Alonso waits - Button, Magnussen downstream so what happens next?
The paddock at Interlagos is always a place which intensifies any burning topic of the moment - it's something about the close proximity of the tea...
The paddock at Interlagos is always a place which intensifies any burning topic of the moment - it's something about the close proximity of the teams' offices, the sense that everyone is on top of each other - and this year is no exception.
The most significant open loop of the moment is what happens next with Fernando Alonso and both McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen are downstream of that situation, waiting.
Button's body language and demeanour suggests that he suspects that Abu Dhabi could be his 266th and last Grand Prix, bringing down the curtain on the third longest driving career in F1 history. He is talking openly about having a crack at winning the World Triathlon championship and about other areas of motorsport.
It's easy to write a story saying 'the deal is done' but people in the know here in Interlagos say that Alonso hasn't signed the contract yet, he is waiting too.
Alonso at 33 knows that he needs to win another championship in the next two to three years and clearly Mercedes is the best place to be next year. He's been waiting to see whether something might give in the Mercedes set up, but it has not happened.
Meanwhile he's been playing hardball with Ferrari over the premature end of his contract, so that if he does end up sitting out 2015, he is at least collecting a significant sum of money while he does so.
Alonso is playing a poker game. He made noises about leaving Ferrari and Marco Mattiacci and his team concluded that they need a driver who will commit to a three year restructuring programme, so they signed Sebastian Vettel. The German, at 27, has time on his side and a strong appetite to race "My best years are still ahead of me," he told BBC 5 Live this afternoon.
Alonso has been weighing up whether to take a risk that Honda and McLaren together can build a car to beat Mercedes, Red Bull and a restructured Ferrari over the next three years. But Honda's patience is not infinite, nor is McLaren's. Decision time is looming if the team is to fulfil it's stated plan to announce the 2015 drivers by the last race.
Meanwhile Kevin Magnussen also has to wait, but he doesn't have much choice, as he admitted himself this morning. Asked if he feels he has done enough to book his seat for 2015, he said,
"I can only say I hope so. I think I’ve learned a lot. I’ve improved a lot in many areas and yeah, I’m sure I have a lot more potential even from where I am now. So, I hope so.
"They are not doing that (making him wait) to annoy me. They have a reason for it. I understand why I’ve not been told yet. Some things are still not sorted out from their side and if they could let me know, they would.
"I can only just wait and see what happens. I’m not planning anything else, I’m not looking for anything else. I’m planning as if I’m here next year, so that’s what I’m working for and doing my best to get to."
What do you think? Will Alonso end up taking the McLaren Honda deal? Leave your comment below
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