Fernando Alonso in 2009: Where will he go?

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Fernando Alonso in 2009: Where will he go?

So reigning Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen has signed a contract extension with Ferrari, keeping him with the team until 2010. What this means is that any chance of Fernando Alonso joining Ferrari in the next two years has seemingly been wiped out.

The former double world champion has been frustrated since his return to the Renault team, where he won his two world titles in 2005 and 2006.

After spending last year at McLaren, where he missed out on a third consecutive world title by just one point to the aforementioned Raikkonen, Alonso left the team complaining that they were giving his rookie team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, preferential treatment.

He then signed what is believed to be a one-year contract, with the option of a second year if certain performance targets are met, with Renault, under the provision that he had a team-mate whom he could beat regularly.

So the team released Heikki Kovalainen (who replaced Alonso at McLaren for 2008) and promoted Nelson Piquet, son of three-time world champion Nelson Piquet Sr., into a race seat.

But the Spaniard hasn't finished on the podium this year, and this season has been very poor by his high standards, with few bright spots. Rumour has it that he may be searching for a new team for 2009.

The biggest rumour has been that Alonso will join Ferrari in either 2009 or 2010. This has seemingly been put to bed, however, with the news that both Raikkonen and team-mate Felipe Massa are tied to Ferrari for the next two years.

So where will Alonso drive next season? There are lots of teams in the mix, but Alonso must make a choice: Does he demand No. 1 status at a team like Renault or Scuderia Toro Rosso, or agree to work in tandem with a quick driver like Robert Kubica or Jenson Button at BMW Sauber or Honda?

Ferrari

 

Would Alonso like to drive there? Definitely. The Ferrari name is synonymous with motor racing, and they are the reigning constructor's champions. However, he won’t be able to make the switch in 2009 or 2010.

 

Do they have drivers under contract? Yes, both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen will drive for the team in 2009.

 

Chances of Alonso joining in 2009? 0/10

 

 

McLaren

 

Would Alonso like to drive there? No, no, no. After his explosive 2007 with the team, there’s probably nowhere Alonso would like to drive less.

 

Do they have drivers under contract? Yes, both Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen will drive for the team in 2009, not that it matters to Alonso.

 

Chances of Alonso joining in 2009? 0/10

 

 

BMW Sauber

 

Would Alonso like to drive there? Probably. They have been the best team outside the big two of Ferrari and McLaren this season. However, Alonso may not like driving alongside highly rated youngster Robert Kubica, who has been with the team for three years and is established within it.

 

Do they have drivers under contract? Robert Kubica will drive in 2009 but Nick Heidfeld’s contract has not yet been renewed.

 

Chances of Alonso joining in 2009? The only thing stopping Alonso would be the issue of a fast team-mate. He likes to feel that the team is focused on him, something that wouldn’t happen at BMW. But maybe another chance in a good car after a poor 2008 would tempt Alonso. 7/10

 

 

Renault

 

Would Alonso like to stay there? If they could guarantee him a quick car, there would be nowhere Alonso would rather drive. The team loves him, and he loves the fact that the team is built around him.

 

But he would probably have to be convinced that they can challenge for race wins next season. The team has challenged for, and won, world titles with Alonso before, so he knows they can achieve it. It’s just a question of whether they can do it in 2009.

 

Do they have drivers under contract? Neither Alonso nor Nelson Piquet is confirmed at the team for next season.

 

Chances of Alonso staying for 2009? If he feels the team can give him a quick car capable of challenging Ferrari and McLaren, he will likely stay, as the team will undoubtedly bend over backwards to keep hold of him. 8/10

 

 

Toyota

 

Would Alonso like to drive there? Perhaps. Toyota have the largest resources of any F1 team and relentlessly plough millions every year into developing their new car. In seven seasons in F1, they haven’t even won a race yet, but surely it is only a matter of time. But none of that matters, because…

 

Do they have drivers under contract? Yes, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock have re-signed for 2009.

 

Chances of Alonso joining in 2009? 0/10

 

 

Red Bull Racing

 

Would Alonso like to drive there? Yes and no. Yes because the team has been steadily improving over the last few years; no because he wouldn’t be the undisputed No. 1 driver. But none of that matters, because…

 

Do they have drivers under contract? Yes. Rising star Sebastian Vettel and veteran Mark Webber will drive in 2009.

 

Chances of Alonso signing for 2009? 0/10

 

 

Scuderia Toro Rosso

 

Would Alonso like to drive there? About a month ago, no. However, after their victory at Monza with Sebastian Vettel, coupled with strong performances in recent races, Alonso could make a shock switch to the team. However, his reputation could be dented by driving for Red Bull’s B-team. Also, he may not want to sign for a team whose future is unclear, with Red Bull rumoured to be selling the team in the next few years.

 

Do they have drivers under contract? No. Sebastian Vettel is moving to parent team Red Bull, while Sebastien Bourdais has not re-signed yet.

 

Chances of Alonso signing for 2009? Despite their recent success, it is unlikely Alonso would sign with a small team like Toro Rosso. Even though they would probably make him the focal point of the team, the ownership situation would probably put the Spaniard off. 5/10

 

 

Williams

 

Would Alonso like to drive there? Probably not. Williams is a team with a lot of tradition but have been losing ground to the richer, manufacturer-supported teams in recent years. Plus, they have young superstar Nico Rosberg under contract, and he won’t play second fiddle to Alonso.

 

Do they have drivers under contract? Nico Rosberg is, but the team’s other 2008 driver, Kazuki Nakajima, hasn’t re-signed for 2009 yet.

 

Chances of Alonso signing for 2009? Very low, as it’s highly unlikely Alonso would want to sign for the team, and take on Nico Rosberg in equal cars. He could move as a last resort, though. 3/10

 

 

Honda

 

Would Alonso like to drive there? Yes. Honda have very large resources like Toyota, but also like Toyota, they have failed to be as competitive in F1 as they would like. However, with strategic genius Ross Brawn on the team’s staff, progress is likely. If Alonso was to go to Honda, though, he would have to work alongside either Jenson Button or Rubens Barrichello, both quick F1 veterans.

 

Do they have drivers under contract? Neither Button nor Barrichello is certain to stay with the team for 2009.

 

Chances of Alonso signing for 2009? The chances are quite high. Honda would pay Alonso well, and a partnership with Ross Brawn could be lethal. Like Renault, however, they would probably have to prove they can be competitive next year, after two very poor seasons. Alonso may also be put off by facing Button or Barrichello in equal cars. 6/10

 

 

Force India

 

Would Alonso like to drive there? No. Vijay Mallya’s ambitious team is rooted to the back of the grid. Alonso wouldn’t be able to drive anyway, because…

 

Do they have drivers under contract? Both Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil will stay with the team for 2009.

 

Chances of Alonso joining in 2009? 0/10

 

At the moment, it appears most likely that Alonso will take a chance on Renault for a second consecutive year. He would definitely be more interested in BMW Sauber and Honda if they could guarantee that he would be the focal point of the team, something that is not going to happen.

 

Renault will be optimistic of Alonso’s stay, as they are best team on the market who will give him undisputed No. 1 status in the team. But they’ll have to deliver a competitive car, because who’s to say which seats will become available in 2010?

Load More Stories
Formula 1

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.