Rumours have kicked into overdrive today following the revelation that Flavio Briatore suggested on Italian radio that the team will have a new driver line up for next season. Briatore said there would be “different drivers” and also that Fernando Alonso could be confirmed within the next 48 hours. Saying that there was a 60% chance the Spaniard would be with the Anglo-French squad, and with the suggestion of new drivers means that Nelson Piquet Jr looks set for the second seat.
When you marry, split up and get back together it is not easy. We and he have the intention of finding a solution. This week will be decisive for the marriage. He can choose and he knows us. Flavio Briatore.
The spy case involving Renault could be what is stopping Alonso from confirming his return to the team, but his options are running out. Toyota finally announced Timo Glock earlier today, and while the Japanese team have said that Jarno Trulli’s contract is not set in stone, it is unlikely the Spaniard would move to Cologne. Honda must appear a little more tempting given that they have just acquired Ross Brawn, and the team are still yet to announce Rubens Barrichello. Jenson Button has also given the squad an ultimatum – improve or I’m out. So Button will give the team another season, but Barrichello’s seat is potentially still available. Williams are sewn up, Ferrari are set and the only remaining team that could be rich enough to afford Alonso is Red Bull. However, time is running out and the double champion hasn’t driven a Formula One car since the Brazilian Grand Prix last October.
The telling words from Flavio Briatore also suggests that Heikki is out of the team, despite the Finn improving towards the end of 2007. Does this mean Kovalainen is McLaren bound? It would make sense. Ron Dennis doesn’t want another year of driver separation, and I think Lewis would get along better with Heikki. Also clearing his desk (actually rumoured to have already happened) is Giancarlo Fisichella. The experienced Italian is likely to leave the team should Alonso be signed up and the options for the race winner are limited. Giancarlo is another driver who was ominously missing at the recent Barcelona test and few teams seem interested in his services.