You do not need to be a rocket scientist to work out that Fernando Alonso is frustrated. He joined Ferrari in 2010 and in his four seasons with the Italian team to date he has scored 11 victories in 68 races. He has been runner-up in the World Championship twice.
Interestingly, when he was with Renault he won 17 races out of 106, which is pretty much the same percentage figure (16.1 percent compared to 16.0 percent) so the problem with Ferrari is more to do with expectations rather than reality.
However, Fernando is a guy who likes to win and so watching Sebastian Vettel racking up 29 wins in his 85 races with Red Bull Racing (34 percent), might have convinced the Spaniard that he should be off to Red Bull Racing.
The clock is ticking. Fernando is 32 and has only two titles to his name. Vettel has three and looks to be on his way to a fourth, yet he is still only 26. In other words, unless Alonso gets things moving soon he will not be the star of his generation when the history books are written. He needs to up his win rate.
Ferrari is struggling to compete with Red Bull and the obvious reason for this is Adrian Newey. Using racer logic, the best thing for Alonso to do is to try to get hooked up with Newey. The bad news is that Newey does not want to join Ferrari.
If the mountain won’t come to Mohammad, then Mohammad must go to the mountain. So, one might surmise that the next step for Alonso has to be to give up every boy’s dream of being a Ferrari World Champion and move to the team that will win races for him.
The problem with this theory is that Vettel has no obvious reason to leave, while Fernando has a contract to stay at Maranello until the end of 2016.
The one hope that Alonso might have is that Vettel may want to go to another team to show that he can win titles with someone else. There was a tiny hint of that when Vettel agreed recently to extend with Red Bull only for one year.
That was a chink in the Red Bull armour.
And one can imagine that Alonso could see this as the opportunity he needs to get a shovel under Vettel and sew seeds of mistrust.
It is highly unlikely that Red Bull will be mad enough to blow itself up by putting two Supermen in the same telephone box, particularly when everyone knows that Alonso did not cover himself in glory in 2007 when he found the going tough with Hamilton at McLaren.
Vettel knows that he is the big banana at the moment and so he will get first pick of the big teams for 2016, even if we are not quite sure who will be where in the performance pecking order once the new generation of engines arrives in 2014.
If Red Bull thinks Vettel might leave after 2015 then it would be good for them to get Alonso sorted out in advance – and logic then dictates that there is not much point in waiting. If a plan exists, why not do it earlier rather than later?
So how is the level of trust between Red Bull and Vettel? And is there any tiny chance that the team will get worried about Sebastian walking? Hmm… A one year contract extension and breaking team orders in Malaysia might not seem like much to go on, but one can imagine Fernando and his people trying to fan these tiny sparks of trouble.
Getting out of a Ferrari contract early is not that hard, as Alain Prost showed back in 1991 when he said that “a truck would be easier to drive than this car” and was duly fired by outraged Italians.
He came back to win the 1993 championship with Williams, the employer of Adrian Newey at the time.