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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.

SOURCEGPUpdate
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Hi, I have been a Formula 1 fanatic since 1987 when my family took me to the Adelaide GP. I now enjoy close friendships with team members at Ferrari and within the Holden Racing Team (V8Supercars).
  • The question I have about this, Adam, is WHERE? I can imagine Fernando isn’t too keen on plodding around the track in 8th but where would he go? Perhaps, and this is pure guesswork, he could replace Jenson Button at McLaren. Ron said he’d welcome him back. Is that a step forward though?

    • jiji the cat

      it could be a step forward if Honda make one almighty donk.

      • Brings up a good question…think Honda will have a split turbo for 2015? :) Waiting a year has its benefits. :)

        • jiji the cat

          i think they will split the turbo and probably come up with something else on top that as well

    • Indeed, where would Alonso go? He wants a World championship, and the only likely team w/ chances and a possible opening for the next 2 years is Mclaren.

      But, is Mclaren truly an upgrade over Ferrari? Both suffer upper-level insecurity. Mclaren’s a team in transition, new top management structure, new designers. While I personally enjoy Mr. Dennis, and think highly of Mr. Boullier, it’s an unknown how the two will affect what I feel has been a stagnant and reactionary operation. Ferrari’s Domenicali is facing intense criticism and rumors abound he’s not long for the Principle world, and no one knows who James Allen will hire/retain/fire, whether he’s the ultimate authority in the design room, what direction Ferrari will take w/ Mr. Allen’s first Scuderia car.

      Mclaren, technically, is a hit-and-miss team, chasing novel performance ideas, often to the detriment of development evolution. They scrap car trends and start anew with alarcrity, and while that can bring ringers such as the the MP4/22, it also brings about duds like the -18/-19/-28 and IMO this year’s car. Whilst as a tech nerd I applaud the novelty, I believe history shows evolution of a fundamentally sound package produces consistent excellence, as 22/27.

      Todd rightly points out there’re benefits to watching what others do before participating, so Honda might have learned through observation. However, Mclaren will once again be forced to scrap its current car for a completely new one; it’s not plug and play engines, as many of us think. What will come out of Woking’s factory in 2015, and willl Alonso be willing to play Guinea Pig whilst the bugs are worked out?

      It’s a coin toss to me. Alonso deal w/ Dennis and platform uncertainty, or suffering another under-performing year because Mr. Allen and Co were unable to change a stale Ferrari culture.

      JiJi brings an interesting option; would Alonso risk a Williams move? They’ve had a horrible decade-plus, but have brought along a focused iron-fist in Symonds (love the “split strategies assures one side of the garage gets it wrong”), brightening sponsorship prospects, a relatively stable parent company for the race team. I’d call it unlikely, but a very desirable Joker from a fan’s view.

  • Tom Firth

    Other than Mclaren, I can’t think of where else is worth jumping too, I think the other alternative is he becomes too disillusioned and walks away all together. I don’t think that’s too far out the bounds of possibility right now either in the next 2-3 years.

    • jiji the cat

      Well, the way they are moving forward you would have to keep an eye on Williams. There really is no other option for him other than Mclaren. I guess he could always wait to see where Vettel goes and jump into his seat, but i can’t remember when Seb’s contract is up, i think not till end of 15.

  • dude

    Ron will not allow Alonso back, so don’t even consider McLaren. The only way it’s possible is if Alonso bring a $100million sponsor package with him, then it may be possible. But even then, they have a new star, they aren’t going to let the situations in 2007 repeat.

  • Rapierman

    The past two years that I have observed have been disappointing for Alonso. I think it’s safe to say that he assumed that he would be Champion, both years. This year is also disappointing. Now, while it’s true that, in life, nothing is given to you except that which you earn, you also have to realize that, just as you’re working hard and doing everything you’re supposed to do, everything else also have to fall in place, and those that you work with are also supposed to do what’s required of them. Of late, Ferrari hasn’t performed as well as it should, but I imagine that they’re all trying to do their best. However, their best hasn’t been good enough, and Alonso can only do so much. Ergo, I imagine that he’s wondering if he should switch over to a team that he thinks he can win with.

    Thing is, other people often speculate about what Alonso will do, as they are wont to do with any driver: Does he stay with a team that he believes is not up to snuff, or will he jump ship and go with a team that he believes will help him win? It’s a big unknown, and we like to speculate….but so will he. All we can do is wait and watch.

    The added factor is the arrival of Kimi Raikkonen. We haven’t seen any animosity that was readily visible, so it may mean nothing; yet we know that those are two alpha males, and that usually ends in tears. Again, it may mean nothing….but one never knows for sure.

  • dude

    Jenson have connection with Honda and popular with the Japanese crowd, so he probably could squeeze in another season, and Honda have experience in this area, they aren’t going to come out with a crap power unit.

    • jiji the cat

      Honda or no Honda, Button won’t be their next year. Ron simply does not rate him.

      I would say you would be more likely to see Magnussen / Japanese driver pairing. (hopefully Kamui. )
      Or Magnussen / Higher caliber dirver.

  • I recommend you get a dictionary and look up the difference between “loose” and “lose”

    • jiji the cat

      i think “loose”is quite fitting.

      Can Ferrari “loose” Feranndo ? Well the answer is no, they can’t loose him cause their cars are crap.

      Can Ferrari “lose” Feranado ? Well yes, cause their cars are crap.

    • Thank you toooooo many ooooo’s

  • Forgot mentioning the Prodromou and (potential) Fallows moves; both are purportedly highly regarded. Since Mclaren already has to blank-sheet the 2015 car, perhaps the fresh blood can change Mclaren’s current “darts at a board” approach. Another thing for poor Alonso to consider.

  • Yes, I agree that Alonso’s only option would be McLaren. Despite their recent problems, they seem to be in a good position going ahead, though a lot will hinge on the Honda engine. I do however expect it to be competitive. They have had a long time to build it and no testing restrictions whatsoever, plus they basically have the Mercedes engine in front of them to reverse engineer.

    Given McLaren’s recent poaching spree, they seem to be good going ahead. On the other hand, it has taken Mercedes 2-3 years after recruiting all those technical directors until they built a car that could beat Red Bull. That might just be enough for Alonso before he ends his career.

    Other than that, Ferrari seems to be in a bad place currently, but I would consider their chances to be only slightly smaller than McLaren’s. So sticking around might not be the worst decision either. Their current car looks good, probably better than the McLaren. If they can get the engine up to speed by next year, who’s to say they won’t have a shot?

    Mercedes certainly won’t sign Alonso, unless there’s a major fallout between Hamilton and the team which I don’t see happening. Red Bull could possibly swap Vettel for Alonso, but then why would Vettel want to do so, plus Red Bull have a history of promoting their own junior drivers, so even with Vettel leaving, I’d expect Kvyat in his seat before Alonso.

    And that’s pretty much it. Sure, if Lotus gets their finances in order, they might hit it out of the park, but that’s an off chance I wouldn’t bet on and while Williams and Force India seem to be ascending, they still have a long way to go in order to be genuine contenders.

    So yeah, it’s really McLaren or Ferrari for Alonso. Tough choice. I’d say he has a slightly better chance to win a third title with McLaren, but either way there are very large unknowns.