Rumours abound about Alonso's final destination
6 November 2007, MADRID - While the 2007 season may be over, the Formula 1 rumor mill continues at top speed, after the McLaren team and double world champion Fernando Alonso agreed to prematurely terminate the Spanish driver's contract on Friday.
6 November 2007
MADRID - While the 2007 season may be over, the Formula 1 rumor mill continues at top speed, after the McLaren team and double world champion Fernando Alonso agreed to prematurely terminate the Spanish driver's contract on Friday.
Renault's Heikki Kovalainen and Williams' Nico Rosberg are the favorites to become his replacement, although there have even been suggestions that seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher may come out of retirement to fill the gap.
The sour relationship between McLaren team boss Ron Dennis and Fernando Alonso was the main catalyst for the departure of the driver from the British team, with the Spaniard unhappy that he was not treated as number one. His teammate, Lewis Hamilton, made a phenomenal start to his Formula 1 career this year, narrowly missing out on winning the championship and settling for second instead. Alonso came in third, while Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen took the title.
According to Germany's Bild newspaper, Michael Schumacher is considering leaving his position as a consultant for the Ferrari team to take the drive at McLaren. However, his spokesman said yesterday that such a move was out of the question. "Michael is under contract at Ferrari. He's happy and so logically will be staying there."
More likely is Nico Rosberg, the son of ex-McLaren driver Keke. However, the 22-year-old is currently under contract at the Williams team, which has made it clear that it is unwilling to release him.
McLaren, however, is in no rush. "Until the second McLaren drive is sorted out I don't think you'll see much movement [in the driver market], so we're not really hurried," chief executive Martin Whitmarsh has told the pres.
The even bigger question that is obsessing fans and the Formula 1 fraternity alike, however, is just where Alonso himself will end up. The 26-year-old has no option to go to McLaren's main rival Ferrari, after the Italian team signed its two drivers up for another year in the cockpit. More likely is that the Spaniard will return to Renault, where he won his two world championships in 2005 and 2006. Team boss Flavio Briatore has made no secret of the fact he would welcome Alonso back with open arms, and if McLaren are looking to sign Kovalainen, a straight swap could be on the cards.
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ SIMON HUNTER 2007]
Subject: Spanish news