Double World Champion, Fernando Alonso is set to quit for Ferrari after five long years with the team. With two more years left to his contract with the Maranello based outfit, this move will mark the teams fourth big exit after Luca di Montezomolo stepped down as Chairman after 20 years, engine designer Luca Maromorini, and Team Principal Stefano Domenicalli.
Montezomolo got replaced by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchianne, and Maromorini had overseen all the design and development of the power units at Maranello which were underwhelming in the last few seasons. Maromorini’s exit was a result of the arrival of Marco Mattiaci who joined as the new Team Principal as a process of restructuring Ferrari back to its winning ways.
While Scuderia are yet to let out official word on Alonso’s departure, buzz in the paddocks has sent the rumor mill ablaze with all kinds of contemplations for the Spaniards next big move, some say to RedBull while most speculate to McLaren. Team Principal Eric Boullier in an interview to SkySports F1 did admit that they would be interested in signing the Spaniard after his failure to win a championship in five years with the prancing horse.
A contemplation of Alonso’s exit has been Sebastian Vettel’s announcement to quit Red Bull racing team by the end of the year. Vettel’s anticipated move to Ferrari was later confirmed by Christian Horner, which means the four-time World Champion will be teaming up with Ferrari’s last champion Kimi Raikkonen for the next season.
A move to RedBull is unlikely for the Spaniard as the Milton Keynes based team has confirmed Daniil Kyvatt as Vettels replacement. Therefore it is anticipated that a switch to McLaren next year, the team remains his only realistic prospect. The Woking based team will be powered with Honda engines next season marking Honda’s return to Formula 1 since 2008. The Honda McLaren combine won four constructors’ and drivers’ titles between 1988-1992 (including Ayrton Senna’s 3 titles), one can expect Alonso to get a suitable car and environment to chase his third title there and become McLaren’s trump card.
In the last few years with Ferrari, Alonso has proved it time and again that he could outperform his car, despite the teams’ failure to build a championship challenger to compliment his skill. His stellar performance and thirst for the championship was evident in his class of driving in 2012 where he took the championship down to the wire and lost it by three points to Vettel. However a terrible car in the last two seasons has deteriorated his relationship with the team, as it has been a frustrating struggle for him to finish in the points in almost every race and interestingly is yet to bag his first podium in a V6 this season.
With 2014 being an experimental season with the arrival of the V6 engines, the next season will definitely witness teams with better cars after the technical data they will get to work with from the results of this season. Until we get official confirmations, F1 pundits are speculating the drivers market and anticipating many big moves towards the end of the season.
As Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg lock horns to battle out the title in the next few races of the season, Vettel and Kyvatt’s moves will have consequences to further shuffling in the paddocks to determine who goes where next season.