Fernando Alonso let a rather large cat out of his bag earlier today when he spoke about his contract with Renault and the competitiveness of Ferrari, as well as the mistakes made by current Scuderia pilot Felipe Massa. Speaking to the Spanish media, Alonso let slip that he has a clause in his current contract that allows him to leave, although it is unknown how this might come into effect if needed. Likely it is based on the performance of the car, which currently isn’t doing too well.
It’s early to talk about moves and rumours, but Massa has had two bad races with mistakes and that has kicked off speculation. It’s logical, but as I said, it’s too early.
I always try to be in the best car. I’m at Renault now because I wanted to go back to winning, like in 2005 and 2006. If not this year, then next year. But I have an option to leave so I can still be in the best possible car, and it is clear that Ferrari’s is one of the best. Fernando Alonso.
While speaking to Spanish sports newspaper Diario AS, Alonso is also quoted as feeling frustrated by the lack of pace the R28 has, claiming it lacks the top speed of their rivals, thus making overtaking very difficult.
I feel a bit of frustration knowing that, more or less, I will be unable to do much else in Bahrain [than in Malaysia]. I think we have to get used to this. In Barcelona we will have some improvements in the car, but so will all the other teams, so the championship is basically going to keep its tone. Fernando Alonso.
All this combined leads to the speculation that Alonso is Ferrari-bound in 2009. It is interesting that there was no mention of McLaren in any of the quotes I have read. I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert, but from what I can see I would have to suggest that the MP4-23 is the best all-round car. It can clearly win races and is reliable. Of course, Alonso returning to McLaren is about as likely as Max Mosley returning qualifying to 60 minutes/12 laps, but I think the fact he singled out Ferrari in his interview suggests a lot.
There is also another rumour about Sebastian Vettel swapping his Ferrari-powered STR for a Ferrari-powered Ferrari. However, while I think the combination of Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel would be pretty impressive, I’m afraid to say that Red Bull now own the young German, and I doubt they will easily let him go.