The Red Bull seat is no longer vacant, but the ‘silly season’ is still firing at Monza.
Fernando Alonso, however, tried to calm the flames on Thursday, denying he ever considered leaving Ferrari.
“It was only rumours, a lot of rumours,” said the Spaniard.
One rumour was that he was going to take the 2014 season off altogether, in order to focus on his newly-acquired professional cycling team.
“There were so many rumours,” said Alonso, who insisted he is not only committed to the rest of his Ferrari contract, but perhaps even beyond that.
“I’m at the top of my career, so for the next four to five years, I want to give 100 per cent. Then I’ll look to see at what shape I’m still in,” he is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
Now, then, the real focus of the ‘silly season’ is on Kimi Raikkonen’s next move.
The Finn looked stern on Thursday when he revealed his talks with Lotus are still stalled on the grid.
“We will not talk about next year as long as certain things are not covered. They know and they accept that,” said Raikkonen, undoubtedly referring to speculation the Enstone based team is behind in its payments to him.
One potential alternative for Raikkonen is no longer an option, after world champions Red Bull signed Daniel Ricciardo.
“Go and ask them, I don’t know,” said the 2007 world champion when asked why the young Australian got the seat and not him.
“Sometimes you speak with people and it doesn’t work out. There can be ten reasons, but I have no idea,” added Raikkonen.
With Lotus stalled and Red Bull closed, the 33-year-old’s most realistic destination might be Ferrari.
But at the end of 2009, when Luca di Montezemolo ended Raikkonen’s deal with a year still to run, the parties hardly parted on good terms.
Raikkonen said at Monza: “I have nothing against them. Some things in the past could have been different, but for me the past is in the past.”
Asked however if his relationship with president Montezemolo is a stumbling block, he answered: “I have no problem with anyone. If I see him, I’ll say hello.”
There is a Brazilian driver, however, who is hoping that greeting doesn’t take place. Felipe Massa thinks Ferrari should stick with what it knows as F1 moves into a radical new era in 2014.
“Everything starts from zero next year – different car, different rules – so experience from the driver will be important,” he said on Thursday.
© RIF | GMM