I think we can call it. June 21, Silly Season officially is in full swing. Just one day behind summer here in the Northern Hemisphere.
On tap today, heading into the
Alonso GP European Grand Prix in Valencia, is talk and talk and talk about who might eventually sit next to Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.
We’ve got this stuff both from the official Ferrari site and from news reports at the circuit.
Let’s go with the news reports, first. According to the BBC:
“Fernando Alonso says he would have “no problem” with either Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel as a future team-mate at Ferrari.
“Hamilton is out of contract at McLaren this year and Red Bull’s Vettel is known to have a non-binding pre-contract with Ferrari for 2014.
“Alonso admitted that Ferrari would consult him on the identity of his team-mate. “It’s an open chat, we talk, but in the end it’s their decision,” he said.”
The BBC goes on to suggest that in off the record comments, someone said that Alonso had vetoed Hamilton’s joining Ferrari. The truth? Who knows. But perhaps we can read into what Ferrari included in its official Alonso preview for the race:
“”The rumours are always the same at Ferrari,” responded Fernando with a smile. “After I won the title in ’05 with Renault, people were already saying I was going to Ferrari and it took me five years to do so, as I arrived in 2010. So maybe Sebastian will come in five years time. But I am not concerned about it. At Ferrari the key is for two drivers to make one car quick. That is always their way and Luca di Montezemolo made it clear to me on my first day with the team.””
That’s right, zero mention of Hamilton. That, combined with the off-the-record comments, seems to begin adding up to a case of the Alonso clause.
So, perhaps Vettel to Ferrari? The big question is: Why would he? I’ll grant you that Ferrari seems more in the mix this year, but is that just because the mix is more mixed up? Vettel’s contract does have an out clause after 2013, if Red Bull fails to meet some performance measures. (I wonder if it will fail, though. Seems a stretch.)
And how about Lewis Hamilton’s future? Could he really jump to Red Bull or, gasp, Mercedes?
Well, I’ll leave you with these comments from Alonso, via the BBC (and I’m sure other outlets):
“(I’m) extremely happy with Felipe (Massa). Whatever team-mate comes in the future will be welcome, will be part of the team and part of Ferrari and, as I said, when I joined this team the most important thing in Ferrari is to help each other to make one red car win.
“It’s something that president (Luca) Di Montezemolo is very clear on when you arrive on day one in Ferrari. So, whatever team-mate is coming in the future, if it comes, will be no problem and we will try to work as we are doing now with Felipe.”
“Yeah. I do,” Alonso said. “I have a lot of respect for Felipe.
“From the outside it’s difficult to appreciate what a challenging time he’s given to me in the last three years. He’s not bad, even if from the outside he looks (it).”
“He’s not bad.” Ouch?