The Formula One rumour mill went into overdrive yesterday after it emerged that a secret meeting between Fernando Alonso’s agent and Christian Horner took place in Hungary over a possible Red Bull drive alongside Sebastian Vettel for 2014.
Whilst Horner did not deny that contact had been made, Ferrari rushed out a statement on its official website in reaction to alleged comments Alonso had made regarding the team. Although the context of these comments remain unclear, it is thought that when asked after the race what he wanted for his 32nd birthday present Alonso replied ‘someone else’s car’.
There is a need to close ranks, without giving in to rash outbursts that, while understandable in the immediate aftermath of a bad result, are no use to anyone. That was a reference to the latest comments from Fernando Alonso, which did not go down well with Montezemolo, nor with anyone in the team.
Alonso finished fifth in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix but is having to wring the neck out of his Ferrari in order to stay in the championship hunt, fuelling speculation that he is looking for a way out. But Alonso denied he knew his manager had talked to Red Bull.
“I am concentrating on the championship,” Alonso told BBC Sport. “These are the rumours in August and it’s a good time for rumours because there are four weeks with not a Formula One race.”
What is certain is that Red Bull is close to announcing who will partner Vettel in 2014. And if it's not Alonso then the choice seems to be between Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo of sister team Toro Rosso.
And it was Vettel who perhaps gave the biggest hint who the favourite might be.
"I'd prefer Kimi. I have to be careful now, nothing against Fernando. I really respect him a lot as a driver. I respect Kimi on track and off track because he has always been really straight with me. From that point of view, it might be a bit easier."
It was also announced yesterday that former Lotus technical director James Allison would be joining Ferrari as chassis technical director on September 1. Allison is widely regarded as one of the brightest technical brains in the business and previously worked with Alonso during his time at Renault.
Hulkenberg to leave Sauber?
Another rumour doing the rounds is that Nico Hulkenberg may leave Sauber in the wake of continued financial uncertainty surrounding the team.
But the German was quick to play down such Twitter tittle tattle.
“It’s rubbish! When I read it, it made me laugh, made me smile. I read it on my Twitter page where people can write to me. A bunch of people were having a discussion and I was thinking ''Where has that come from?'''
Caterham Garde their line-up
Also supposedly under threat for his race seat is Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde after rumours circulated in Hungary that Heikki Kovalainen may step back into the seat.
But team boss Cyril Abiteboul reiterated during Friday’s FIA driver press conference that there are no plans to change the current line-up.
"I think the situation is quite straightforward. Apart from the fact that we have young drivers in the seats and a reserve driver who is more experienced, I think our structure is quite clear. Having said that, it's true that the two drivers we have are two young drivers, one has a bit more experience than the other. One has some challenges with tyres, obviously Giedo, and we have to see how the changes to the tyres this weekend are affecting him but also how the upgrades to the car are affecting his challenge.”