Although there are only seven days between the Austrian Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix, Formula 1 news has been relatively slow, thus many news outlets are publishing speculative features expanding on morsels of information fluttering about the paddock.
Our German and Italian colleagues are working overtime, scratching deep for stories and as a result some interesting reports have emerged. How realistic they are only time will tell?
Nevertheless, I think it’s important to put it out there with regards to what is being written.
McLaren powered by Ferrari?
Perhaps the most explosive theory doing the rounds has emerged on the pages of Gazzetta dello Sport suggesting that McLaren are talking to Ferrari with regards to an engine supply.
They report: “On the table is the sensational supply of Ferrari power units to McLaren. A dramatic and unpredictable scenario, unimaginable years ago but could materialise if the negotiations held between the parties should take place. The new bosses at McLaren have in fact submitted an exploratory inquiry to Ferrari and the answer is still pending…”
This would be a massive development within the sport, and ironically would again connect Fernando Alonso – if he remains with the Woking outfit – to Maranello in a roundabout kind of way.
A McLaren spokesman said: “We’re working with Honda to address shortcomings and deficiencies; together, we’re considering options, but we won’t comment on media speculation about our future power unit supply.”
Haas powered by Alfa Romeo?
Another more plausible report is Speedweek’s speculative piece also regarding Ferrari, claiming that the power units supplied to Haas may be badged with the Alfa Romeo motif.
On more than one occasions Ferrari big boss Sergio Marchionne made it known that he was keen to have the legendary Italian brand back in Formula 1.
The Speedweek report digs out quotes from the last time Marchionne spoke of his desire earlier this year, “I want to see Alfa Romeo back racing in Formula 1 someday, because I believe very strongly it’s a place the brand should be. I don’t know how likely it is that this will happen. But the fact that we are talking about is a good sign in itself.”
This scenario could trigger a bunch of intriguing options for 2018:
Haas get Alfa Romeo badged Ferrari power units for next season and beyond;
Antonio Giovinazzi gets full time drive alongside Kevin Magnussen at Haas;
Romain Grosjean replaces Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.
Honda terminate Sauber deal
Another potentially huge story germinating, on the pages of Auto Bild and echoed by Speedweek, is that Honda have decided to pull the plug on their deal with Sauber before it even started.
The Auto Bild report claims: “The reason for the sudden termination of the contract [between Sauber and Honda] is because Honda is dissatisfied with the internal upheaval of the Swiss team. The contract for a three-year engine supply partnership was negotiated by Monisha Kaltenborn.”
“Honda bosses held Kaltenborn in high regard for saving the Swiss team in times of crisis. But Sauber and Kaltenborn separated four weeks ago. It is known in the paddock that Honda were disappointed by this development within the team.”
Should this be the case, then Sauber are without an engine for 2018 and beyond. If indeed Honda cancel the deal, then the Hinwil based outfit will surely depend on reviving their Ferrari deal with whom they have had a long association.
All these are speculative reports, but they deserve air-time because experience has taught us: expect the unexpected in Formula 1 and with the sport rushing into a new exciting era big changes across the board are perhaps inevitable.
Watch this space!
Big Question: McLaren Ferrari? Haas Alfa Romeo? No Sauber Honda? True or false?