Season 2008 - Who will replace Alonso?
Eurosport - Sat, 03 Nov 09:22:00 2007
With Fernando having announced his decision to leave McLaren this week, eurosport.yahoo.com takes a look at the main candidates to partner Lewis Hamilton next year.
Heikki Kovalainen (Renault)
On the face of it, Kovalainen would appear to be the obvious choice, especially if Alonso ends up returning to Renault for 2008. After a dodgy debut race in Australia which was described as "rubbish" by team boss Flavio Briatore, he picked himself up and more often than not out-qualified and out-raced team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella over the second half of the season. His second place in Japan was the icing on the cake, and put him in the box seat for a McLaren move.
Nico Rosberg (Williams)
The ideal candidate, even more so than Kovalainen, and not as tied in to his Williams deal as Sir Frank Williams would have you know. Young, good-looking and multilingual, and that's even before you take into account his blistering speed. He won the GP2 title at his first attempt, like Hamilton. A karting superstar, like Hamilton, and a good friend of the Brit, having holidayed together often as teenagers. His wild streak of 2006 is gone, but the raw speed is still here in abundance. Fourth place in the season finale in Brazil was a sensational result against the faster BMW Saubers. He would certainly match Hamilton for both racecraft and speed, without making the kind of ructions that Alonso did.
Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren)
McLaren's test driver would cause no problems to Hamilton and would certainly be a number two in speed terms, even though not in status. More experience of the team than any other driver since David Coulthard's days, the veteran raced for half a season with them last year and would relish the opportunity to get back behind the wheel in race conditions. On the downside, he was no match for Kimi Raikkonen last year, and how much will Hamilton really gain from not being pushed by his team-mate?
Jenson Button (Honda)
It's wishful thinking perhaps, but do not forget that despite Honda having twice officially confirmed both he and Rubens Barrichello for next year, the Brazilian is still being linked with a move to Super Aguri. So why not Button to McLaren? The only race-winner on our list, he would do a solid job and probably win races too. However, his contractual history might have blown his chance of ever driving for a big team.
Rumours are a wonderful thing, but you would have to wonder what Ron would be thinking of if he took a punt on reliable old Giancarlo Fisichella or Jarno Trulli. Robert Kubica would do a great job, but would cost a fortune to prize away from the ever-improving BMW Sauber. Maybe footballer Milan Baros could be considered after being caught doing 271 kph on a French motorway, although the ex-Liverpool and Aston Villa striker was driving a Ferrari at the time, so maybe he's holding out for a move to the Italian team.