How do you solve a problem like Maranello?
It’s no secret that the teams’ issues lay within the car itself, and not the drivers; especially if this week’s comments from former engine chief Luca Marmorini are anything to go by.
Nevertheless, with the likes of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen on the books, it is more than expected from both team and driver, and as per it’s the latter which come under most scrutiny in silly season. So, what’s the situation?
Fernando Alonso is a wanted man. McLaren have made it clear over the past 12 months that they are trying to coax the Spaniard back to Woking thanks to Alonso continuing to impress and outperform, dragging the Prancing Horse towards the front of the grid time after time.
However, with Honda on-board at McLaren for 2015 and an ambitious team of drooling McLaren big-wigs yearning for his signature, a deal for 2016 might just happen – despite a somewhat chequered history between the two parties.
As for Kimi, recent comments from the Finn have suggested that his current contract until the end of 2015 could be his last in F1, with retirement seemingly on the horizon along with becoming a first-time father.
Ready to snap up a potentially vacant Ferrari race seat is current Marussia peddler Jules Bianchi, with the Ferrari Development Driver continuing to dominate the lower echelons of Formula One. Sporadic Q2 appearances and earning Marussia their first points at Monaco this year have done nothing but strengthen his case for a top-level drive. There’s very little in the way of competition emerging should a set of red race overalls become available soon.
And then there’s the big rumour- Sebastian Vettel. Seb has been linked with Ferrari over the past two seasons with the tantalising prospect of an Alonso-Vettel partnership sending many into a quivering mess. Could arguably the strongest possible driver line up become anything more than a pipe-dream? Vettel would surely want technical assurances that Ferrari at present can’t offer, but that said, Red Bull are no longer setting the world alight themselves, with Renault still slacking and Adrian Newey on his way out. The landscape is certainly changing.
Other potential Kimi replacements include Nico Hulkenberg, who is ALWAYS linked to a top drive, and Valtteri Bottas, with the Williams driver enjoying a mighty 2014 and attracting interest from Ferrari, Mercedes and even more potently, McLaren, who we examine in tomorrow’s edition of Badger does Silly Season.