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DATE News (chronologically)
07/03/08
f1
Alonso to Ferrari? BMW? Honda?  UPDATE #9 (GMM)  Ross Brawn has played down reports the Honda team aspires to put Fernando Alonso at the wheel of one of its formula one cars in 2009.

The Brackley based marque's team principal was quoted by foreign media this week as saying every team including Honda wants to work with Alonso, the former double world champion.

But subsequently to the BBC, Brawn admitted that, while Honda is "flattered" by the link to one of F1's best drivers, the team is not ready to work with the 26-year-old Spaniard.

"I think we've got to get ourselves sorted out as a team first before we start aspiring to drivers of that sort," he said.

Brawn said current team drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button, who are both out of contract at the end of 2008, are "very good".

"Either of them have shown themselves capable of winning races," he insists.  "Let's wait and see what happens this year."

06/22/08 (GMM)  Mario Theissen has played down speculation he is keen on putting Fernando Alonso at the wheel of a BMW-Sauber in 2009.

"That is not my style," the German squad's boss is quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper Diario AS.

"I would prefer to have a young driver who then grows with the team to become an expensive champion," Theissen smiled.

'AS' speculates that Theissen's comments could be interpreted as the BMW chief wanting to 'lower the price' of employing the 26-year-old former two time title winner in 2009.

Is there any wonder Fernando Alonso is smiling?  He is said to  be Ferrari bound
06/06/08 (GMM) Fernando Alonso is unmoved by the rising speculation that Kimi Raikkonen could be set to vacate his Ferrari seat in 2010.

The latest whispers that the reigning world champion, Raikkonen, is contemplating retirement after next year actually preceded rumors at Monaco two weeks ago that Alonso, who currently drives for Renault, may have penned a preliminary agreement to move to Ferrari in 2010.

But to the Spanish newspaper Diario AS on Thursday, 26-year-old Alonso said he had been "surprised" about the reports linking him with Raikkonen's seat.

"It is strange to be talking about 2010," he said.

"I don't know what I am going to do next year, let alone in two years.

"I see them as only rumors without much foundation."

Alonso refused to estimate a percentage probability that he will still be racing a Renault beyond this season.

"I don't know, I have no idea because I haven't stopped to think about it," the Spaniard said.

"There is no hurry, and now is not the time anyway."

When asked when the right time will come, Alonso answered: "At the end of the championship."

In a boost to Renault's chances of retaining him, meanwhile, Alonso insists that he never thought he was going to be fighting at the front in 2008.

"I always thought that I was going to be here for a couple of years," he said.

Alonso is not confident about his chances for this weekend's Canadian grand prix.

"On paper this grand prix is bad for us because we know that we lack stability in braking and traction, and that is what this circuit is all about."

06/02/08 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today.  Fernando Alonso has now added his denial to strong rumors that the former double world champion has signed a preliminary agreement to switch to Ferrari in 2010.

The rumor about the Spaniard, who currently drives for Renault, was heard more than once in the Monte Carlo paddock, but a Ferrari spokesman last week dismissed it as "absolute nonsense".

At the end of last week, however, Munich's TZ tabloid published speculation that current Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen may not intend to keep racing beyond 2009.

TZ also said 26-year-old Alonso's rumored preliminary Ferrari agreement is in fact an 'option' that expires on the August weekend of the forthcoming Hungarian grand prix.

Alonso is quoted as denying to the Spanish newspaper Diario AS: "I have not talked to anyone, nor has anyone approached me."

05/29/08 (GMM)  A Ferrari spokesman has rubbished strong rumors that Fernando Alonso has signed a preliminary agreement to switch to the Italian team in 2010.

The rumor about the former double world champion, who currently drives for Renault, was heard more than once in the Monte Carlo paddock last weekend.

The German publication Auto Motor und Sport, however, quoted a Ferrari spokesman as saying the speculation is "absolute nonsense".

05/24/08 The word in the F1 paddock in Monte Carlo is that Fernando Alonso has just inked a deal to drive for Ferrari in 2010.

No confirmation is expected for a year, and there may be denials of any arrangement, as there would obviously be some serious knock-on effects for other parties in the F1 paddock.

Alonso went to Renault this year after splitting with McLaren unexpectedly at the end of last season. It was a stop-gap solution for the Spaniard, although it was dressed up as the big return to the team with which he won his two World Championships. This year the team's performance has been rather disappointing and Fernando has scored just nine points, while Nelson Piquet has failed to score and the team is languishing in seventh place in the Constructors' Championship. Unless there is a dramatic improvement soon the team will have no hope of finishing the year better than fourth in the championship and there have been rumors for some time that ING may be looking around at other opportunities.

Fernando has made no secret of the fact that he will consider other offers if they are sensible. He has been angling for a ride at Ferrari for some time. It may seem that is a rather premature move, but these days in F1 deals are being done much earlier than used to be the case. Kimi Raikkonen's deal with Ferrari, which began in 2007, was first reported as being done as early as October 2005. Alonso's 2007 deal with McLaren was announced in December 2005. Thus now would be the time that deals are being done for 2010. Grandprix.com

The rumors that Nick Heidfeld will have to leave the BMW Sauber F1 Team at the end of the season have been fed again. According to the Spanish newspaper Marca, BMW Sauber, Toyota and Red Bull are interested in contracting Fernando Alonso for the 2009 season. This could mean that Heidfeld will lose his BMW seat to Alonso.

The silly season already kicked-off after two races in the new 2008 season. Robert Kubica, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Nick Heidfeld were named in a possible switch. The last two weeks, the seat of Nick Heidfeld has come under threat as the German has been outpaced on more than one occasion by his teammate Robert Kubica.

Mario Theissen, the BMW Motorsport boss, however defended Heidfeld and his position. But in the meantime it is clear that Heidfeld is desperate to keep his job at BMW Sauber. He already re-hired his old manager, Werner Heinz, as he has a better relationship with the German outfit than his new manager, Andre Theuerzeit.

04/08/08 Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz has said that Fernando Alonso was very interested to join his team in the 2008 Formula 1 season, but as the Spaniard was only available for one season he was not an option for Red Bull Racing. The Austrian business man was only interested in Alonso if he would commit himself for at least two years to the team. 

Dietrich Mateschitz  "Fernando told Spanish media Red Bull F1 was his favorite team to join in 2008," Mateschitz told Spanish newspaper El Mundo. "His situation was complicated though as he was only available for just one season.

"I believe he is one of the best drivers out there, but we wouldn't be able to give him the right car just yet in 2008. He would have left after one year again and that wouldn't be the best exposure for our brand really. It was the best in everyone's interest that he would join Renault."

04/03/08 (GMM)  Fernando Alonso is leaving open the possibility that he might switch formula one teams again at the end of 2008.

The Spaniard escaped from a three year McLaren contract after just one unhappy installment in 2007, returning this season to the scene of his two drivers' world titles.

But his new two-year Renault contract includes a clause that will allow him to change again at the end of this season, and rumors are gaining pace that 26-year-old Alonso's next destination could be Ferrari.

On the scene of Sunday's Bahrain grand prix, Alonso on Thursday would not clearly commit to staying at Renault for 2009.

"I have signed a two year contract with Renault, but in formula one we know that contracts are flexible," he is quoted as saying by the German news agency SID.

It is understood that Alonso's 2009 exit clause is linked with Renault's on-track performance, and the French squad has already admitted that it has failed so far to provide Alonso with a winning 2008 car.

He said: "I knew that it would be a difficult year for Renault.  However, I had hoped that we might be looking to get on the podium once or twice."

In Australia and Malaysia, Alonso finished fourth and eighth respectively.

He agrees that the sweeping 2009 rule changes, however, could provide Renault a faster track back to the front of the grid.

03/31/08 (GMM)  Fernando Alonso is still giving hints that his formula one future could be red.

In an interview with the German sports magazine Sport Bild, the Renault driver confirmed that his 2008 contract allows him to leave the struggling team at the end of the year.

Asked if he will still be a Renault driver in 2009, the Spaniard answered: "That is not certain, but there is no specific date by which I must decide."

26-year-old Alonso confirmed that Ferrari could be an option, but denied that the retirement of Jean Todt improves his chances of being selected by the Maranello based outfit.

"Ferrari is always a team that drivers think about," he said, "but if we work together in the future, it will have had nothing to do with Jean Todt being there or not."

Alonso admits that this season is a write-off for him in terms of challenging for a third drivers' title, but insists that he is still having "fun".

"I wake up every morning and I know that I will not be world champion.  I can not win races, and even the podium is extremely unlikely.

"But precisely for this reason, it is a huge challenge for me.  It's like being back to 2004, which is fun, but the team wants to get back to succeeding," he added.

Meanwhile, Felipe Massa has rubbished suggestions that Ferrari could replace him at the end of the season, stressing he has "a three-year contract".

Massa, though, has denied suggestions that he's on his way out.

"Everyone at the team is actually happy and I have a three-year contract - that you should not forget," he told Germany's Bild newspaper.

He added: "Everyone can at times have a good or a bad day."

03/24/08 (GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Sunday admitted that Felipe Massa's mistakes are likely to increase speculation about his own future at Ferrari.

After finishing just eighth in his uncompetitive Renault in Malaysia, the Spaniard was asked by his local press corps about rumors linking him with becoming Kimi Raikkonen's teammate next year.

"It is too early to talk about team transfers," he is quoted as saying by the newspaper Diario AS, "but Massa has had two bad races with errors and it is logical that people are talking about Vettel and me."

Although Ferrari analysts have not yet confirmed definitively the cause of Massa's terminal spin at Sepang, it is believed that the Brazilian simply made a mistake.

In Australia just over a week ago, the 26-year-old similarly spun, leading to suggestions that Massa is struggling to adapt to life without traction control -- a driver aid he has enjoyed since debuting in F1 in 2002.

Alonso continued: "I always want to be in the best car in the field.

"I am driving for Renault now because I won here in 2005 and 2006 and want to do it again, if not this year, then the next.

"It is clear that Ferrari has one of the best cars already," he added.

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