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2008 Driver Lineup: Why Are Renault Hesitating?

2008 Driver Lineup: Why Are Renault Hesitating?

Renault - 2007 Italian Grand PrixStrange, don’t you think, that the Renault F1 team are yet to announce their 2008 driver lineup? I mean, they reportedly have their rookie Heikki Kovalainen under contract, but Giancarlo Fisichella is still waiting on the renewel of his. And while Fisichella has been putting in some good performances in the lacklustre R27 this season, we all know that Fernando Alonso trounced him for two years at the hands of the sister car. So if Renault are still negotiating with Fisichella, why doesn’t the Italian seem more positive about his future? Or if a deal has already been struck with Nelson Piquet Jr, why isn’t Fisichella putting himself out there on the market?

Could it be that Renault are waiting to hear the outcome of the extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council next Thursday? A meeting that will decide the fate of McLaren, its staff and Nigel Stepney. One threat of action could see McLaren removed from the 2007 constructors title, and possibly even more damaging, a ban from competing in the 2008 campaign.

Should the verdict be changed and McLaren are prohibited to run next year, what will happen to Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton? I imagine the latter will be retained (at all costs to Ron Dennis) and put into a testing role for a comeback in 2009. But the team has less control over their Spanish world champion, and Fernando has been hinting a fair bit recently about his unhappiness at the Woking-based squad. He has apparently had talks with Flavio Briatore and the press have been going mad with anticipation regarding next year. Fernando Alonso - 2007 Australian Grand PrixAlonso does have a contract with McLaren, but now Lewis has proved himself, I don’t think Dennis will be quite so worried about losing Alonso.

Is it crazy to think that, if McLaren are excluded from 2008, Alonso will jump ships again? He clearly likes the competition, but also has a very laidback approach, claiming he doesn’t want a long career like Schumacher Snr’s. I’m sure Renault would front the salary if needed, and Alonso’s loyalty to McLaren isn’t as strong as his loyalty to Flavio.

I think the next few weeks are going to be even more interesting than I first thought.

Formula One, F1, Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Renault

Oliver White

5 comments

  • The Alonso factor is the only explanation I can think of – if it was simply a choice between Piquet Jnr and Fisi then I think it would be a done deal by now.

    Unless they are both signed, but Flavio has yet to decide who tests and who races…

  • Sorry, that wasn’t very clear!

    What I meant was that if Flavio was simply just going to choose between those two then he would have made his choice public by now (either way) – the supposed chance of Alonso becoming available is what is delaying things I think.

    I’m sure Flavio had it in his head before the season that Piquet Jnr would replace Fisi in ’08, unless Giancarlo came up with something spectacular this year – and although he has driven reasonably well I don’t think he has set the world alight.

    Therefore I think Flavio would be plumping for Piquet Jnr if it wasn’t for the Alonso thing…

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