The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

One Too Many at Ferrari

30-10-2014

The following article, by Michael Schmidt, was posted on the website of Auto, Motor und Sport:

 

Ferrari still has three drivers for the coming season on board. Kimi Raikkonen has a contract for 2015, as does newcomer Sebastian Vettel. And also Fernando Alonso, who has apparently not yet legally terminated his contract and is playing poker for a severance payment.

Ferrari and Fernando Alonso are still not divorced. There is still no official statement. Quite obviously Alonso has noticed that he has maybe over-speculated himself in this poker game. And he is now trying to make the most of the awkward situation. Mercedes has made it clear that he has no hope in 2015 or 2016 of getting a seat with them. The champion team will continue with the pairing Rosberg / Hamilton.

Because Red Bull would prefer to rely on Daniil Kvyat from its own ranks, and Williams has 2015 contracts with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas and is tied up until 2016 at the earliest, the last option Alonso has is a place at McLaren-Honda. There he would undoubtedly be handsomely rewarded, but runs the risk of opening a new building site! McLaren, with its new engine partner Honda, is like Ferrari a long-term project. Not necessarily what Alonso was looking for.

Under these circumstances, the two-times world champion has to consider the option of taking a year off. He would like to be paid for that. But by whom? Best by the team by whom you are still employed. And the one he may still be tied to with a contract until 2016. We are told that there are different views about the opt-out clause which had been signed by Alonso or a legal representative,.

The dispute is about the point at which Alonso had to be worse than 3rd place in the world championship in order to become a free agent. In the belief that the period corresponded to the Italian GP, they agreed on a separation. But 3rd appeared to relate to the end of the season. And Alonso could still theoretically get third place. There are still three races to go.

Apparently Alonso’s lawyers are convinced that the option under these circumstances is of no great value. Accordingly, Alonso could in the next year still be a Ferrari employee.

Rumours have it that the Spaniards is giving Ferrari a choice: either a drive or a severance payment. But this is not what Ferrari want. Why pay someone who wants to leave the team? A drive is not an option, because you already have two drivers with Vettel and Raikkonen.

Mediation talks have brought no breakthrough. Both parties are trying to avoid a court case. They would rather look for a golden compromise and a trouble-free solution. If Alonso does not soon sign for 2015 at McLaren, Ferrari will have to pay him well. Then they can finally announce Sebastian Vettel.