Corriere dello Sport reports that Alonso looks set to move to Honda-powered McLaren next year with a pay-rise, following a reported announcement this week at the Japanese marque’s very own Suzuka circuit.
Some, however, cannot believe the 33-year-old will actually reunite with Ron Dennis, where at Woking in 2007 the pair clashed spectacularly.
But even Alonso’s career-long mentor Flavio Briatore has now told Auto Bild: “At McLaren it was not a perfect combination. But you never know – people can change.”
Indeed, it appears McLaren’s attitude may already have changed. In the past few days, McLaren has added a driver to the ‘heritage’ section of its official website that has never been featured or even mentioned before: Alonso.
It reads: “When the history books are written, Alonso’s name will be writ large as one of the sport’s all-time greats.”
A McLaren spokesman explained: “We used not to include profiles of ex-McLaren drivers who are still driving in Formula 1 albeit for other teams, but, following requests from our fans that we alter that policy, we duly did so.”
It has also been reported that Alonso and his management have made enquiries at reigning world champions Red Bull and Formula 1’s dominant team Mercede, but these options have been ruled out for now.
Another wild report doing the rounds at present is that Alonso could team up with the Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll and buy into Lotus – the Enstone based team with which he won his two titles as Renault in 2005 and 2006.
The report has been repeated even by the respected veteran Swiss journalist Roger Benoit, who writes for Blick newspaper. Others, however, believe Alonso will stay at Ferrari, at least for one more season.
Cadena Ser, Spain’s premier radio network, claims Alonso went out with his mechanics in Singapore recently and “reassured them not to listen to all the unfounded reports”.
Meanwhile incoming president Sergio Marchionne is not intervening for now, despite acknowledging there is a problem, “At the problem I am not caring for it.”
“This issue is being dealt with by Mattiacci, and we will discuss it after October 13,” said Marchionne, referring to the date on which he will take command.
He also seemed to confirm that Ferrari is having to deal with an issue of driver selection, “I confirm this, but the decision also depends on the drivers and what they want.” (