Singapore in 2008 or in Germany in 2010 however.

      When it was first announced that he was going to McLaren in 2007 I was ecstatic as I felt the two were a great match. Perhaps in another season they would have been. Shunning BMW and Red Bull in favour of Ferrari now looks rather stupid but at the time I was completely sure that Ferrari would be able to produce the goods consistently. My honest evaluation would be Alonso would need time to settle at the Maranello which was ultimately proven correct and his own mistakes were as much a contributing factor to losing the 2010 championship as Ferrari’s pit strategy which over the course of the relationship has been well above average for me. 2011 saw Ferrari a very distant third and this was when alarm bells started ringing for me that this was not the stroll into the history books I had expected. 2012 saw Fernando prove what he can do. Any doubters to his class were certainly erased in Valencia where he was flawless in terms of race craft. But ultimately it was not enough, mainly in my opinion down to having a subserving team mate who didn’t take anywhere near enough points from our rivals. Alonso is simply great enough to comfortably beat almost all of the grid consistently bar the 3 or 4 superstars of the day. 2013 began well but from mid-season the fight from other teams was frankly embarrassing. At the time, I put it down to the 2008-2009 turn around that sent many championship challengers to the back but based on Ferrari’s showing in 2014, 2013 was also thoroughly unacceptable.

      So, Alonso is 33, Ferrari look destined to struggle for 2 seasons at least, one of which will almost certainly be won by either Red Bull or Mercedes where I can see no logical vacancies. Will McLaren be a quick fix? I doubt it at the moment. The Honda engine is slow, heavy and behind schedule. McLaren have the best engine and are fighting with a privateer. McLaren will not be winning races until 2016 at best and from then on who knows? McLaren have the same chance as Ferrari from then in my opinion.

      Honda engines were in F1 from 1991 to 2000 with several teams as Mugen taking only 4 wins admittedly not with any big hitters. They then helped to fund BAR which managed one win up to the 2009 season. Obviously the 2009 designed car was a great success but with a Mercedes engine. So I’m not pinning my hopes on a couple of championships won on two wheels or won 25 years ago.

      Whatever transpires, Alonso has one team from here to the end of his career. I hope he makes the right one.

    17. I think Alonso will leave this team.

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