Severance package holding Alonso back at Ferrari

The biggest question that has been raging in the Formula One world for some months now is what Fernando Alonso plans to do next.

Carlos Sainz Jr., a rookie driver and a Spaniard summed up the mood of the paddock when he told a Spanish publication that he had no idea.

But some publications think they know what is going on and Italian specialists La Gazzetta dello Sport has claimed that incoming Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne is scheduled to travel to Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix for two reasons, announce the departure of Alonso and the arrival of Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull Racing to replace him.

Whereas that might be a valid update from the Italian media, Alonso’s departure is not as easy as it seems. Reports in Germany indicate that Ferrari has already tied up a deal with Vettel to be their leading man for the2015 season and that leaves them with three top level drivers with Alonso and Raikkonen.

But the manner of termination of Alonso’s contract is the cause of all this delay in announcement. If Alonso was to pull the plug on his contract, he could race for any team, McLaren-Honda, Lotus, Red Bull or go in for a sabbatical.

But if Ferrari terminates the contract before it is run down, they will have to pay millions to Alonso as his severance pay, just as they did with Kimi Raikkonen when he was unceremoniously shown the door back in 2009.

Alonso was eager to leave the team in any way and that is where the problem lies, Ferrari is reluctant to pay off someone so that he could drive for another team when he himself would have wanted to leave the team anyway, leading to the current impasse between the two parties.