Reflections on the Alonso saga

November 3, 2007 at 7:21 am Leave a comment

Time often breeds clarity and the morning after the night before a smidgen of the fug surrounding Alonso’s departure has lifted.

The popular view is that Renault remains the most likely destination for the Spaniard, who is expected to sign a long term contract with the Enstone based outfit where he will assume clear number one status within the team. The gambling markets confirm this as Alonso is 8-11 on to rejoin Briatore, with Red Bull and Williams at 3-1, and Toyota 8-1.

Who are the winners and losers from the divorce:

Winners

  • Lewis: Lewis Hamilton emerged as the biggest winner as he has firmly established himself as clear number one in the team. Ron Dennis’ utterances on driver equality will ring hollow in 2008 given that Hamilton regards the team as family and Alonso’s replacement will almost certainly be inferior to Lewis and will have to learn the car from scratch
  • The team: McLaren should be in far better shape to compete in 2008 without Alonso. He ripped apart the team this year and Ron Dennis and co will be far better off without their temperamental Latin superstar
  • Rosberg/Kovalainen: One lucky driver, probably one of these two, will jump from laggard to leader by taking the  vacant seat in McLaren. The bookies have Kovalainen as slight favourites: it makes sense if Alonso jumps to Renault and the phlegmatic nature of the Finn will suit Ron Dennis

Losers

  • Alonso: At the minute Fernando Alonso is the big loser. He’ll move from one of the most competitive teams and his chances of winning a third world title in 2008 are slim to none.
  • Ron Dennis and McLaren:  Although Ron had to let Alonso go it isn’t difficult to construe a couple of scenarios where McLaren ends up with egg on their collective face especially if Alonso can snare a couple of victories in a relatively uncompetitive car next year. And imagine if he turns out for Ferrari in 2009 and wins another hat full of titles. Who’ll be the village idiot then?
  • Nelson Piquet Jr: An odd one this but if Alonso does turn out for Renault do you think he’ll want a highly rated rookie snapping at his heels? No. Given the rumptions in 2007 expect Alonso to pay close attention to his 2008 team mate and that may spell curtains for Piquet’s 2008 F1 ambitions.
  • Ferrari: Without the distractions of two number one drivers McLaren will now put all their efforts behind home-boy Lewis Hamilton. If Ferrari continue to follow a policy of equality it could spell doom for their 2008 championship homes
  • McLaren’s sponsors: The reason why Vodafone and Banco Santander backed McLaren was Alonso. Vodafone won’t be too fussed as the emergence of Hamilton will pay dividends in their home market but Santander will be peeved at the general hatred to McLaren among the Spanish populous. That’s one reason why Rosberg is a better fit than Kovalainen: his marketing potential is greater.
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Entry filed under: Alonso, Drivers, McLaren.

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