Formula 1: Against The Odds

Adiós Alonso

with one comment

The Spanish press is full of speculation as to the possible whereabouts of their number one driver in 2008. An Autopista article (that I cannot find on their website) has been widely reported as claiming that Alonso has not only met with Renault executives to discuss a drive next season, but has seen plans for their 2008 car (we’ve been here before haven’t we…).

El Mundo’s top story is an interview with Marc Gene in which he suggests that we won’t be seeing his compatriot at Ferrari next season. Marca.com has an entirely dedicated Zona Alonso topped by what looks suspiciously like a photo-shopped image of Alonso dismissing his team principle with a waved hand. In light of Ron’s now infamous “We weren’t racing Kimi, we were basically racing Fernando” quote, perhaps that would be justified.

With further rumours circulating that Alonso has been omitted from the McLaren Winter test schedule and on the back of yet another outburst from the driver in the direction of his team; it really would be a surprise to me to see the man from Oviedo piloting a McLaren next year.

Both Coral and Betfair are offering a market on the team with which Alonso will start the 2008 Formula 1 season. Coral are still making McLaren the 6/4 favourite, but punters are voting with their feet at Betfair where Renault have been backed in to clear even-money favourites.

Even Coral’s spokesmen David Stevens had this to say:

“Fernando Alonso has been public in his criticism of Ron Dennis and the McLaren team, in complete contrast to Lewis Hamilton, who has had nothing but good things to say about the team, even after his setback in China at the weekend. If there is only room at McLaren next year for one of this year’s pairing, we’re in no doubt that it will be Hamilton who stays put.”

All of this supposition has got me thinking about why Alonso left Renault in the first place. There was no shortage of cynics at the time that highlighted the relatively meagre wage that he received from the French manufacturer compared to that which he subsequently accepted from McLaren. However with the benefit of hindsight and the respective performance of the two cars in this year’s championship, do we still believe that this was the root-cause?

Certainly given his demonstrations of discontent when not winning this season I cannot see his next move as one purely chasing the buck. He can surely still command a competitive car and for me this rules out a move to the likes of Toyota and possibly even BMW.

That really leaves four options; staying put at McLaren and having constant ongoing speculation about driver favouritism and endless internal politics: does he really feel that he needs this? A sabbatical: although I haven’t seen any indication from the driver himself that this is likely. A move to Ferrari: where he could pick up both a large pay cheque and a competitive car, though the downside is likely to be an ultra competitive teammate. For this to happen I also feel that there will need to be some major surgery to the Ferrari hierarchy, otherwise it will be difficult to deny Felipe Massa, who is managed by Jean Todt’s son, a race seat in ’08.

Or finally, a return to the ‘happy days’ at Renault and his mentor Flavio Briatore. Of course the risk is that second time around the experience does not live up to the first; but with the cash likely to be splashed to re-secure his services, I personally feel that he will see this as the option with the least downside.

It is usually telling when a Betfair price is considerably shorter than the fixed-odds equivalent (even in a market with relatively low liquidity) and history tells us that the fixed odds price is unlikely to remain available for too long. Fernando Alonso can be backed at 7/4 to start next season at Renault with Coral and that looks worth a bet to me.


Written by f1punter

October 10, 2007 at 10:09 pm

One Response

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  1. […] Prodrive! This factor prevents us from calling it a two horse race but anyone who took any of the 7/4 about Renault that was available a few weeks ago is clearly in a strong position.  The lack of liquidity makes […]

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