"Views are down Smithers,! Quick, produce me three new listicles on the many sides of Kim Kardashian's butt, or you're fired!"
F1, in recent weeks has had it's own version of surefire click bait with innumerable articles about Fernando Alonso's future plans. We might have reached "peak Nando" today with the publication on Sport Bild of an article claiming that it's pretty much a done deal next year: Alonso will be at Lotus, the team revamped with Mercedes engines and bought out by (noted Ferrari collector and past team sponsor) Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
Of course, always according to SportBild, Stroll's son and current Ferrari Academy driver Lance would drive as Fernando's teammate.
OK, so that's just the business of journalism these days, and yes, it's amusing to speculate. You might agree with us that the least of Ferrari's problems is their driver line up. Even if you believe those who say the new "Agnelli/Marchionne" regime is tight with the pursestrings, even if you believe Honda would be willing to cover Ferrari in gold to have Alonso, I'm not sure I see an obvious solution here.
The two big "market forces", if you can call them such, are Vettel's supposed need to prove himself somewhere other than at Red Bull and Fernando's biological ticking championship clock. There had been a third one, Hamilton's escape from a Mercedes led by world champion Rosberg but that now seems less and less likely. Plus, only a fool would jump off the Silberpfeil juggernaut at this point.
Back to Vettel and Alonso. Just a bunch of questions, really.
Of Vettel at Ferrari there has been talk of since, at least, early last season. For many that he will be in Red from 2016 is a given. But would Alonso and Vettel coexist at Ferrari? Could Alonso and Vettel coexist at Ferrari? Could Ferrari, or anyone, pay that bill?
Ferrari is going through a rebuilding cycle, why would Alonso accept to stay during this period and leave right when it might be time to pick the fruits? Or, why would he want to stay at all if he know Ferrari would dump him for Vettel after next season?
In any case, Vettel is confirmed at Red Bull for 2015 so that talked about swap is (and my many years following F1 always advise me to hedge) ...unlikely.
Does Fernando have that many attractive options? Mclaren? It's a lot of money potentially but Honda power is an unknown and in any case, exclusive to Mclaren for only one season. What is know is that Ron Dennis hates his guts and that he is the polar opposite of a "Mclaren" driver. That would be a big risk for him.
Red Bull won't have him, doesn't need him. Hell, Red Bull does not even need Vettel at this point and Helmut Marko has already declared Max Verstappen "just like Senna". That must cheese Hamilton to no end by the way.
Mercedes is not a realistic option either.
So, barring a Copersucar-esque move to a revamped Lotus or retirement, I don't see too many good options outside of Maranello for Alonso.
For Ferrari, there is no option of rebuilding the team with Raikkonen, a driver who has said he would retire come 2015 and a second tier driver. The Scuderia's biggest error over the past five seasons was in staying loyal to Massa. Had they hired a driver capable of taking more points away from the competition it's likely the 2010 and 2012 championship trophies would be on Alonso's mantelpiece and we would not be having this discussion now.