Awaiting the Alonso domino to fall for F1’s silly season

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Speculation has run rampant regarding Fernando Alonso’s future with Ferrari, almost to the point where it’s completely out of control.

Depending where you look, Alonso is either begrudgingly staying at Ferrari, on the move to McLaren, Lotus or Red Bull or even taking off a year.

The Italian La Gazzetta dello Sport – a paper which has always been close to Alonso and Ferrari – has said in recent days that Alonso has told the team of his intentions to leave.

Meanwhile a further report from the German Bild has said that if billionaire Lawrence Stroll emerges as a potential of Lotus, rather than Sauber, that Alonso’s longtime manager Flavio Briatore could assist in a switch there. Such a return, however unlikely, would be his third stint at Enstone (2003-2006, 2008-2009).

A deeper analysis from Autosport reveals the situation is more complex, as Alonso and Ferrari are at the point where they need to reaffirm their commitment to each other or mutually go their separate ways.

The contract that has Alonso at Ferrari until 2016 appeared to be ironclad, although there were reports earlier this year that there was a performance-based out clause if Ferrari finished outside the top three in the Constructor’s Champonship.

Quite honestly it’s to the point where stories – such as this one – are needing to be written to apprise the public at large of what Alonso’s situation is, but only Alonso really knows where he’s going, and what he’s doing.

It provides a level of intrigue in not knowing where he’ll shift, but it also allows the rumor mill to spin wildly out of control.

Although this silly season has already seen the confirmation of Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso, Pastor Maldonado at Lotus again and Nico Rosberg confirming an extension with Mercedes, Alonso is still the domino that will affect potentially three different teams.

If he can move, you immediately have his new destination, his current squad and a third team that would be shifting their lineups around.

We can only wait and see.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.