Alonso to Ferrari rumors won't go away UPDATE #11 (GMM) Gerhard Berger is adamant that Fernando Alonso will head to Ferrari at the end of 2009.
The former Toro Rosso co-owner said he "negotiated intensively" with the 27-year-old Spaniard last year, when he needed to replace the Red Bull-bound Sebastian Vettel.
|Alonso expected to be at Ferrari next year|
"Now I can say it: he was interested, but made it clearly understood that he saw 2009 only as a transitional year, because he already knew what he would be doing in 2010," Berger said in an interview with Germany's Sport Bild.
"Surely it's Ferrari," the Austrian winner of ten grands prix added.01/20/09 (GMM) Renault duo Flavio Briatore and Fernando Alonso gave little attention to speculation that the Spanish driver is set to switch to Ferrari in the near future.
An Italian sports newspaper recently reinvigorated the rumor, drawing an annoyed response by Renault team boss Briatore at the launch on Monday of the team's 2009 car.
"I cannot understand how people who work for newspapers can just write lies," the Italian is quoted as saying by Diario AS.
Alonso also informed Spanish reporters that he did not intend to spend much time addressing the Ferrari rumors.
"I know that I will have to speak about this regularly, but now is not the time. I am concentrated on doing a great championship with Renault," he said.
To English-speaking reporters, he added: "Hopefully this year I can be winning races and fighting for the championship and we can forget (talking about) Ferrari."01/16/09 (GMM) Ferrari's current drivers have dismissed as mere rumors reports that Fernando Alonso is set to join the Maranello based team at some point in the future.
Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa are under contract for 2009 and 2010, but the Italian press recently said the Spaniard Alonso, currently at Renault, has penned an agreement to switch to Ferrari by 2011.
It is said that Raikkonen is the most likely to step aside, after he refused to pledge his future to the sport beyond the expiry of his current deal.
"I'm not worried about rumors," he told reporters at Ferrari's 'Wrooom' media event in the Italian Dolomites.
"I don't feel under pressure, I have a two year contract and we'll see what happens after that.
"I wouldn't be here if I didn't have the motivation or the hunger to be here anymore," the Finn said.
Brazilian Massa, who finished one point shy of Lewis Hamilton's 2008 title triumph, said the rumors about Alonso joining Ferrari are nothing new.
"So far I haven't seen him in Ferrari," he joked. "Rumors are rumors -- sometimes they come true and sometimes not." zzzz12/28/08 Fernando Alonso has a secret agreement to join Ferrari for four years from 2011, Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Sunday. The newspaper said the deal had several get-out clauses for both sides but added that Alonso could join Ferrari even earlier, in 2010, if 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen follows this year's disappointing season with another bad campaign. A Ferrari spokesman would not comment on the reports, apart from saying: "We can only repeat that we have two drivers signed to the end of 2010".
11/29/08 Fernando Alonso is leaving the door open about the possibility of switching from Renault to Ferrari in 2010.
With the news that Spanish bank Santander are set to leave McLaren and go to Ferrari in 2010 rumors are once again saying that the Spaniard could be following suit.
The double World Champion, though, is refusing to comment on the matter.
Asked by Cadena Ser whether Ferrari was in his future, Alonso said: "A quick answer to that would not be the right answer."
11/05/08 (GMM) Luca di Montezemolo has put a dampener on unrelenting speculation that Fernando Alonso is still a dark horse for a Ferrari seat in 2009.
Spanish newspapers this week have been reporting that an eleventh-hour seat swap between Kimi Raikkonen and Renault's Alonso might be engineered by Montezemolo, the president of the Ferrari marque.
"I do not want to show a lack of respect to Alonso or anyone else," the Italian told La Repubblica newspaper, "but we already have two drivers.
"We are staying with what we have already confirmed for next year," he said. "Everything else is fictional and I hope these stories stop.
"We have also confirmed our two testers, Badoer and Gene. A team that wins does not change. And we did win," Montezemolo, referring to Ferrari's 2008 constructors' title, explained.
He said the manner of Massa's achievement as championship runner-up proved the Brazilian's quality as a "champion" in waiting, and defended Ferrari's outgoing world champion Raikkonen.
"I expect him now to return to the extraordinary performance of last year and the start of this season," Montezemolo said of the Finn, according to another Italian newspaper, La Stampa.
"On some occasions, Hamilton also made mistakes, such as Spa, when he was lucky to find the gravel and not the guard-rail.
"Raikkonen (departing) has never been discussed: his points have been valuable for the constructors' title.
"The Ferrari couple is the strongest in the championship: we are not changing," he said, refusing to rule Alonso out of the picture altogether.
He answered: "Well, in the future anything is possible. Such as one day I will retire!
"But next year we want to recover the drivers' title with Massa and Raikkonen, and we have full confidence that we will do so."11/03/08 (GMM) The resilience of the speculation surrounding Fernando Alonso's future continues to impress, as the Spanish press once again raises the prospect of the 27-year-old switching to Ferrari in 2009.
AS newspaper acknowledges Renault boss Flavio Briatore's claim that his drivers for next year will be revealed on Wednesday, but said the days until then could stage some final intrigue.
|Looking at Raikkonen's facial expression in this podium photo from Brazil he does not appear to be very happy|
Ferrari has already confirmed that Felipe Massa will again line up alongside Kimi Raikkonen next year, but AS said president Luca di Montezemolo may be in contact with both Alonso and Raikkonen this week.
According to the story, Raikkonen - who had a lackluster season with the Maranello team - could be asked to step aside and move to Renault to make way for former double world champion Alonso.
On Cadena SER radio, Alonso was asked about the likelihood of the switch. "Is it possible? No, it is not."10/14/08 (GMM) The Italian press has not given up hope that Fernando Alonso could soon be at the wheel of a Ferrari.
La Gazzetta dello Sport, the country's famous sports daily, said after Kimi Raikkonen's championship hopes mathematically slipped away at Fuji that Ferrari should have contemplated showing the Finn the door.
"It's a question we have to ask," the paper's correspondent wrote. "Was it really sensible to renew Raikkonen's contract?
"(Luca di) Montezemolo has called the Finn a striker in search of his lost goals, but Kimi seems more like a mechanic who has lost the operating instructions to his car.
"He now has two more races to help Massa and show that he still has the desire. If this run continues, Ferrari must make the call to Alonso."
Ferrari's 1979 champion, Jody Scheckter, believes Kimi is receiving too easy a time from the team's management.
"Raikkonen's life at Maranello would have been much more difficult if Enzo Ferrari was around," the South African told the Spanish newspaper Sport.
Scheckter believes Ferrari should have signed Alonso. "I think Ferrari needs someone with his personality; someone capable of being in control of things."
Former double world champion Alonso, however, is adamant that he is not going to be wearing red overalls any time soon.
Asked after Fuji by the Spanish radio network Cadena Ser what percentage chance he assigns to a Ferrari switch, the Spaniard answered: "Zero.
"Ferrari has already announced its drivers, so there is no possibility."09/29/08 "Well, it's not a victory that changes a situation," Renault team boss Flavio Briatore told F1.com. "We have a good relationship with Fernando, we are talking together, and we will be happy with his decision. That is all that I can say for the moment."
09/28/08 (GMM) Even victory in Singapore has shed no further light on Fernando Alonso's plans for the 2009 season.
The former double world champion, who on Sunday broke a year-long drought with an unexpected win, has recently been making noises about staying put at the French team next year.
But despite sharing the podium with 27-year-old Alonso under the Singapore floodlights, his team boss Flavio Briatore insists the future is still not clear.
"Well, it's not a victory that changes a situation," the Italian said. "We have a good relationship with Fernando, we are talking together, and we will be happy with his decision.
"That is all that I can say for the moment," Briatore added.
After the race, Alonso denied that he is now beginning to prepare for Renault's 2009 campaign.
"No, I didn't say that," he insisted. "It's not changing the decision for next year. As I've always said, Renault will be my first priority because I feel I'm at home in this team."
Alonso was delighted with the win but acutely aware that luck was his passenger on Sunday.
"Without the safety car maybe I was finishing in the same position (as qualifying), 15th or 14th," he said.
He said the Japanese grand prix in two weeks will be the real test of Renault's recent progress.
"We will find out very quickly in Fuji, because we cannot forget that this is a very special track," Alonso said in Singapore.
"We are definitely one of the teams who have most improved their car, but maybe it was not difficult because at the beginning of the season we were not at the right level."
09/26/08 (GMM) Fernando Alonso was irritated in Singapore when reporters asked him about new rumors that he might drive for Ferrari in 2010 or 2011.
"It would be a mistake to talk about those things all day," the Renault driver is quoted as saying by the news agency EFE.
Despite Kimi Raikkonen's recently announced contract renewal through 2010, it was reported last week that the Spanish bank Santander could be set to switch to Ferrari and then buy-out the Finn's contract to make room for former double world champion Alonso.
Alonso replied: "When I make a decision, about staying at Renault or changing teams, there will be an official statement so that the whole world knows at the same time."
The 27-year-old complained about publications that "always" report unfounded rumors.
"It was said at Monza that I was going to be with BMW for three years, and two or three days later it is being said that I am with Ferrari again," Alonso marveled.
To Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, meanwhile, he commented: "My priority is Renault. It is now up to them to demonstrate whether they are still the team with who I twice won the title."09/24/08 Just when you thought the Fernando Alonso to Ferrari rumors were all consigned to the dustbin, along comes yet another story suggesting the deal is still very much on.
For most of the season the paddock was awash with claims that Alonso will join Ferrari at the end of 2009. Some even suggested the move could take place at the end of this campaign as the lackluster Kimi Raikkonen was looking to leave Formula One as soon as possible. However, the deal seemed to be dead in the water when the Scuderia announced that both Raikkonen and Felipe Massa have extended their deals until 2010.
Alonso was then linked with a long-term move to BMW, who were keen to team him up with his friend Robert Kubica as they look to close the gap on Ferrari and McLaren. Honda also made it clear that they were interested in the Spaniard's services with Ross Brawn saying "We're happy to wait and hope that he makes a positive decision for us."
But it was reported over the weekend the Alonso is ready to shun offers from BMW and Honda and extend his current deal with French squad Renault.
However, the latest claims emerging from Spain say Alonso could join the Scuderia as early as next year.
Marca says Spanish banking giant Banco Santander, currently sponsoring McLaren, wants to join forces with Ferrari, providing that Alonso is driving for them. The bank is reportedly prepared to pay out the remainder of Raikkonen's contract so that Alonso can join a year earlier with Ferrari ready to offer him a four-year deal.