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Every year towards the end of the season, the world of Formula One racing plays a big game of musical chairs as drivers' contracts come up for renewal and seats open up. Sometimes drivers end up in the same chair they were in before, but this season we've got reason to believe there'll be a big switch. And the key to that switch depends on Fernando Alonso more than anyone else, according to Ross Brawn.

The former Ferrari technical guru and current head of Honda's F1 racing program points towards the lackluster performance of Renault this year as clear evidence that Alonso will seek out a new team. Where he will end up remains a big question mark, however, as almost all the teams would welcome the two-time world champion to their ranks, and would be willing to hold off signing their other drivers until Alonso has sat down.

[Source: Autosport, Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Personally, I hope that he doesn't go to Honda. I am a big Honda fan, and I like Button and Barrichello there. Unless Barrichello decides to retire, I hope Honda keeps its current drivers.

      Unless Kimi goes and a seat opens up at Ferrari, I think we will see Alonso stay at Renault, or over to Williams if they offer him a big enough check for a short-term deal.

      The other guy to watch to see where he moves is Robert Kubica. He has done amazingly well driving that BMW Sauber that hasn't seen much work put into it for the last few GPs. Unless he knows something about BMW's '09 car, I could see a team willing to pay the right price landing him.

      I think the other drivers, apart from the ones we know about like Vettel and Coulthard, will stay where they are, with the possible exception of Nakajima. He hasn't been very good at Williams this year, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him moved to third driver to open up a seat for Alonso.
        • 6 Years Ago

        That's a good point, if Rubens came to race in ALMS that would be nothing but win win for Acura's program.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't forget that Barrichello got Honda's only podium finish this year after some great driving and intelligence at Silverstone.

        But, seeing him in ALMS would still be good, and he could maintain an advisory role with Honda like Schumacher does with Ferrari
        • 6 Years Ago
        All Barrichello has done recently is say how much he is loving it and how he is faster then ever. I love that mans attitude and would hate to see him leave the sport. I just want him in a car that he can race more!
        • 6 Years Ago
        pmiddle5: Leaving F1 for an Acura P2 car in the ALMS or ELMS would not be leaving the sport.

        F1 is a young man's game & Rubens in not helping Honda in its quest to return to the front of the F1 grid. IMO he serve Honda much better in sports cars... I'm sure fellow Brazilian Gil deFerran would welcome him on his team for 2009.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have actually thought about that several times... I would love to see him in the ALMS (Gil De Ferran has hinted such) or the IRL. Maybe we could get him onto like AGR or Penske or something, anyteam that races in both.

        I still love seeing him in F1 and hope he continues on in any series no matter what. Its funny though seeing drivers leave F1 like Scott Speed, Alex Wurz, etc.. then loving the new series they are racing in because of its friendly atmosphere
      • 6 Years Ago
      I doubt he would go to Honda, his best bet is to stick with Renault unless a Ferrari seat opens up.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @azzo... FYI, Honda F1s Budget is about 50% higher than Renaults........ just so you know.
        • 6 Years Ago
        hashiryu: F1 teams are pretty tight lipped about their budgets... numbers that are in the press are ESTIMATES.

        Yes, Carlos Ghosn is a known tight-wad, but hard to believe they are 50% LOWER than ING Renault. Privately, Honda F1 has conceded that their lack of a title sponsor has been a bit of a mystery (& would like to solve this)

        Problem is, if Honda is running with Force India & the former Super Aguri team... they are not exactly attracting big $$$ title sponsorship & Corporate Honda can't be pleased bankrolling a back-of-the-pack F1 effort.
        • 6 Years Ago
        2009 regulations are going to be so different that it's probably better to go with a better funded team or one who are well into their development for that season, like Honda.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Renault has MUCH more corporate $$$ than Honda F1.

        Even though Renault's livery is extremely FUGLY at least its represents actual paying sponsors... Honda's livery is almost as ugly, but represents a confusing Honda promo message (Earth Dreams).

        Alonso is better off taking his chances @ Renault & a team with a proper budget... unless Honda & Brawn can build sponsorship around the former 2 time WDC
      • 6 Years Ago
      I really think Honda would be the likely candidate. Honda has a great technical director now in Ross Brawn and now all they lack is a great driver that knows how to setup and get every ounce of performance out of a car, and Fernando can do that. The last time that happened you saw a great little team called Bennesomethingorother with some German guy driving and Ross Brawn heading the technical effort, I think that duo went on to be fairly successful. Plus as mentioned before, Honda unlike Renault has the cash to dish out.

      BTW, did anyone watch the ITV coverage of the race this weekend? Was the Schumacher interview not hilarious, and when they tried to get a word with Kimi I almost died. If you don't watch the ITV stuff you need to if only for the comedy that ensues and the unashamed ball riding of "Sir. Lewis Hamilton" and "Lord Anthony of Hamiltonia".
      • 6 Years Ago
      According to webxact
      they claim that Trulli is unhappy with the coming night Race in Singapore

      I cant see why night racing is an issue when Nascar have been fine with it for years

      article: http://www.webxact.co.uk/2008/08/f1-drivers-are-trulli-concerned-about.html
      • 6 Years Ago
      Renault/Nissan led by Carlos Ghosn (I think thats how you spell it) is a bit of a cheapo compared to the rest of the heavy hitters. Honda is in F1 for the long haul, they have been in F1 for decades and with the past 2 decades or so not being very successful and they still have not given up.

      Definitely with all the changes for 09, its hard to say who will come forward to challenge Ferrari/McLaren and who will stay midpack or worse. BMW should be strong, it looks like Redbull is going to be fairly strong. The only people from the back of the pack currently I suspect to get better is Honda. They are the only factory team that is consistently worse then every other factory team so they can only get better.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't forget that Ghosn's feet dragging re. Renault's commitment to F1 is what most likely caused them to lose ALonos to McLaren in the first place and the Reggie's lack of engine development certainly doesn't help them win the argument that Alonso should stay.

        Poor Fernando.

        I do think that he IS the best driver in F1 - and by a good margin.
        • 6 Years Ago
        bleh. Thats a very hard thing to say. He does work very hard with the car though so its better to say he is a great development driver. His super aggressive turn in while fun to watch is kinda bad news.

        But he likes a car with a little understeer so he can muscle it around. On faster tracks thats better then someone who likes a car thats a little oversteery so his driving style will naturally be faster.

        There is no "best driver" just at times the best car, driver, and track combination that allows them to kick ass.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Even with the new rules that come into play for next year, for Honda to go from the near bottom to being a legitimate contender would a Herculean feat. Alonso has a tough decision because the real problem is that money doesn't always equal results, regardless of the rules. Incidentally, Honda and Renault (along with Toyota) are the prime examples of this. However, I'd have to say that Honda seems to be the best choice, more so because of Ross Brawn rather than their budget.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ross Brawn=results. Especially when teamed with large resources
      • 6 Years Ago
      He will go to Honda, I'd bet. Brawn IS the mastermind who turned around Ferrari (Sorry JT). Alonso and Brawn with Honda's resources as we move into a new (read, Kinetic Energy Recovery System) era of F1 would be a formidable force.

      Of course, I also wouldn't be surprised if Raikkonen quit his contract with the Scuderia a year early and went home to find a bar to hang out at - he seems bored with it all. Then, Fernando would certainly be driving with a Cavallino Rampante on his coveralls, though that may not sit well with Massa, should he win the World Driver's Championship.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I totally agree about Raikkonen. I think he's done after this year. He just doesn't seem to have the same desire to race like he did last year and in previous years.

        I would think Alonso's best bet is to stay put at Renault. But I also think the '09 regs are going to have a lot to do with it also. Whoever seems to have the best package to fit these new rules is where Alonso is going to try to put himself. I don't think Ferrari will touch him. They might try to retain Massa now and look to Vettel to pair up with him.
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