With the demise of Holden dominating the headlines in the run-up to the start of the 2020 Supercars season, the time for the cars and drivers to take centre stage has come at the curtain raising Adelaide 500.
After the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday night gave weary Formula One fans hope that the season is not turning into the Lewis Hamilton becoming Ayrton Senna show, the most interesting bit of gossip over the weekend involved Red Bull. But it wasn’t about the upcoming divorce with Renault and courtship with Ferrari.
During the coverage of the Grand Prix weekend, the rumour was dropped about a potential move of Fernando Alonso to Red Bull.
While rumours are just that, and the move seems very unlikely given the current line-up is from the factory of talent developed by Red Bull themselves, it is a move that makes the mouth water as Formula One needs him further up the grid.
The performance of Red Bull over the weekend was very promising, and if they can get a Ferrari engine to give them more wings next year it could be a seat worth fighting over in 2016. Certainly a seat worth jumping to instead of crossing your fingers and hoping McLaren Honda sorts itself out before retirement arrives.
Alonso is a winner, and if he left McLaren there would some comment of not being able to see out the too-hard basket project, but that will soon disappear if he was able to return to the front of the grid.
In fact, given the poor performance of McLaren Honda this season – and that the situation is unlikely to improve rapidly in this cost cutting development era of Formula One – Fernando Alonso should use some of the millions he’s earned in his glittering career and pay for the Red Bull drive himself. Or do it for nothing, like Senna offered to do at Williams during their dominance in the 1990s.
Even better, with Bernie Ecclestone looking for ways to improve the show, instead of sprint races, short cuts and sprinklers, maybe the boss of Formula One could pay for the move himself, to put a big name driver in a seat capable of taking it to the Silver Arrows next season alongside the Ferraris. There’s surely some value in that investment if there can be a different coloured car at the front of the grid.
So who would he replace? A tough question, and it would be tough on either Red Bull driver, unless this sneaky Alonso move opens up the musical chairs again.
Both Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo have done okay given the equipment at hand this year, though the Australian has plenty of credit in the bank after his three wins last season. He would be the more likely to partner Alonso.
That end result would be tough on the Russian if he had to move aside as he matched Ricciardo so far in 2016, but Formula One can be a nasty business, and Red Bull can be as ruthless as anyone.
If it did happen, it may not make Red Bull a more competitive package overnight, but given how good the Ferrari engine looked in the hands of Sebastian Vettel it surely wouldn’t be a backwards step to take Ferrari engines and Alonso next year. Who knows, with a big name driver on board they may even tempt a new engine name into the sport.
At the end of the day, it probably won’t happen as you could imagine a McLaren contract to be Alcatraz-like in its clauses, but it would certainly give Formula One fans something to think about next year if it did.