BREAKING: Incredible developments overnight with the news that Fernando Alonso could, possibly, maybe, as an outside chance, turn his back on Formula 1 and switch to IndyCar. Perhaps permanently, but potentially only for 1 year. Or even not at all.
I'll give you a minute to recover from that shocking news.
"What will Fernando do?" has become the hot topic of the day. I'll say right now, I don't know. My best guess would be he'll stay at McLaren for another year of torment, regardless of whether they stick with Honda or switch to Renault (and introduce unfamiliarity and teething problems that having a new PU supplier entails).
Maybe he'll go to Indy. When asked recently for his highlight of the season so far, Fernando listed the Indy 500.
Lately that story has been gathering momentum faster than Alonso's sidepods gather nonchalant birds. These have been mostly fuelled by "developments Stateside".
"Andretti, [the team] that Fernando ran with in the Indy 500, will be back with Honda engines next year. There was some debate over whether they would switch from Honda to Chevy ... But crucially, with the dithering over the engine scenario in IndyCar, Takuma Sato -- who won the Indy 500 this year for Andretti Honda -- has moved teams. Meaning Andretti has an open seat for next year.
"That now marks a clear route for Fernando to either get out completely, or take a sabatical. Go and do Indy for a year, see if McLaren can sort their problems out in Formula 1, and come back in 2019."
Calling this a "clear route" for Fernando is quite a stretch, for a few reasons.
I can't say I follow IndyCar closely, or even casually, but a precursory look at the wikipedia page for IndyCar season 2017 shows at least 22 instances of potential driver changes. Drivers changed teams, some left, new drivers came in, some on a permenant basis, some temporary. None of them were seen as a "route to IndyCar" for him, for some reason now they are.
However there is the link between Honda and Andretti. But, let's be blunt. If Alonso was commited to leaving Formula One he could go to any team with a driver opening. He doesn't need to manipulate McLaren's back-channels to find someone interested in giving him a seat. If Alonso went knocking, plenty of doors would surely open.
So, I call bullshit.
Smash cut to Thursday's driver press conference where Fernando announces he's signed a 12-month lease on a luxury apartment overlooking the Indianopolis Speedway.