The 'Fernando Alonso rumours' have dominated this week's F1 headlines. Many respected sources throughout the sport's international media landscape are now convinced that the Spaniard and Ferrari are in the throes of divorce. Even the public at large is convinced.
The Spanish sports daily Marca has published the results of a poll, showing that no less than 84 per cent think Alonso will leave Maranello. Indeed, detailed attention is even turning to the identity of his successor in red.
Ferrari academy member Jules Bianchi is an obvious choice, but it is believed Ferrari would prefer to replace Alonso with another great champion. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, the new championship leader, is strongly linked with the job, particularly with tension high at Mercedes and teammate Nico Rosberg already signed up for the future.
Sebastian Vettel is another strong candidate. The reigning world champion is suffering an unhappy 2014 season, struggling to match his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo, and at danger even of being put in the shade by a Red Bull-backed rookie who is yet to make his debut.
Dr Helmut Marko, the notorious architect of the energy drink company's driver programme, has this week compared 2015 Toro Rosso star Max Verstappen with none other than the legendary Ayrton Senna. Indeed, Vettel has sounded notably non-committal on the topic of his future at Red Bull recently.
But his latest comments to the weekly Sport Bild suggest he is prepared to stay put and work to revive his title-winning days of the not-too-distant past. "The fact that our hard work is slowly paying off and that no one has given up really means a lot to me," said Vettel. "I've still got a lot to achieve with this team and I want to do everything to ensure that we make a comeback," the 27-year-old added. (GMM)