Tue 4 Dec 2007
It seems Fernando Alonso is being backed into a corner slightly over where he will be driving next season.
Assuming there is to be no contract breaking going on, then where can he go?
There has been much speculation on this which I won’t go over again, but basically he seems to have a realistic choice between Renault and Toyota - between a team who were once great and could believably be great again, and a team who has loads of money, but are unlikely to be great anytime soon.
There is also a vacant seat at McLaren, but that’s hardly a likely option!
With Alonso’s options being pretty limited, it’s also a good shout that he may take a year out rather than drive for someone he doesn’t really want to drive for.
But imagine that there were no contracts, no drivers signed for any of the teams - and also imagine you were coming into the sport for the first time - who would you want to drive for?
I asked myself this earlier thinking that it would be a straight choice between McLaren and Ferrari, but now it appears that it’s not that simple.
If Hamilton was at McLaren then I wouldn’t want to be his teammate - I think this year has proved that he is favoured by Ron Dennis whether it’s intentional or not. But assuming Hamilton wasn’t there, you have to think about whether the team can provide a reliable and fast car two years in a row - it’s not always been their strong point, so for that I think I would pass on McLaren.
So Ferrari would surely be next on the list and I would seriously consider them, but with a whole load of stuff seeming to be happening behind the scenes I wouldn’t bet on it being a happy ship next year either.
The rest of the teams are much the same apart from those well down the grid, so without a particular affinity for one or the other I don’t think I could pick them apart. Perhaps you are a fan of Renaults so would head there, or fancy working in Italy so would head to Toro Rosso but I’m not so sure.
BMW are a strong team and have a fantastic chance of getting a race win or two next year but I can’t help but get the feeling that it’s quite McLaren-like working there. Perhaps that is just the corporate image, and I’m sure winning races and driving a nice car would compensate for a lack of “happy” atmosphere. Who knows what it is really like being in each team, we only get to see them for a couple of hours every week or two anyway.
With a choice between all 11 teams, I think I would choose Red Bull - which is not what I expected to think! They are a genuine team on the up, rather than one already at the top who only have one way to go - down.
There has been movement behind the scenes there as well, but mainly in a positive sense and surely they have to get the best out of Adrian Newey soon. Besides it seems like as fun as a Formula One team gets.
With a free choice, which team would you choose to drive for?