Over the last few weeks, rumors spread like wildfire about the all the controversies, and circumstances in relation to Fernando Alonso’s crash during testing in Barcelona. Speculation about him not being able to ever race again, have also been raised, but they have been quickly aside by those close to him, and McLaren. He might miss the season opener at Australia, but, inspite of all this, one cannot ever rule out the chances of Alonso doing well at McLaren, this season and possibly winning the title beyond this season.
Nobody will ever forget the 2007 season and acrimonious fallout between Fernando Alonso (his nickname is El Nano*) and then team boss (now McLaren Group CEO) Ron Dennis. So, it would have been very strange to even predict, that Alonso would ever re-join McLaren, under Dennis’ stewardship. But in Formula 1, one can never say ever. Eight years on, the two men find themselves cast together all over again, in the hope that this time the story ends a little more happily. Alonso reassured McLaren fans that, it was his decision to re-join the team, to make up for what happened in 2007. It might not have been his smartest decision, considering the struggles, that McLaren are having, but with a new Honda engine, the future looks endearing.
Why, you might wonder, would McLaren want Alonso back, after a season, where they lost everything from a winning position? The first and most important reason is obvious – because they believe he is about the best driver out there. The second is that McLaren need to make a statement of intent at the start of their relationship with Honda, and signing Alonso is a big one. Many fellow drivers do reckon Fernando as the most complete driver right now, and him spearheading the new generation of McLaren-Honda, could be regarded as something special.
Eric Boullier, has played an effective hand in getting Alonso to McLaren, by convincing him to join the team, in order to have a better chance of that elusive third World title, than he ever had at Ferrari . Equally, although McLaren’s car has clearly been well behind the best in the past two years – and well off Ferrari’s, too, for that matter – the team have been making changes. The signing of Peter Prodromou from Red Bull, where he was extremely instrumental, has also swung things into McLaren’s favour.
Although, some may suggest, that Alonso maybe a disruptive, influence in the team, his hunger for success is unparalleled. He gives everything in his quest to achieve that and he expects his team to provide him with the equipment to do so. Although, much of the recent headlines has been about the controversies surrounding Alonso’s crash, the greatness of this man, is always appreciated. His attitude makes him a perfect fit for McLaren, at a time when they really need a marquee driver. Alonso has gone to McLaren to win, and win big. Perhaps not next year, but sooner rather than later. (Aniket Mohan)