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Kimi Payoff in the Works?

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According to semi-reliable gossips, Luca de Montezemolo will open his (or Fiat’s) wallet next year to buy the Ice Man out of his contract to make way for Fernando Alonso.  Considering the kind of money Kimi makes, that would buy quite a few rally cars — and gorilla suits.

You never know what to believe in F1. Half of the rumors are true, and the other half are outright fiction created by the sports press in lieu of real news. When Kimi moved from McLaren to Ferrari, that also was rumored for about a year in advance, and all interested parties denied the story. Kimi kept saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing next year.” But Kimi rarely seems to know what he is doing.

Most of of these moves seem to be digested by the public rumor mill well in advance. I can only recall once, in recent years, when a team switch by a marquee name came as a complete surprise to most everyone, and that was when Alonso moved from Renault, with whom he had just won the title, to McLaren. Alonso had actually had the McLaren contract in his hip pocket for a full year, and somehow he managed to keep it a secret.

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My hunch is that this particular rumor has about a 75% chance of being reliable. No one seems to be at great pains to deny it. All Kimi says is, “I have a contract for next year,” which is different than saying he’ll actually be sitting in a Ferrari next year. It could be just a way of reminding Montezemolo that if they want to get rid of him early, they’ll have to pay him for the privilege.

Meanwhile, Alonso was asked a while back by a cagey Spanish journalist which type of cuisine he preferred, French (Renault) or Italian (Ferarri), to which Alonso replied, with a sly wink, “Actually, I prefer Spanish food. But if you are referring to something else, then I prefer Italian.”

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