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DATE News (chronologically)
09/05/08
f1
Santander, Alonso, set for Ferrari switch  UPDATE #6 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' with this statement from Alonso.

07/31/08 (GMM)  Fernando Alonso has denied he spent time between the German and Hungarian grands prix searching for a new residence closer to Maranello, possibly the location of his future F1 team.

Alonso, who currently drives for Renault, was reportedly spotted looking at properties in Lugano, an Italian-speaking region of Switzerland near the Italian border.

Lugano is less than 300km from Maranello, compared with his current Swiss abode at Mont-sur-Rolle, which is nearly double the distance to the Ferrari factory.

Alonso, 27, said this week: "It is true that I was in the Italian region of Switzerland, but I was on vacation and looking for a hotel, not a house."

The former double world champion had nothing new to say on the topic of his future, insisting that he will only make a decision about 2009 and beyond after the summer.

"I do not know where I am going to be next year; whether I stay at Renault or I change teams," Alonso insists.

"In the end I will do what is best for my career."

07/29/08 It seems from what we are hearing that Alonso's future will largely depend on what happens to Kimi Raikkonen as the Finn may possibly retire at the end of the current season and that would give Ferrari a problem for next year. We believe that Alonso is waiting to see what happens and could be in a red car in 2009 if Raikkonen decides that he has had enough.

07/28/08 (GMM)  Speculation about a future move to Ferrari for Fernando Alonso is gathering momentum in the Italian press.

The authoritative sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Saturday that the Spaniard, who currently drives for Renault, is on the market for a house located closer to Ferrari's Italian headquarters at Maranello.

La Gazzetta said Alonso, 26, was spotted looking at properties in Lugano, an Italian-speaking region of Switzerland near the Italian border.

Lugano is less than 300km from Maranello, compared with his current Swiss abode at Mont-sur-Rolle, which is nearly double the distance to the Ferrari factory.

07/15/08 (GMM)  McLaren looks likely to retain its Santander sponsorship beyond the 2009 season, notwithstanding widespread reports that the Spanish bank wants to switch with Fernando Alonso to Ferrari.

It has now emerged that McLaren in 2010 and beyond will probably run with Abbey branding, which is Santander's UK subsidiary.

Santander began sponsoring McLaren last year, coinciding with Spaniard Alonso's ultimately ill-fated tenure with the Mercedes-powered outfit.

The latest rumor is that while the Santander branding is expected to switch to Ferrari in 2010, the Spanish company may want to continue to benefit from the huge interest generated by Lewis Hamilton's role at McLaren.

Indeed, at the recent British grand prix at Silverstone, title sponsor Santander ran joint Santander-Abbey signage on its trackside advertising.

07/14/08 (GMM)  Multiple sources and reports are now claiming that McLaren sponsor Santander is set to switch to Ferrari in 2010.

We reported last week that the speculated deal, worth up to 25 million euros per season, could involve the driving services of former double world champion Fernando Alonso.

The daily newspaper Publico says Santander currently pays McLaren 20 million per year.

But following suggestions that Santander and Alonso may arrive at Maranello in 2009, however, a spokeswoman for the bank insists that its current contract with McLaren runs out only at the end of next year.

It is understood a contract between Ferrari and Santander has not yet been signed.

"The bank has always wanted to be with Alonso but the sponsorship contract was done with McLaren and not with Alonso," the spokeswoman said.

The Spanish newspaper ABC now reports: "(Santander) has already informed the team of Ron Dennis and has a deal with the Italians from 2010".

The business newspaper Expansion adds that "the new deal with the Spanish bank could coincide with Alonso leaving Renault to join (Ferrari)".

Santander, a Spanish bank, is rumored to be switching allegiances to Ferrari for 2009
07/09/08  (GMM)  Major McLaren sponsor Santander, a Spanish bank, is to switch allegiances to Ferrari for 2009 and beyond, according to reports.

German magazine Sport Bild claims that the deal is worth up to 25 million euros per season, and could involve the driving services of former double world champion Fernando Alonso.

Santander began sponsoring McLaren last year, coinciding with 26-year-old Alonso's multi-season contract to race with the Mercedes-powered outfit.

His relationship with the team famously turned sour, however, and it now emerges that Santander wants to follow suit and depart.

Sport Bild says the Santander-Ferrari-Alonso deal involves lettering on the drivers' overalls as well as front and rear wing signage, and a 30 million euros per year contribution to Alonso's retainer.

Alonso said at Silverstone that he is waiting until as late as September before determining the identity of his team for 2009.

Fascinatingly, Ferrari - albeit with both current drivers already under contract - often announces its next driver lineup at Monza, which this year takes place on September 14.

Santander boss Emilio Botin was at Silverstone for last weekend's British grand prix.

The Spanish newspaper Diario AS speculates that Alonso's teammate at Ferrari next year would be Kimi Raikkonen, following Felipe Massa's disastrous showing at Silverstone last weekend.

"I don't know if the rumors are true," Ferrari test driver and Spaniard Marc Gene told sport.es, "but I don't see there would be a problem having Kimi with Alonso, or Felipe with Alonso, or staying with what we have now."

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