Some Spanish correspondents who cover Alsonso, for instance, have written that they think Alonso expected to be replaced at Ferrari by Lewis Hamilton, therefore opening up the prime seat at dominant Mercedes. That suspicion would tie in with the fact that, like the rest of F1, even Red Bull was apparently caught off guard by Vettel’s news, which was revealed to the team on Oct. 3.
But when Red Bull made it official, the energy-drink company simultaneously closed the door to Alonso, saying that junior driver Daniil Kvyat will be promoted instead.
“This is a better solution than to have a star in the final years of his career,” Dr. Helmut Marko insisted to Austrian broadcaster Servus TV on Monday.
According to the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, Marko “told Kvyat the good news just half an hour before it was officially announced” in Japan.
Arguably the best driver in F1, but also perhaps the most temperamental, the dramatic turn of events may have left Alonso with only two choices for the 2015 season — take the 2015 year off or cut a deal with McLaren to run the team’s new Honda-powered car next season.
A one-year deal would leave Alonso theoretically free to leave McLaren after earning up to $50 million in 2015, and then jump into Hamilton’s seat at Mercedes when Hamilton’s contract expires at the end of the 2015 season.