Ferrari is not looking back, having put its ‘Alonso era’ swiftly behind.
After departed number 1 Fernando Alonso’s 2015 replacement Sebastian Vettel won in Malaysia, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera said: “Sebastian leaves the Alonso era behind and leads us back to where the Ferrari success story was interrupted”.
Alonso, now at the back of the grid at struggling McLaren-Honda, insists he made the right choice, but a Reuters reporter admitted after Sepang that he felt a “twinge of pity” for the 33-year-old.
And The Times said Malaysia had left Alonso “red-faced”.
One likely April Fool’s headline on Wednesday might be that Alonso has found a hidden clause in his old Ferrari contract that allows him to now return to the red cockpit.
But would Ferrari be happy to pair Sepang winner Vettel with the feisty Alonso?
“I do not think that this possibility was ever really considered,” team boss Maurizio Arrivabene told Germany’s Sport Bild.
“It is also pointless to think about it, because we are absolutely happy with the driver pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel,” he insisted.
The situation means Alonso, his supporters and the rest of the F1 world will have to be content with the 33-year-old’s new project with works Honda power.
“He and Jenson (Button) are two very experienced drivers,” Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo, “and I am sure they will fight for the podium.”
Another man tipping McLaren-Honda to build its form is Carlos Sainz, the world rallying legend and father of Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz jr, who is close to Alonso.
“He is at the start of the process of building up a major project,” Sainz told Marca sports newspaper.
“I am convinced that they will take giant steps quickly and will be trying to close the gap as soon as possible.” (GMM)