Fernando Alonso, Honda RA302, Honda Thanks Day, Motegi, 2016

“50% chance” Alonso will join Mercedes – de la Rosa

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso has a realistic chance of joining Mercedes in place of Nico Rosberg, according to Pedro de la Rosa.

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The news of France’s return to the F1 calendar was received positively:

Yes! A world championship without the French Grand Prix didn’t feel right.

Hopefully Paul Ricard is a good track, I have only seen bits of it in other series. But good ti have the French Grand Prix back and hopefully Renault will be competitive by then.
Tayyib Abu

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 151 comments on ““50% chance” Alonso will join Mercedes – de la Rosa”

    1. I can’t imagine Mercedes actually wants Alonso, in spite of his on-track skills.

      1. @chaddy What ontrack skills ?. I keep saying it, Alonso is overrated and has shown nothing special.

        1. Clearly you have some insight that the entire racing community and F1 fans are missing.

          1. @todfod and I have had our disagreements in the past, but anyone who says that Alonso is overrated clearly hasn’t a clue when it comes to Formula 1 or racing in general.

            It is with good reason that he has been considered for many years, and to many is STILL considered, the best driver on the grid.

            I would LOVE to see Button in the Mercedes, but if it’s not him it HAS to be Alonso. Formula 1 NEEDS Alonso in a competitive car – it just does. We’ve all seen the enthusiasm for F1 fall off these last few years with the utter dominance of the Mercedes totally ruining the sport we all love. F1 needs the best drivers challenging for the title! Just look at 2010 and 2012 in particular – 5-6 drivers in the hunt for the title. THAT’S WHAT F1 NEEDS!

            If Alonso does not go to Mercedes, the very best we can hope for is a McLaren that can challenge! It’s been heart breaking watching drivers of the calibre of Button and Alonso struggling in the midfield!

            1. Alonso is a very fast racer, a hard charger, and a demon in on-track battles.

              But he’s terrible at qualifying (I use ‘terrible’ in a relative sense– compared to me, he’s a god at qualifying, compared to the top 5 drivers in F1, he’s not very good).

              Next year in particular, I think qualifying is going to be very important.

        2. Wow…….just wow……..

        3. ColdFly F1 (@)
          6th December 2016, 6:00

          Thanks for enlightening me, @revelations.
          What was I thinking all those years?

        4. @revelations

          +1

          I totally agree with you. Alonso did was once the cream of the crop but is now very much over shadowed but a number of overs. It’s time he moved on and made way for new talent.

          1. Chris….Partnering Lewis and Fernando would answer, whether Alonso is still at the top of his game. This would answer the question that some may have. I say bring on Hamilton & Alonso 2 to find out.

            1. @samouri
              Alonso is spent & done with. Nothing to see there, no questions to ask.

              The only thing worth seeing is Max and Lewis in the same car. That would be the ultimate showdown and one Lewis would truely welcome.

        5. Did you actually watch F1 this year? Or any of the previous years for that matter? Alonso was mighty this year.

          My bet is that Alonso will turn up inside the top 5 drivers this year on almost all of the lists done by all of the major journalists when they are released. You know those guys. The ones who analysed every race and kept notes on them all so they could remember the entire year.

          Alonso dragged a dog of a car (or engine) up the list and scored points in it. Despite the final finishing position, this was actually one of the best years Alonso has ever raced IMHO. Maybe it seems better because we expected nothing from him. It’s hard to compare years and he was probably equal in the Ferrari, but we expected him to win then and we expected nothing in the McLaren this year.

          1. @mickharrold have you seen the f1metrics annual review? it’s supposedly the only objective ranking system, controlling for car performance, etc. guess who comes top…

            1. Thanks for the link. I haven’t visited that site before. It seems to have a thorough handling of the mathematics of how each driver performed and is a worthy read. However, it is fatally flawed. The heading on the page tells you everything you need to know.

              “Driver performances are quantified by the adjusted points per race (ppr) up to a maximum of 10 ppr, which represents how the model thinks each driver would have performed in completely equal cars. In other words, this is the driver’s predicted performance after adjusting for the model’s estimate of team performance.

              The major flaw seems to be the “model’s estimate of team performance.” How can a simple computer model understand how well a team should have performed? How do they adjust this as the year goes on. Take TR for example with their year old Ferrari engine. They started well and finished poor as their engine fell behind. But somehow Sainz came in 3rd in the rankings. Maybe the model adjusts future races based on previous performance, or the model maker manually edits the chances of each team at each race. In either case, this is flawed.

              Look, it is nice to look at and I am sure that someone spent a lot of time designing it. But looking at numbers alone with a simple system can’t explain the real world. Example A. The weather forecasters. Or if we want to look a bit closer to home take CFD. Teams spend millions on CFD complex computers and models. Much more development has gone into CFD than this model. But after designing cars using CFD, they still need to go firstly to a wind tunnel to verify the results and then to the track (real World) to see if all those projected number stack up to real world results.

              If you want to break it down to a number system. Nico Rosberg won the WDC. Therefore he must be the best driver in F1. If you believe that, you need to look up from the computer screen.

            2. Except it doesn’t factor out technical issues, which is a fairly big flaw when assessing driver performance. Overall I liked Button’s analysis best: basically, if Alonso’s on a good day, he’s way ahead. If you’re on a good day, he’s right behind you and you have no idea how.

            3. I have had a further look at the web page and I dislike it more now. There is a page about “Experts Vs Models”. On this page, it has Jack Brabham at 47. Robert Kubica is at 26. Damon Hill is 18. Even Daniel Ricciardo is at 32. Oh Come on…. Damon Hill is not miles better than Jack Brabham. He’s not even close.

              Look, it represents a mighty attempt by someone to apply maths to the world, but it falls well short of the real world.

            4. Every single method is flawed, just like every single human perception. You can get closer and closer to perfection, but you never reach it.

              One good example is the choice to treat Schumacher’s final years at Mercedes as a different driver, and how this impacts Nico Rosberg’s ranking. Which is the most accurate way? Why do this only in Schumacher’s case and not for other drivers that returned from retirement or sabbaticals, like Lauda, Prost or Raikkonen?

              For what I read, F1Metrics recognizes its inherent imperfection, discusses its potential causes and is always trying to perfect the model.

              F1Metrics and other models offer very good insight mostly on the underestimated or overestimated, because the obvious successes and failures are, as was said, obvious.

        6. Clearly you’re not too clued up on F1. Constantly he’s dragged cars up where they don’t belong, in 2010 and 2012 for example, even being in the championship fight a terrible car.

          1. @hugh11 Don’t even mention 2012 mate. 2012 was nothing but luck and McLaren messing up everything, especially Malaysia which won Alonso with because messed up the whole race. Yes Alonso is good but nothing special.

            1. You’re notoriously one of the most biased individuals on this site, and I take everything you say with a pinch of salt.

          2. @hugh11 The F10 and F2012 were not “terrible cars”. Now the last 3 Mclarens (and lesser extent the 2014 Ferrari) are what you can call “terrible cars”.

        7. @revelations Thanks for your precious insight! Much detailed analysis, really! Thinking I was wrong all those years, thank you for enlightening us all.

        8. I second @revelations; If he is really that good, why can’t he engineer himself a winning car? He had his chance with Ferrari and McLaren, and yes, he did win in a Renault, but it’s been a while since that happened.

        9. Alonso is the best race day driver. Period.

        10. If you can’t see Alonso’s skill then perhaps you should watch something else that doesn’t require you to try and understand something that you obviously don’t.

      2. @chaddy those de la Rosa comments are pure speculation, the man doesn’t know anything.

        That link is an interview for Marca, a sports newspaper that only cares about football and sells journals based on speculations.

        The translation isn’t exactly right, he says “I think there is 50%” and not “there is 50”. This is the difference between imagining things and sending Alonso an email.

        As some people already said, and taking into account that de la Rosa is not particularly a smart person, he probably came up with 50% because there are two scenarios, either he goes or he doesn’t

        1. I agree with you about the translation and the newspaper. But c’mon, how can you say De la Rosa isn’t a smart person? He totally is, and I’ve the pleasure of knowing him in a close way. He’s also a retired formula one driver and a big friend of Alonso. I’m sure he knows more of all of us, don’t you think?

          1. Silver, I am sure he has a lot of information that we don’t, that does not make him smart, makes him informed which is different. I absolutely loathe his commentary in the spanish broadcasts and the constant erros, mind you, not only from him, and probably influenced by his colleagues.

            And leaving emails behind as proof of wrong-doing, certantly isn’t a smart move.

        2. Your speculation that what de la Rosa knows is speculation, is speculation. You could also argue me stating that, is also speculation as I don’t know if you know that what de la Rosa knows, is speculation. For all I know you may know that but i’m speculating, you don’t.

          1. I am just refering to the article, he says “Yo creo…” which means “I think” or “I believe” in the sense that it is his own opinion. It was badly translanted, so it shouldn’t be taken litteraly

            Alonso might as well end up at Mercedes, but coming from that source, that article is pure speculation as are those odds. I don’t know if you can understand Spanish but if you read the article you will get the same feeling

            I do understand however where you are coming from, and indeed the sentence “the man knows nothing” is speculation, I was carried away there.

      3. @chaddy I wouldn’t pass on it. Having a driver as such as Lewis or Alonso translates to tenths of millions of pounds in bonus and extra sponsorship tie-ups this is even if none ends up winning a championship, if they do win the championship the clauses can multiply those numbers. Enough leverage to get an extra help when it matters… When the title is tight and the promotional driver wins you’ve got to ask that question. Anyway, I think Mercedes want the attention that Prost and Senna got almost 30 years ago, it won’t overshadow Mercedes.

    2. Well, either ALO does or he doesn’t.

      50/50 makes sense.

      1. Well either Manor win the 2017 World Championship or they don’t.

        50/50 makes sense.

        Great logic.

        1. @beejis60 @blockwall2 I used to have a boss who used this logic for everything!!! it was 50 / 50 someone would turn up to work, hed win the lottery etc!!!

        2. @blockwall2

          The probability of Manor winning is different from the probability of Manor being the one team out of 11 to win the championship.
          Trust me, I’m a physicist… :p

      2. As Alonso always gives 120% to everything he does I’d say we have at least 60% of him joining Mercedes.

        1. Ahahahahahaha, Keith look no further for tomorrow’s comment of the day

        2. @toxic He gives 120% ?, based upon what ?. The overhype has already begun is see.

          1. @revelations lighten up, it’s a joke :)

          2. Based on his own comments.

          3. @revelations – 2nd time on this thread that you have said he isn’t very good – also the 2nd time you’ve failed to explain what you mean other than “he’s overhyped.”

            The talk is of him replacing Rosberg so you think Rosberg is a better driver than Alonso?

          4. HAM should drive both cars.

            1. hahah excellent!

          5. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
            6th December 2016, 13:37

            @revelations you are a troll.

        3. obviously comment of the day!

      3. Either I will join McLaren, or I won’t…

      4. It is 50% chance he joins mercedes, 50% chance he stays at mclaren and 50% that he does something else.

        1. He’s not man bear pig 😂

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            6th December 2016, 10:10

            ManBearPig is overhyped

    3. In other news, de la Rosa tells us that Fernando Alonso will either join Mercedes, or he won’t.

    4. If Paul Di Resta gets the Mercedes seat, I’ll eat my hat, paint my car pink with yellow stripes, drink a whole can of WD-40, shave my head, eyebrowns and eyelashes, quit my job and move to Tierra del Fuego.

      I’ll also stop watching F1.

      1. Tommy Scragend
        6th December 2016, 0:21

        I believed you until the last line…

      2. @fer-no65 – I think you’re safe there. I would almost think Maldonado has as a good of chance as Di Resta does.

        1. On the other hand it’s 50/50, either he will or he won’t. I hear Tierra del Fuego is beautiful this time of year.

      3. @fer-no65 To be honest, Tierra del Fuego seems to be kind of cool. Why wait for Mercedes’ decision, I will start learning Spanish and go to Ushuaia where you will pick me up in that pink car with yellow stripes…

        That said, I will also be very surprised if di Resta ends up as Hamilton’s team mate next year. If Mercedes pick Bottas, then Williams might replace the Finn with di Resta but right now it looks like Wolff is leaning towards Wehrlein or Ocon so Paul will probably never get the chance to beat Seb again.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          6th December 2016, 7:22

          @girts @fer-no65 That sounds fun! Just make sure the stripey pink car doesn’t have “H982 FKL” as its numberplate…

        2. @girts – quote from Wolff saying “You have to consider Fernando. He is a driver I respect a lot. He combines talent, speed and experience. It’s all there.”
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/38219533

          I’m sure it means nothing – what else was he going to say? It does show that they are looking at drivers with contracts as well though and are weighing up the options rather than just looking at someone like Wehrlein or Ocon.

          On a side note, he also says “Both drivers will have equal status and equal opportunity to the best of our abilities. We owe it to the fans. You can’t have a pecking order.”

          What is Wolff on about that they “owe it to the fans?” They owed it to the fans to not try and ruin the end of season finale between Rosberg and Hamilton but that didn’t stop them – luckily Hamilton ignored direct orders anyway! I’d rather a number 1 & number 2 driver situation over Mercedes’ current total disregard for the drivers championship!

          1. So they owed it to the fans to help LH with extraordinary measures to screw Nico? After LH spent the season dissing his own team? A designated 1 and 2 would truly be a total disregard for the drivers championship and would have sent people away in droves over the last 3 years. Mercedes should be commended for keeping the rivalry going all this time and at least providing a show at the top when other teams have failed to be there. Thank goodness Mercedes didn’t take the easy road and eliminate the racing on the team. One act of not favouring LH only to screw Nico does not erase them always taking the high road by deciding to manage a challenging rivalry.

            1. How is letting both racers do what they have to do to get their championship is helping LH with extraordinary measures?
              Logic isn’t your strong quality it seems.

      4. @fer-no65 Is it because Paul was a better junior rank driver than anybody else on the grid?

    5. So is Alonso’s pride (I backed McLaren in the long run–if I leave, I am, in effect, publicly declaring my lack of faith in the McLaren Honda partnership to provide me with a race-winning car before my retirement) or McLaren’s administrative heft (assert contract; disqualify impending negotiations) likely to be the primary stumbling block? I don’t think Alonso has a great deal of time left in Formula 1–at least, years in which he can continue to perform at the peak of his abilities.

      If the spare Mercedes seat is realistically attainable–and the longer the idea gestates, the more probable it seems–Alonso has to cut his losses and spring for it, as I don’t see McLaren improving past Mercedes in the time the Spaniard has left. Mercedes might see McLaren contract’s with Alonso as nothing more than a minor distraction (however large it may be) and subsequently be willing to stump up the requisite fee for, say, a hypothetical 2-year deal for someone of Alonso’s calibre.

      If Mercedes remain top dog (not guaranteed for Newey-related reasons), and Alonso beats Hamilton to a WDC in the next couple of years, the Spaniard bows out of F1 victorious. If Mercedes fall back toward the pack and the WDC goes elsewhere, Alonso retires! Same deal. He must have his eye on the seat, surely?

      Always loved the musical chairs of this sport. Silly season’s had an Indian summer.

    6. So is Alonso’s pride (I backed McLaren in the long run–if I leave, I am, in effect, publicly declaring my lack of faith in the McLaren Honda partnership to provide me with a race-winning car before my retirement) or McLaren’s administrative heft (assert contract; disqualify impending negotiations) likely to be the primary stumbling block? I don’t think Alonso has a great deal of time left in Formula 1–at least, years in which he can continue to perform at the peak of his abilities.

      If the spare Mercedes seat is realistically attainable–and the longer the idea gestates, the more probable it seems–Alonso has to cut his losses and spring for it, as I don’t see McLaren improving past Mercedes in the time the Spaniard has left. Mercedes might see McLaren’s contract with Alonso as nothing more than a minor distraction (however large it may be) and subsequently be willing to stump up the requisite fee for, say, a hypothetical 2-year deal for someone of Alonso’s calibre.

      If Mercedes remain top dog (not guaranteed for Newey-related reasons), and Alonso beats Hamilton to a WDC in the next couple of years, the Spaniard bows out of F1 victorious. If Mercedes fall back toward the pack and the WDC goes elsewhere, Alonso retires! Same deal. He must have his eye on the seat, surely?

      Always loved the musical chairs of this sport. Silly season’s had an Indian summer.

      1. @newfangled, I’m having so much fun with this ! How about MB does a quiet deal with McL to swap their engines for Alonso, Honda to supply Manor.

      2. The Blade Runner (@)
        6th December 2016, 10:43

        I can see what Alonso might gain but what do Mercedes gain?

        They already have (probably) the most marketable driver in the business. They are reigning Constructor Championship holders and their most recent “no.2” driver is World Champion.

        Yes Alonso is a fantastic driver. In my opinion probably the best that’s currently on the grid. I’m just not sure that is sufficient for Mercedes to buy him, probably at enormous cost, out of his current McLaren contract. What do they gain over-and-above A.N.Other driver?

        Answers on a postcard…

        1. @thebladerunner For me what they would gain is to continue to be THE story of F1, just as they have been for the last 3 years. If they want to become far less visible and notable they’ll hire LH an underling he can romp over, and then dominant or not Mercedes will be a ho-hum topic. If they want all eyes on them at all times they’ll try and if at all possible get FA.

      3. Why on earth would Alonso decline a chance to drive the best F1 car today out of pride?

        As someone suggested yesterday (OK, me) Alonso will probably moving everything to get the berth. The question is whether Mercedes management want to handle two ultra-competitive world champions with back history at another team. Maybe. Difficult to tell because even if they have other preferences, it does them no harm to pump up the Alonso story – perhaps as cover to sneak in Vettel :o)

        1. Re: pride. I was struggling to find a reason why Alonso could feasibly turn down the seat, but nothing genuinely believable stuck. Pride is an odd thing, and drivers aren’t superhuman. I may very well have attempted to reinforce my tenuous theory that Alonso might not be willing to accept he made a mistake in going to McLaren (wasting two years in a sub-par car), were it not for @fletch (rightly) stating that all roads led to McLaren at the time.

          @thebladerunner It’s total guesswork as to what Mercedes consider affordable regarding a buy-out. Mercedes will be targeting reclaiming the Constructors’ Championship–I’d wager they want someone of substance and experience. I’d like to see Wehrlein, Ocon etc. as #2, but they haven’t shown enough quite yet to operate at white-hot tip of the grid. I agree with the marketing angle, but Hamilton seems nonplussed regarding the pedigree of his potential teammate, and, for all the internal conflicts Mercedes have dealt with during recent seasons, I don’t think they will shy away from another intense rivalry. Again, as @fletch comments, competition for the WCC may be fiercer next year, and Merc might decide they want the best money can buy, strife or no strife. Perhaps two legends are better than one? Money is the bottom line, though–I agree with that wholeheartedly. Ignoring that completely, Alonso seems the most portable and available.

      4. Good points @newfangled we should also remember that Alonso had little option but to join McLaren after choosing to leave Ferrari. He’ll be doing everything he can to get the seat IMO. On Merc’s side I can see them being worried about the new regs and how competition may be a lot stronger next year. Having two of the very best drivers in the stable makes getting the most out of the 17 merc one less thing to worry about.

    7. Paul Di Resta? Don’t get me started. This is like channel 4 suggesting that Karun Chandok be considered for the vacant seat at Mercedes.

      1. Might just as well give Webbo a call.

        1. You know what… Mark Webber in the Mercedes seat is not as insane as it might sound.

          Just retired LMP1 driver, recent(ish) F1 eperience, still competitve, and an ex Mercedes driver in sports cars…

          1. I would love to see Mark Webber in that seat for a season or two. He could may well challenge Lewis but even Dan Ricciardo could spoil the party like he did to Seb in 2014.

        2. I would honestly love that idea.

    8. If Alonso and Mercedes really want it, I don’t think there’s many obstacles. Mclaren contract should have clause which Ron has denied but there’s always clause. Given Mclaren-Honda’s 2 year streak performance(or lack of it), I’m pretty sure the clause can be activated. Money can’t be a problem, Alonso is richer than almost anyone one the grid, has powerful sponsors, Mercedes is…well, quite big company.

      the problem is Alonso really want to join Mercedes next year? of course I can’t see Mclaren-Honda overtakes Mercedes next year but he has repeatedly said about faith and romanticism of Mclaren-Honda, Senna, etc… He might be able to win championship with Mercedes but loose some respect I guess. also as a fan of him, I’m not sure he can match Hamilton who is now on peak of his career while Alonso is still brilliant driver but clearly in twilight of career. If he lost, it will be really hurt… Mercedes has to endure critics due to ​collusion too, which seems Toto is not happy of it.

      Overall, I believe Mercedes-Alonso chance are quite slim. He must be the easiest target among star drivers but Pascal or Ocon should be easier options.

      1. @eggry he also said those things about McLaren in 2007 (it really was his fav team as a child), but you know how that ended…

        I’m a fan as well, and I want to see him competing against Hamilton for what it could well be the last chance in his life to get a 3rd title. It’d hurt bad if he lost it again, but seeing him battling the Toro Rossos for 2 or 3 points (at best) week in week out isn’t that much better.

        1. @fer-no65 I’m afraid of being beaten but yes, worth of taking risk. I fear more Mclaren-Honda might not offer him winning car next 2 years.

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        6th December 2016, 10:24

        Lots of Alonso stories cropping up today following Toto’s compliments to FA. Good clickbait though, so hard to gauge
        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/06/f1-toto-wolff-mercedes-fernando-alonso-replace-nico-rosberg

    9. Pro: French GP back in the fold
      Con: not at Magny-Cours

      1. I always liked magny cours, fond memories of dc giving schumacher a ‘hand jesture’ at adelade hairpin.

        1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
          6th December 2016, 7:23

          DC was looking in his own wing mirrors at the time of the birdie lol…?

        2. @rick1984
          Given that that’s the most memorable thing to have happened there during the years it hosted F1, and that most seasons it provided little more than the opportunity to sleep for an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon, why do you like it ?
          It’s about as exciting as Baku, Abu Dhabi, or the car park in Vegas.

          1. @beneboy ill give you that verry little interesting ever happened there, i just quite like it bit of a mix of fast stuff (the sweeps at the beginning) big stopping point for overtaking (adelaide) and a few slower tinkery bits. Though the last chicane never worked in any configuration really

    10. Completely irrelevant but Rosberg couldn’t steal the thunder even in his retirement! This time it’s Alonso’s chance to steal the sheen of Rosberg’s announcement. Not sure what else Rosberg has to do so that the media remains focused on him for atleast 48 straight hours!!

      1. What if he didn’t want to steal the thunder?

        1. @sravan-pe, he probably doesn’t want to do that – he’s usually not that keen to be in the public spotlight for that length of time and to be subjected to that sort of scrutiny and speculation, so he’s probably quite happy for them to focus elsewhere.

    11. Here we go again. Alonso don’t deserve that seat like i’ve often enough already, he rejected Mercedes offering in the past already and now all the talk Alonso is somehow in line for the seat is wrong. Mercedes should give Wehrlein the seat and make Hamilton No1 for once as Alonso and Vettel already had enjoyed. I think Alonso is a few steps backward and he has absolutely nothing to offer. There are enough young guys that deserve that seat more then Alonso.

      1. Furthermore, Alonso walked out of a would championship winning car back in 2007. So he rejected Mercedes, he rejected RB and he walked out of Mclaren. I find that the notion that he “deserves” a competitive car is absurd.

        1. He walked out of Ferrari too!

      2. Rb have a very strong line-up so i would imagine they want the strongest Line-up possible for the constructors championchip. I doubt they will take a young guy.

    12. Alonso should pull a Hamilton, slow down.

      Honda can’t make him drive fast.

      So by threatening to slow down, he lands a WDC possible seat.

      The Lewis Effect.

      1. In my opinion that should really be the Vettel effect as it was he who spent most of the season in 2014 driving within himself (not taking anything away from ricciardo that season) to activate a performance clause in his contract and enable his move to Ferrari.

    13. Alonso to Mercedes is more unlikely because even if he secures Mercedes seat he has to fight with Hamilton for earn 3rd title and against Hamilton It won’t be easy a loss to Hamilton will really hurt his reputation. at present slightly 60-40 at Hamilton’s favour against Alonso.

      1. It’s never easy and I’m sure FA would relish the opportunity to try. He’s only floundering where he is, so at least he’d have a blast again in F1 at Mercedes.

    14. Hamilton is concerned about Brexit. Is that so. The tax exile who avoids making €13.5 million in annual payments to HMRC by living in Monaco should keep his mouth shut about British politics. As part of Brexit, the U.K. should insist that the EU retain Hamilton as a citizen of Europe and take away his British passport, that is unless he agrees to pay all back taxes.
      No, I don’t care if you disagree with me!

      1. What back taxes? He doesn’t live in the UK, he doesn’t earn money in the UK, he doesn’t pay tax in the UK. What logic could possibly dictate someone neither living or earning their money in a location should still pay tax to that location?

        Have you ever worked or lived abroad? I have, and I didn’t pay a penny in UK tax. I paid my tax to the country I resided in for the privilege of using their public services.

        Monaco is a tax haven because that’s the way their economy is designed and it seems to work well for Monaco.

        So again, even though I’m sure you won’t budge on the opinion Hamilton is a tax dodger, by what logic to you determine he should be liable for UK taxes?

        1. The Blade Runner (@)
          6th December 2016, 11:05

          @philipgb

          I think Gary is taking a moral stance rather than exploring the legal angle that you have effectively responded to. I’m also assuming that the job you did was based in the country that you paid tax, giving you little choice about where you lived i.e. not Brackley, Northamptonshire which is a mere 50 miles from the town Hamilton grew-up in.

          It is the eternal discussion of whether a person that notionally represents the UK when racing (i.e. stands in front of the Union Flag whilst God Save the Queen is playing) has the right to comment on UK affairs when they choose to live abroad and pay no taxes in the UK.

          1. @thebladerunner

            The legal stance has no debate, he doesn’t legally have to pay taxes.

            I’m open to an argument based on logic as to why the law should be different?

            Taxes are used for the cost of services within a country. Hamilton was educated, provided health care, and security here until he relocated. During that time his parents and he will have paid the taxes due in return for those services.

            He is no longer residing in the UK to benefit from its education, health, and security. His work sees’s maybe 5-10% of his time in the UK, during which time his purchases will be subjected to VAT so still making a contribution. But if he doesn’t reside here and benefit from our countries institutions I fail to see the logic that he is morally obligated to contribute.

            As for making comment, flying the flag, etc… you can be a patriot without liking a countries current institution.

            1. The Blade Runner (@)
              6th December 2016, 12:04

              As an aside, my understanding is that both the US and Australia impose their own taxes on their nationals that live and pay tax abroad.

        2. USA mandate their citizens pay their US taxes no matter where they earn the money or live

          1. They also voted Trump so…

      2. Gary, are you suggesting that ALL British sportsmen and women who legally reside abroad should have thier British passports taken away (I’m assuming you mean be stripped of their citizenship), or are you only refering to Hamilton?

        I’m sure you are aware of the numerous others that do exactly the same.

      3. This is racing not a tax court. Get a life or talk to Jenson

    15. @keithcollantine Hamilton didn’t attend Hintsa’s funeral “last weekend”. It took place yesterday.

    16. Mercedes will surely be looking at a stop-gap. Their goal has to be getting Verstappen into the car at the earliest possible opportunity. Alonso would be ideal except for the fact he would be very expensive for a stop-gap. My money is on Perez.

    17. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      6th December 2016, 7:32

      A friend of mine said the other day that Alonso (& Button) in a winning car would fix many of the perceived problems in f1. Now whilst that may be an over simplification, I’m inclined to agree. We need the f1 heavy weights in fast cars slogging it out at the front, unafraid of battle with their rivals.

      As good as Lewis is, I still believe that Alonso remains the best driver currently in f1 on race day. Some people say his qualifying performances are sub par, but I think it’s just his race performances stand out more, similar to Valentino Rossi in moto GP.

      For the good of the sport I hope Alonso gets the Merc drive.

      1. The “best” drivers don’t go 3 years without a win. Clearly Lewis is the best out there. Enough of this Alonso fantasizing

        1. Hailton is decent, but Vettel’s stats tend to argue your point.

      2. Alonso has never been better than Hamilton. Nor in Lewis’ rookie year.

      3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th December 2016, 20:35

        @peppermint-lemon

        The F1 heavyweights? How heavy are Alonso and Button? They both seem fit enough to even drive an F1 car :-)

        Great comparison of Alonso to Rossi, although I’d venture that Rossi makes up ground mostly after Lap 1.

        Alonso makes the most ground on Lap 1, doesn’t he?

        The differences between Lewis and Alonso are very small. It’d be unfair to pair them together as reliability, luck and strategy will determine the winner.

        Lewis has shown pace in the wet, wheel-to-wheel and strategy calls that almost no other driver including Alonso has shown. In that respect, he’s closer to Rossi in terms of his racing.

    18. As Sergio Perez is the third most successful driver of a Mercedes powered car this season, I think he is the one that should get Rosberg’s seat. The only other contender I think that might deserve it is Valtteri Bottas. I don’t see why anyone else would be considered. Obviously Alonso has a previous WDC, but I still think the seat belongs to one of the other two. The only reason Alonso might be considered is because he has several WDC, but there was friction between him and Hamilton at McLaren, so why would Mercedes want that again?
      I think to give the seat to anyone with less points than Valtteri Bottas would be an insult to both Perez and Bottas. Why should such a coveted seat be given to someone who has done less for the Mercedes brand?

      1. Lewisham Milton
        6th December 2016, 11:23

        Then Bernd Maylander should get the drive. People were saying it was too long since he’d raced anything…

    19. I said on another thread that I thought Merc would go for Wehrlein or Bottas but the more I think about it the more I think Alonso is a real possibility. None of the mid-field or smaller teams are going to want two inexperienced drivers if they are offered the option of Wehrlein plus an engine deal. The only team with a decent, ready made replacement in the wings, under contract, are McLaren. Button will need to drive the 2017 car at some point in case he needs to stand in for either of their front line drivers. They could allow Alonso to leave, with compensation, and then politely request JB to fill his shoes for one year.
      It could happen.

      1. Miss Appropriated
        6th December 2016, 11:45

        My money’s on Bottas but consider that McLaren are not in a totally bad position to let Alonso go. Even if Button didn’t start in favour of another newb, he’d still be a great asset for car shakedown / racecraft mentoring etc. If the rookie wasn’t working out, he’d surely be over the sabbatical mid-season.
        Williams would be not be positioned well… dark dark dark horse – Webber!

      2. One factor is that Mercedes are perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be able to sign almost whoever they like. That’s created a buzz and an interest that could backfire on them, in marketing terms, if they don’t now sign someone perceived to be a top driver. Let’s be honest, HAM versus ROS wasn’t seen as some kind of mega-showdown by anyone. Put Vettel, Alonso or (the totally unlikely) Vertappen there and it’s an instant enormous boost to the team’s popularity, and maybe the sport’s if Mercedes continue to be so dominant next season.

    20. Take what Marca and De La Rosa say with a very big grain of salt. Like Mount Everest

    21. I’m 100% sure Bottas will get the drive and Wehrlein will go to Williams for a season (until Hamilton leaves in 2017 for Ferrari).

      Toto is never going to want to manage Alonso v Hamilton. Never in a million years.

      1. Agreed.

        I’ve said before, remember the times Wolff has threatened to change the line-up because having two top drivers was such a strain to deal with, now he has his wish in a way and he will move away from that approach to simply having clear no.1 and no.2 drivers.

        It is almost certain to be Bottas as the no.2 driver.

        1. I really don’t see TW doing a 1-2 whatsoever. That would be a complete reversal of a philosophy he has reiterated even since Nico retired. He has proven he would rather manage a rivalry because that is what the fans deserve, than to not do so. They are racers at Mercedes.

          For me all I know is if TW wants to keep my eyes on Mercedes he’ll hire Alonso if at all possible. If not possible then so be it, but I have little interest in watching them if LH is not challenged. I’ll avert my attention to Max. No pairing at Mercedes could possibly come close to LH/FA other than perhaps SV there.

          1. That would be a complete reversal of a philosophy he has reiterated even since Nico retired. He has proven he would rather manage a rivalry because that is what the fans deserve, than to not do so.

            I think his actions in the Abu Dhabi GP reveal more about him than anything he has said to the media. Telling Hamilton to stop fighting for the championship so that the team could secure a 1-2 … tell me why that Toto Wolff wouldn’t want a clear No1 and No2 driver.

            but I have little interest in watching them if LH is not challenged. I’ll avert my attention to Max

            To be fair if the FOM directors decide to spend as much time focusing on “celebs” in the back of garages during races as they did this year you’ll be watching neither.

            1. @Martin I think we have all seen during the LH/NR rivalry time and time again the cameras going to TW and Niki et al and they’ve been equally happy with either driver’s wins. And even moreso with their numerous 1-2’s no matter the order. It’s not just about what TW has said to the media…he’s proven over and over with actions, that he’s been fair to both drivers.

              I frankly believe that what has happened is that after LH’s 2015 win of the WDC it went to his head, and he’s had an attitude of entitlement stronger than that of gratitude ever since. I personally don’t think the team did anything to try to stop LH’s Championship hopes…they wanted him to speed up and win the race which is something he truly needed to do anyway. That they didn’t help him take extraordinary measures to back Nico into trouble is not something I think they thought they owed Lewis, nor did they owe Nico a screwing over. Lewis is the one that has only insinuated for much of the season some sort of conspiracy on the team, even causing them to publish a lengthy letter defending the 1500 staff, after his ‘for no apparent reason’ comment. And there’s been other innuendos since as you know.

              So if indeed TW didn’t favour LH, which would have also meant a screwing of Nico, I’m absolutely fine with that. It’s just more equality. LH, imho this year did not earn the extraordinary measures it would have taken to favour him over Nico, and with that attitude nobody should be surprised, especially LH. I 100% believe TW is honourable and is a true racer at heart and wants that for his team and for F1 overall. Everyone seems to only ask why they would give LH an instruction. Few seem to ask it this way…why didn’t they screw Nico with more help for Lewis? Answer…because that’s not how they roll. LH fairly won two WDCs with them, then became accusatory all season, and people still expected them to hang Nico out with extraordinary measures for LH? Just doesn’t work that way.

      2. +1 Only way of Alonso driving for Mercedes is if Hamilton goes back to Mclaren.
        But I see him in Ferrari for 2018 and Vettel in Mercedes.
        For next season Mercedes will have Bottas or on of their juior drivers Ocon or Wherlein.

    22. Mercedes surely aren’t crazy enough to put Hamilton and Alonso together. And definitely not crazy enough to pay untold millions to break Alonso’s McLaren contract to make it happen. Marketing arms of massive carmakers don’t take risks like that.

      Initially, I had Bottas down as my first choice. Only, I like Williams and wouldn’t want to see them without an experienced, quality driver going into 2017… nor would they. So I’d then say Perez would be my first choice… but Force India wouldn’t want an experience-free lineup either. Which brings me to Sainz… and I think he’d make a lot of sense. So I’ll settle on him as my first pick.

      But before I go… I’m probably in a minority here (maybe a minority of one) but I don’t think di Resta would be that bad a call. I’d consider him ahead of Wehrlein at this point in time, anyway, purely as a one-season stand-in. He’d toe the team line, cost peanuts, knows the power unit and paddock, was always solid enough as a driver and doesn’t appear to have a somewhat unattractive attitude problem.

      1. Far from risky, the attention Mercedes would garner with a LH/FA pairing would be off the charts, and hand over fist way moreso than any other pairing.

    23. Alonso to Mercedes and Raikkonen to McLaren. :D

    24. Absolutely convinced that the only reason the BBC are suggesting di Resta is because of how much they (still) love him, which was so obvious during their broadcasting years it was almost as cringeworthy as Sky’s coverage.

      1. It’s Allan McNish @telvee32. It still grates when I think they got rid of Gary Anderson.

    25. I’ll be surprised if Mercedes pick another top line driver to pair with Hamilton, considering how hard to handle their previous pairing was.

      1. Reading here for a couple of years that Rosberg was a minor talent and a clear #2 so is it a comeback for Palmer?

    26. I seriously doubt that talented drivers from regular middle class families such as Gilles Villeneuve or James Hunt …

      Now I love reading Gordon Kirby’s stuff, but that line rankles a bit. I am happy to be proved wrong, but Gilles and Hunt were from very different backgrounds so I don’t think they should be lumped together. Hunt was the son of a stockbroker and went to a public school and (from what I have read) Gilles was from a more blue collar background.

    27. The Rosberg seat saga really isn’t talking extensively about options other than Alonso and Wehrlein. Not hearing much out of Bottas, Perez or Sainz.

      I would love for them to have Alonso. If 2017 is a tight fought battle between Red Bull and Mercedes, there isn’t a better driver who could take the fight to them. However, I don’t realistically see Mercedes wanting to hire Alonso, primarily because they cannot handle the stress of 2 big names in one team.

      I really hope they do not do down the absolutely uninspiring route – which would be to hire Bottas or Wehrlein. Both those drivers would be hired as pure #2s in the team and Lewis would dominate them in every FP session, Quali session and Race.

      I think Perez and Sainz would be good options. Perez could deliver strong results and definitely challenge Hamilton on a lot of occasions. The only problem with Perez might be the negative feedback the Mclaren team had about Perez’s lack of team player attitude and how he didn’t quite cut the mustard for a top team. Sainz has been pretty impressive in his 2 years so far, and was a tough match for Verstappen, who seems to be the most coveted driver on the grid right now.

      1. Sainz is fast but not what you call a racer like Hamilton. His overtakes take too long and he lacks aggression. More like Rosberg: setting good laptimes but not a hard racer.
        Lewis needs someone who can challenge him. Sainz in a total new car with 3 years experience cannot do that.

        I think Sainz is more consistent then Perez.

        Bottas has more experience but I don’t see top talent.

        So Alonso or Vettel.

      2. The Rosberg seat saga really isn’t talking extensively about options other than Alonso and Wehrlein. Not hearing much out of Bottas, Perez or Sainz

        That’s probably because Alonso is the press’ (and probably the fans) dream and Wehrlien is a fairly logical choice as a Mercedes junior @todfod.

        I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the challenge Bottas could offer Hamilton, he is a very very sorted racing driver and has a great turn of speed. If Hamilton thinks he’ll be able to call it in against Bottas, he’ll be very surprised.

    28. I think it makes very little sense for Mercedes to go for Alonso.

      But man would that be a nice Christmas present of them for all F1 fans. They would instantly transform me and I bet a lot of others into fans of that team for such a balsy move!

      All we can do is hope…

    29. My opinion:
      – Mercedes needs someone who can compete with Lewis otherwise he will get bored if no other team can be a challenge and might quit (he already threatened once).
      – If Lewis leaves (mid-season?) they need someone who can take over and is as good as Lewis. Otherwise they might get stuck without a top driver and loose championship, etc.

      So Wehrlein is not a real good option. I don’t know if Bottas can give Lewis any challenge.
      So Alonso it will be.

      If Lewis would quit against Alonso he will look like a looser, so that will make him think really hard about it.
      F1 needs good battles so top drivers have to be in position to compete in the top teams, not at the back of the field.

    30. I wonder why hardly anybody mentions the possibility of Merc buying out Kimi.
      He was more or less on par with Seb this year and is not Arrivabene’s favourite child, so writing a small check would do.
      He’s basically a top driver who would not be missed at Ferrari, probably replaced by Gutierrez.

      Any thoughts?

    31. No need for Alonso at Mercedes. Get Bottas or Wehrlein and keep the peace. Alonso and Mclaren deserve each other.

    32. From an entertainment point of view, because that’s what F1 is, Alonso would be my preferred driver. There is not much entertainment value from a less experienced #2 trundling around picking up points for the team championship, especially since team orders are now allowed. Alonso and Hamilton taking the attack to the superior red bulls, that’s what I want to see.

      1. Agree and in case the Mercs are still dominant we need a real rivalry there or the season will be a one-man show. Certainly TW won’t be assuming RBR will dominate, so I hope he sticks to his guns about honouring the fans with an enthralling rivalry at the top. Whether Merc remains dominant or not, it won’t due to turn the team into a one-man effort with a natural number two.

    33. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      6th December 2016, 13:41

      Alonso Vs Hamilton part 2 is exactly the box office draw that F1 needs, combined with sexier looking cars, a closer field and quicker lap times I would subscribe to Sky’s 4K coverage if these things come to pass!

      A Bottas or equivalent in the second seat though would just be Lewis Vs Kovaleinen all over again.

    34. The more I think about this and the more it does not make sense, the more I believe that it has to happen. The ultimate showdown for F1 supremacy. Realistically Alonso’s last shot at a title up against a wounded Hamilton. The Senna v Prost of today, round 2. Round 1 was a warm-up.

    35. As much as I believe Sainz would be the best pick strategically for Mercedes, I think choosing Alonso will be a 2017 Box Office.
      Toto just made new statement in Sky interview that he scrap the #1 and #2 driver option.

    36. Merc can bring back Kamui in Rosberg seat… the bloke still has it and all the field stay as it is.

    37. Why would Mercedes hire a driver like Alonso? He is not as quick as Hamilton and far more unmanageable.
      They must be crazy.

    38. Time for TOT to call Jos verstappen again.
      Father and son on the track.. nice ;)

    39. IF Alonso could match Hamilton (Which to me is the pertinent point), then Merc would be almost guaranteed retaining WCC, assuming the car is competitive. Handling both of the drivers will be worth the headache. Key thing for Merc are results. As long as the Merc juggernaut keeps winning, that’s all that matters. Ideally, challenging Hamilton, etc, etc isn’t relevant. Merc have a driver who has proved across 3-4 seasons to be a consistent top performing driver, Merc simply need another consistent performer.

      Personally, i’d like to see Wehrlein get the drive, but i’d have to concede that it is a gamble…

    40. Alonso and Jenson tick the same boxes for me. Good drivers, world champions, but past it and overrated.
      Alonso was in the same car as Lewis before – Lewis was a formula one rookie, alonso was the double defending world champion.
      How did that year go?

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