Alonso and Ferrari: The Silly Season Gets Interesting

AnthonyCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2008

There have been several interesting developments over the past few days concerning Alonso, Ferrari, Santander, and Flavio.

Flavio announced that he will be step back at Renault so that he can direct his attention to focus on technical needs at Renault. 

GP Update quoted Flavio Briatore:

"I will take one step back next year," Briatore told Italian news paper Gazzetta dello Sport. "We will hire a new director who will be in charge of the day to day management. Instead I will start busying myself with only the highly important matters within our team."

Flavio is also Alonso's agent and could be giving himself some room to manuever.

Santander wants Alonso in a Ferrari, according to unnamed source in the Daily Star.

But according to sources in Spain, Spanish bankers Santander, who jumped on the McLaren bandwagon with Alonso in 2007, are set to sponsor Ferrari.

And they are anxious to resume their links with Alonso (right)—provided he joins the team. But they have little or no interest in Raikkonen. And their promise of massive cash backing could force the Finnish driver out.

Typically Spanish also had a similar story:

Reports in the Spanish sports paper Marca indicate that the bank is prepared to pay the costs of a contract clause so that Kimi Raikkonen can leave Ferrari before the end of his contract. The paper says that under the plan Alonso will drive for Ferrari in 2011, or even a year earlier if a deal can be done with Raikkonen.

If Alonso does end up at Scuderia Ferrari, I could honestly see Massa having to moving on. Especially if Ferrari fail to give him this year's WDC. What would be more perfect for Ferrari than a clear No. 1 driver and fresh sponsorship funds from Santander.

I am sure Santander could care less whether or not Massa is there or not, and Ferrari only seems to be interested in winning the championship for Massa to save face, given their glaring lack of leadership.

The question is: Where would Massa and Kimi end up?

I can see neither at Renault. Kimi, if bought out, could easily retire and pick up a lucrative rally drive in the WRC. So that leaves Massa and his tenuous position at Scuderia Ferrari.

Ferrari, at this point, are not able to carry a two-horse stable. Mistakes at every level have cost them dearly. If Massa does stay and Alonso comes in, it would be McLaren part deux. No one wants that, especially Alonso. If Massa does get pushed out the door, the only possibility for him would be Renault.

Bruno Senna, I have a feeling, has got the Toro Rosso ride, but Massa might be a fantastic fit there. He would definitely have the sympathy of Berger. I think that possibility comes down to sponsorship funds and who would bring the most in the door.

Senna has his uncle's name, which is a franchise in itself. Also keep in mind the Gerhard has a close personal relationship with the Senna family.

Everyone is pretty much on board that Alonso is the man to have at the wheel, so perhaps his indecisiveness is because the real decision rest with Raikkonen. Regardless, I cannot see Ferrari going through another year of turmoil.

If all of this played out, it would be an absolute win-win scenario for Ferrari. The only person I can see hurt is Felipe, and we all know how cruel F1 can be.