You feel for Fernando Alonso. Perhaps the most complete driver in F1 his attempts to add to his world titles have been wrecked by mediocre cars and poor decision-making at Ferrari. To add insult to injury, by the end of 2014 Alonso’s nemesis from his McLaren days – Lewis Hamilton – is likely to have joined him as a double-world champion. So what now?
Alonso’s contract runs until 2016, leaving two seasons to get Ferrari on track. There are glimmers of hope: new management want to free designers to be ‘radical’; a comprehensive restructure is under way and the 2014 car is slowly progressing. But in F1 such changes rarely work within a season or two.
Rumours abound that McLaren want Alonso back. With hybrid-power experts Honda on board, ‘golden boy’ Hamilton gone and Ron Dennis back calling the shots, McLaren looks like a good option. But who knows how long it might take Honda to get on top and is swapping one team going ‘back to the drawing board’ for another a better option?
Some intriguing ‘long shots’ potentially exist elsewhere. Despite Rosberg and Hamilton committing to Mercedes, this year’s title fight could rip that partnership apart in a Senna/Prost fashion. And could the veiled barbs aimed at Sebastien Vettel about the value of his 4 titles – some from Alonso himself – encourage the German to move to prove his status as an F1 legend? After all, as Alonso has proven, few F1 drivers can resist the lure of Ferrari.