In an exclusive interview with GPupdate, Mario Andretti has stressed his concerns over the form of the current Ferrari and the gap the team has to make up to Mercedes.
“Ferrari cannot be fighting for the final point. It’s not good for Ferrari and it’s not good for Formula 1,” Andretti, who claimed his world title with Lotus in 1978.
“For some reason or another Ferrari needs to be in the battle. Mercedes is an iconic brand, no question, but when it comes to motor racing and Formula 1 especially Ferrari is the yardstick somewhat. They need to be up front. But they know it. You can tell that everyone is frustrated, beginning with Luca di Montezemolo. I think the drivers are using every bit of restraint not to express themselves. You can’t really criticise, as we all know…
“They have a job ahead of them. I think the whole package needs help. You could see in Bahrain that Force India, Red Bull and Williams are all definitely ahead of them. I don’t know how quickly they can recover, but there’s a lot of work for them to do. From that standpoint, I hope that they can pull something out of the hat.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised, quite honestly,” Andretti went on to explain. “He’s still at the top of his game and he cannot afford to lose too many seasons. So I’m sure if the proper opportunity comes up he’ll consider it.
“When Lewis [Hamilton] made the decision to go to Mercedes, lots of people were saying, ‘What the hell is he thinking?’ But look at what has happened. You never know what the next opportunity could be at the very top. And once [Alonso] becomes free of the contract [with Ferrari] I’m sure he’ll get plenty of calls to consider.”
Alonso’s current contract with Ferrari is due to expire at the end of 2016.