Double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso hinted at an imminent “big news” announcement in a teasing Twitter message posted in code on Wednesday to the Alpine driver’s 2.8 million followers.
“BTV vras nduvrg ddwa. Eno iw giadt gby awa, Q’z xwptbvrg ewqf mn ndlr!!!!,” wrote the Spaniard ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
The apparent gibberish was quickly decoded by online sleuths using the Vigenere cypher, a method of encrypting alphabetic text, with “Alpine” as the key word.
The decoded tweet read: “BIG news coming soon. And to tease you all, I’m tweeting this in code!!!!”
Alonso’s French team mate Esteban Ocon, the surprise winner in Hungary in the last race before the August break, joined in the fun.
“I mtb lsu pkmecoyt evpl hdzx sue lpnx yzj’zr enydcagiyv agvatvpg ewln,” he replied, translated as “I bet you everyone will work out what you’re announcing straight away.”
Alonso replied with the comment: “Lpi’a fie, wtb’f wep. Iprc’vp vwg 24 lofga gs wzgs vx ofi! (Let’s see, let’s see. They’ve got 24 hours to work it out!)
Alonso, 40, is expected to stay with Alpine next season after making a comeback in 2021 following two years out of Formula One.
Alpine boss Laurent Rossi revealed last month that the Spaniard’s existing deal was a ‘one plus one’ — 2021 plus an option the team can take up for 2022 — and left little doubt he would be staying.
“He is as fast as ever. He is certainly extracting the most out of the car,” Rossi told the BBC.
“The car is not incredibly fast and he still manages to get some super-hot laps and qualify the car very well. So far, so good.”