F1: Alonso leaves McLaren – but will he cost Coulthard his drive?

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarFriday, November 2nd, 2007


McLaren and Fernando Alonso have announced that the driver is leaving the team with immediate effect and will be seeking a new drive for 2008.

The decision has been described as mutual – and both sides have managed to put a good face on it, with Alonso saying: “We have had our ups and downs during the season, which has made it extra-challenging for all of us, and it is not a secret that I never really felt at home.”

He has departed from the team on civil terms, dismissing the idea that he had been badly treated: “I know there have been suggestions of favouritism within the team and people say a lot of things in the heat of battle, but in the end I was always provided with an equal opportunity to win.”

Team principal Ron Dennis said: “He is a great driver but for some reason the combination of McLaren-Mercedes and Fernando has not really worked out.

“In the end we reached a stage where none of us could find a way to move forward.”

So, what does the future hold for Alonso?

While this move may be wholly expected, and excellent news for his former team-mate Lewis Hamilton, one of the favourites to sign him are said to be Red Bull.

This has reportedly come about because, as part of the deal, Dennis has specified that he must sign for a privateer rather than a manufacturers’ team, ruling out hot favourites Renault.

The problem is, where’s the vacancy? The team already has two superb drivers in Mark Webber and David Coulthard.

It’s self-evident that anyone able to attract the double world-champion to their team would be biting his hand off.

But which of the Red Bull drivers will have to vacate the car to make way for him?

4 responses to “F1: Alonso leaves McLaren – but will he cost Coulthard his drive?”:

  1. Craig Says:

    November 2nd, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    It’s my worry that Webber is the one most likely to be kept on by Red Bull and that DC will be the one to lose out.

    Although he is undoubtedly nearing the end of his career I think it would be a real shame if it were to end like this.

    Perhaps he will take over from Alonso at McLaren!

    Fingers crossed though that he gets another crack with Red Bull in what should be a much more reliable car next year (hopefully!).

  2. ljh Says:

    November 2nd, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Craig – we fear you are right, sadly. And the last thing we want to see is Coulthard forced out of F1 by the fall-out from this row.

    But just think about this, as a consolation prize that we hope isn’t necessary.

    Fisichella and Hamilton have both been on the sharp end of Alonso’s ego. Can you imagine what’ll happen if he tries to pull rank on the blunt Aussie Webber?

    Should be entertaining, if nothing else…

  3. Craig Says:

    November 2nd, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    I just hope we don’t get to find out!

  4. Andy Says:

    November 2nd, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Amen to that!

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