World champion Kimi Raikkonen has extended his contract with Ferrari until the end of 2010, meaning that unless something extraordinary happens, Fernando Alonso will not be able to drive for the Scuderia for another two years at least. Felipe Massa signed a long-term contract last year that also sees himself with Ferrari until the closing of 2010. Therefore, Ferrari’s driver line-up will remain unchanged, despite all the rumours that have persisted during 2008.
Fernando Alonso has not hidden his desire to race for the Maranello team, and recently said that if Ferrari wanted to hire him, they would. However, it seems that the Italian team is still happy with their current pairing and Kimi Raikkonen has had his contract extended by a year. Although the reigning world champion doesn’t necessarily have to see out his deal (I’m sure Kimi could buy himself out), the fact he has signed on for another year strongly suggests that he wants another title or two and has reaffirmed his faith in the Italian team.
Where this leaves Alonso is anyone’s guess. The Spaniard has made it known that while he has a great deal of respect for Renault, the car simply isn’t a winner. Alonso had been rumoured to be flirting with Honda, and the pairing of Fernando with Ross Brawn would be something special. But currently, Honda are seriously struggling to even stay ahead of Force India. Although the Brackley squad are concentrating on 2009, they don’t exactly look all that appealing at the moment.
Another rumour which surfaced after the Belgian Grand Prix last week was a possible move to BMW. The Swiss-German team must appeal more to Alonso, having won a race this year and looking a little like Renault when Alonso took his maiden victory back in 2003. However, Mario Theissen is loyal to his drivers and both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica have given the old Sauber squad a lot of help and some good results. Heidfeld though is having a relatively poor season and Kubica has once again spoken out against the team.
Other than staying with Renault, Alonso’s options are thinning out. I would love to see Fernando drive for Williams, but I fear they cannot afford him and already-signed Nico Rosberg. Force India are likely to not be on Alonso’s radar, Red Bull are sewn up with Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel, as are Toyota with Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock. Currently, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Williams, Renault, BMW or Honda are Alonso’s choices.
So in short… Fernando will be staying at Renault.
Yes yes! Alonso will not drive for Ferrari! Excellent.
Now seriously, If I were a principal, I won’t be wanting Alonso and his big mouth and low manners, even if he’s twice a champion.
… but you are not a principal indeed 😉
Ferrari might be playing a very smart card.. May be I’m a bit weird but it is a very good move to force Mc Laren to stay with what they’ve got too 😉
Let’s face it: Look at the points McLaren is behind their last year’s total and they will never reach it this year: 119 + a max of 90 = 209 compared to 109(FA) + 109(LH) = 218… and I put all my money on the fact they will never get even close to 209. Heikki has scored half the points Fernando scored last year (43/85).
So Ferrari keeping their drivers is blocking FA and Mclaren, not bad… for them 😉
On top of that they might have bought the support of Kimi in case Felipe will be in a position to be WC…
Maybe. I don’t think he’s happy though. Alonso wants to be in a winning or very close to winning car. Maybe Renault will be there next year, but then again, maybe not.
Not an Alonso fan, then. 😉
But McLaren announced a while back they were sticking with Heikki and Lewis. I don’t think Ferrari have forced any issue at the moment at least, but I do like your strategic thinking! 🙂
If Alonso signed with BMW unitl the end of 2010 and Raikkonen and Massa are also now both under contract until the end of 2010, would Ferrari get rid of Massa and keep Raikkonen and then bring Alonso on board for 2011. Raikkonen and Alonso team at Ferrari that would be interesting.
I think people are way too optimistic thinking that Ross Brawn is going to turn Honda round. I have read in many places that Brawn and Alonso would be like Schumacher and Brawn at Benetton or Ferrari. However there were others such as Rory Byrne, Nigel Stepney (Pat Symonds at Benetton) who contributed to the success and there is no sign Honda have a similar pool of talent.
Brawn had Jean Todt between himself and the Ferrari politics and much as Todt annoys me he is a very able politician. At Honda Nick Fry is in a similar position and a political battle between Fry and Todt would be stopped as a mismatch after 3 seconds.
I am surprised that Brawn has not signed up a few heavyweights to help him turn the team around because on his own or even with Alonso he has a massive uphill task on his hands.
I wonder what all the people who thought Kimi’s problem was simply motivation think now. I am looking forward to seeing some of them discuss it.
I´m not a Alonso fan, but who will stop Lewis now?
I’ll get writing then. 😀
This year? Raikkonen. It’s unlikely Kimi will lift the crown, but that doesn’t mean he can’t stop Hamilton. 😉
Next year? Raikkonen. I just can’t rule him out. But 2009 depends largely on how the cars turn out, especially with the upheavel in the rules regarding aerodynamics etc…
It would be very interesting if Ferrari continued to let Kimi and Massa continue to battle it out for the championship.
While their sharing points, Hamilton could consistently win points and win the championship. So in order to for Ferrari to win the championship they must support either Massa or Kimi and at the moment, it would have to be Massa.
Ooh, this reminds me of a quote from earlier in the day when Kimi was talking about “never intending to retire” etc…
So either Kimi is saying ‘we the team’ are still not out, ignoring Massa’s title attempts. Or he is saying ‘we, Felipe and myself’ are not out yet. Either way, it’s an interesting choice of language.
IMHO there is only one good strategy for Ferrari, almost the same as last year by the end of the championship:
Target 1: reduce the points that Lewis can get:
1) Any Ferrari should try to be in front of Lewis, the 2 of them when possible
Target 2: Close the gap/ increase the lead.
2) If the 2 Ferrari are running in consecutive order (nobody between them) then the closest to Hamilton in terms of points (or the one the most in front of him, if/when this happen later in the season) should be given priority.
In all other cases the Ferrari drivers do their race freely.
The advantage of this strategy is that you don’t have really to name a leader it will appear when one of the 2 drivers is in front of Lewis.
Not so. Look at the races still to come. China, Japan and Brazil have a history of wet races. Singapore’s race is during its rainy season and Monza looks like being wet. Are you really going to put all your eggs in Massa’s basket with 5 potentially wet races to go. I wouldn’t.
[…] last week it was announced that Kimi Raikkonen would be staying at Ferrari through 2010, which news put paid to the end of Fernando Alonso’s dream of moving to Italy at the end of […]