One of the loudest stories in the paddock at the Monaco Grand Prix was that of a return to Ferrari by current McLaren team-leader Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard is not having a great season at McLaren – and his last win in F1 came with Ferrari as long ago as 2014 – so it would be no surprise if he were to look elsewhere for 2019.
The story goes that Flavio Briatore – who acts as Alonso’s manager – arranged a meeting with Ferrari at Monaco to discuss the double world-champion’s possible return to Maranello. We think that, in fact, the likelihood of such a move happening is very slim.
Le Mans Winner
Alonso famously took part in the Indianapolis 500 last year in a McLaren-backed car, and has made no secret of the fact he would like to become one of only two drivers – the other being Graham Hill – to win the hallowed motor sport ‘triple crown’: the F1 World Championship, the Indy 500, and the Le Mans 24hrs.
The latter is now on his cv in ink as Alonso – with co-drivers Sebastian Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima – took their Toyota to victory in the fabled French marathon, as part of Alonso’s full season with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship this year, which he will drive in as well as his Formula One commitments.
Alonso to Indy?
A contrasting story in the Monaco paddock surmised that, in fact, Alonso and McLaren will contest the Indycar series next season – 2019 – perhaps in conjunction with an existing team. This would give Fernando the chance to run at the top, plus another chance to take the Indy 500 crown, and also bring the McLaren brand further exposure in the USA where it is aiming to increase sales of its range of supercars.
As for Ferrari, they have Kimi Raikkonen to fall back on for 2019 in F1, although if they feel he has gained enough experience this season do not be surprised if they draft their young protégé Charles Leclerc – currently impressing at Sauber – into the team in place of the veteran Finn.
Our verdict on Alonso to Ferrari for 2019? Not very likely, but you never known in F1!