It is Monaco Grand Prix and the Paddock is buzzing with rumours. This brings out the second edition of this series of posts. (See the first here.)
I am not really surprised to hear that “Fernando Alonso has just inked a deal to drive for Ferrari in 2010″. I do not expect anything bigger than this to come out this weekend. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen. It may be, remember how Kimi Raikkonen signed for Ferrari. It may also be just a purposely started rumour to unsettle the drivers market. Let’s see what happens next, but I do not expect to find out the truth anytime soon.
The rumours surrounding Alonso’s team mate Nelson Piquet are not going away. Piquet may have come to Monaco with a “Monaco Special Helmet” (see here) but that is all special that he has ready for this weekend. Piquet has warned in advance that he may struggle in Monaco and in Canada, but not making in out of Q3 when his team mate claims P7 that is a bit too much. The pressure from Renault is already on. The bad news for Piquet is that the names of his successors in Renault are openly circulated – Takuma Sato, Anthony Davidson, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Romain Grosjean, Lucas di Grassi even Bruno Senna. Considering that Piquet is sort of pay driver, with Latin American money backing him (and probably helping Renault to pay for Alonso’s services) I would say that two Brazilians – di Grassi and Senna would stand the best chance to land Renault seat should Renault loose their patience with Piquet Jr. But, would Renault fire one rookie only to replace him with another unproven F1 driver ? They may be better off to stick with Piquet and see if he can get his act together with more races under his belt.
Another driver who has found himself at the wrong end of gossips is Nick Heidfeld. It is funny that a driver who is currently 5th in the championship standings with one podium under his belt this season is subject of “being replaced” talks. The fact however is that BMW Sauber are a team on the way up and they may not like being slowed down. Heidfeld might have been unlucky during Monaco qualifying when his Q2 was compromised following Coulthards accident. But, he spent most of Q1 and Q2 languishing in the second half of the field, unlike Robert Kubica. The pressure is on Heidfeld without any doubt. Pressure can motivate some drivers and bring out the best of them. But pressure can also be the final nail to the coffin … And let’s do not forget. Despite the latest “Alonso to Ferrari” news, there is also lots “Alonso to BMW” talk …
Photos: ING Renault, BMW Motorsports