I did not not plan to get back to driver rumours topic so soon after the last post, but the rumour mill is gathering speed.
Mr. Mallya seems to be taking his job seriously and plans to use the brain instead of heart. This however may not be a good news for both – the possible Indian candidates for the race seat and for Ralf Schumacher’s chances:
“I know Ralf well from my role as a sponsor of the Toyota team and I personally hold him in high regard, but a driver line-up is not something that should be decided by the heart but by the brain.
“I want drivers that can raise the standards in the team. I always get asked if we will have an Indian driver and my response is – if I can find one who is ready, yes. But only under the parameters just said.
“Drivers are a crucial part of the team so the driver line-up is a serious matter and not a sympathy contest.”
Oh Ralf, this must hurt …
Ralf however seems to be hinting at replacing an English driver somewhere … He told Autosport:
“It is too early to say. We’re still in talks, but my confidence about being in Formula One next year still hasn’t changed. It’s terrible for the English guys, but…”
He is definitely not hinting at replacing Hamilton, I do not see Honda ditching Button who so far outscored Ralf in much worse car this year. That leaves Davidson. But why would Super Aguri want to replace him with Ralf … Or is Ralf so desperate to remain in F1 that he is ready to pay for his 2008 drive ?
Now to Alonso. According to several F1 sites German media (Bild) report Alonso signing a letter of intent to drive for Renault in 2008 if he gets out of his McLaren contract. Some reports say he was even shown the 2008 Renault car blueprints (unlikely). Bild is not exactly the most reliable source out there, so these reports should be taken with some caution. GrandPrix.com however speculates already, what impact this would have if it is true. If the contract between McLaren and Alonso is rock solid, any party who makes the first step to break it may have to be the one to pay for it. I however somehow think, that both parties will be interested in finding quick way out of the misery and they will not stay in each others way. As long as Alonso has a team to ride for and McLaren gets a good driver instead, the should be able to find a way. But the solution will have to include the sponsors … Some of McLaren’s current sponsors came on board together with Alonso (like for example Banco Santander and Mutua Madrilena). Remember what happen with some Spanish sponsors of Renault after Alonso left…