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Will Ferrari Receive A Six-Tenth Advantage In 2009?

Will Ferrari Receive A Six-Tenth Advantage In 2009?

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.

Oliver White

2 comments

  • I’m a bit wary of translated quotes as they don’t always tell the whole story – it’s a lot easier to bend the truth when the truth is in a different language!

    But he would appear to be simply stating facts – he can leave Renault if they are underperforming, which they currently are, and he would like to be in the best car, which the Ferrari seems to be at the moment (they won Malaysia at a canter, having apparently turned down the engines to give them a breather).

    There will be ups and downs between Ferrari and McLaren being the best here and there but as you say, I very much doubt he will be back in a silver car!

    With Kimi at Ferrari already I’m not sure Alonso would fit there either so 2009 may see a more serious approach to BMW or Red Bull instead.

    Unless Kimi wins this year, decides he’s had enough and retires!

  • BMW also think they have a claim on Vettel so it is hard to see him moving anywhere.

    I just can’t see Fernando and Kimi as a pairing. Kimi is probably faster but Fernando the more complete driver. I guess the big question is Alonso mature enough emotionally to cope with his team mate being regularly faster than him. There is no doubt Alonso will be as good as Raikkonen in the races but Kimi is devastatingly quick over one lap.

    It seems an odd choice to go to Ferrari just as the management structure that delivered all the success has disappeared. It seems to me he would be better off being number one at Renault and trying to drag them forward. Of course Piquet may scupper that plan.

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