Well Formula One 2016 season has ended and it gave us a 33rd champion in the 66 odd years history of the sport by the name of Nico Rosberg. So while everyone thought that everything will simmer down till at least February when the Car launches happen, Nico Rosberg surprised the world by announcing a shock retirement from Formula One.
And that in turn has opened up the most coveted drive on the grid which has resulted in a flurry amongst all the drivers and if Niki Lauda’s claim is to be believed then almost every driver on the grid has offered himself for the post.
As of now several names are being touted for the drive including Wehrlein, Vettel, Bottas and to everyone’s hopes and prayers Alonso. While Vettel has a contract with Ferrari for next year, so does Bottas with Williams and Alonso with McLaren.
Pascal Wehrlein would be the obvious choice given he is Mercedes’s reserve driver but in promoting him the team risks of throwing him to the top too soon. Bottas is managed by Toto Wolff which translates to a strong link to the Mercedes drive but Williams having signed a rookie for next year will make letting go of Bottas out of his contract a whole lot harder (read costlier) for Mercedes. In Vettel, Mercedes have a guarantee of a top notch performer and his German nationality goes well with the team but if Vettel’s comments are any indications then he has no interest pairing up with Hamilton rather giving his best to emulate Schumacher in the Italian stable. Alonso too has a contract with McLaren who’ll try their level best to retain the two time world champion in the wake of a dismal but improving union with Honda.
Therefore it seems like a two horse race between Wehrlein and Alonso, fueled by Toto Wolff’s admission that they cannot rule out Alonso and that talks for Wehrlein’s move to Sauber has been put on hold, for the 2nd all conquering beast Mercedes has produced for the last three years. If you go by the rant of the fans then the unanimous vote would be favour of Alonso but it’s the Silver Arrows managment that’ll be taking a decision and these are the reasons why Alonso in Mercedes would be a bad bad bad idea.
When childhood friends turned Championship contender in 2014, everyone thought that Lewis Hamilton would walk away with the crown given the level of difference of talent between the two. However to everyone’s surprise Rosberg turned out to be more than a match for the Brit giving him a run for his money. This fierce competition brought delights to the fans but also headache for Mercedes who just 4 years after returning to the grid found themselves in the oven of a championship battle. The team over the course of 3 years faced the intense challenge of keeping their two warring drivers together as a team while also allowing them them the freedom to race on top of ensuring equal opportunities for both its drivers.
And this here is the Mercedes’s weak link, that is, their internal management and a general control over the drivers. This weakness has aired again and again over the course of years be in 2014 when Rosberg famously let his front wing crash into Hamilton and Merc could only impose a fiscal fine on the German or the latest in 2016 when the Pit wall gave team instructions to Hamilton only for it to fall on deaf years and if news is to be believed then Hamilton has been let off the hook.
The German squad has been unable to reign in its drivers and assert control over them whenever either of ’em have tried to put the ‘i’ in the Team and this problem is capable of exploding to new levels if Alonso joins the team. Given Alonso’s talent and level of performance and his hunger for a third world title and Hamilton’s passion to win and defeat his opposition, the two being together would definitely result into a scenario of meeting of an unstoppable force with an immovable object and we all know what happens when it does.
The 2007 Fiasco
Speaking of disasters we are and 2007 was indeed a disaster when the duo did pair up and that turned out to be a disaster of a season for McLaren. While Fernando came to the team expecting a numero uno status, Hamilton the rookie was eager to show to the world his talents and he was not going to play second fiddle to the defending world champion. The pair turned out to be awfully closely matched and their battle quickly escalated both on track and off it and to such a degree that it even got out of the hands of team principal Ron Dennis resulting in a famous fallout between the Spaniard and Dennis.
And 2007 has the higher management at Stuttgart worried that if Ron Dennis who endured the Senna-Prost storm could not manage the Hamilton-Alonso pairing then how Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe are going to deal with this scenario especially having a hard time managing Rosberg and Hamilton.
Mooted as one of the reason why Mercedes will not sign Alonso is the Spygate scandal of 2007 involving Ferrari and McLaren. But it was McLaren you ask? Right you are but also forgetful of the fact that in 2007 McLaren was the works team of Mercedes after the duo joined hands in 1995. The McLaren-Mercedes relationship was not a one off and both the giants were closely involved not only in F1 but also off it as Mercedes capitalized its brand on a successful partnership with the Woking based team. In 2007 when the war between Ron Dennis and Alonso waged on, the Spaniard threatened and allegedly blackmailed the team principal.
The Spygate saga costed McLaren-Mercedes a record sporting fine of $100million and Mercedes’ reputation was deeply damaged and Alonso left after a single fractious season.
Despite how much every fan hope to see the duo have a go at each other in equal machinery, the truth is the Spaniard-Briton pairing in every permutation, every scenario ends up in a disaster for Mercedes.
Therefore there echos only one thought from Stuttgart, Alonso would be a bad idea.