Alonso may replace Massa at Valencia

UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. It is unlikely that Fernando Alonso will substitute for the injured Felipe Massa at Ferrari in the forthcoming European grand prix.

With Massa in hospital and Alonso's Renault team banned from competing at Valencia, it has been suggested that the scenario is ideal, even if only for a single race.

But with Renault and Ferrari sponsorship contracts set to clash, it is actually an unlikely scenario in a temporary form, and it must be said that the thought of Flavio Briatore doing a big favor for the Maranello team is even more difficult to imagine.

It is reported that Italy's best-connected F1 journalists also don't believe the hype.

When a reporter for the Spanish sports newspaper Marca was musing the scenario in the Hungaroring media centre, La Gazzetta dello Sport's Andrea Cremonesi leaned over and said: "We have asked (Ferrari media boss Luca) Colajanni and he told us it is impossible."

Renault spokeswoman Patrizia Spinelli, meanwhile, told Italy's Tuttosport that the Alonso rumor is "only speculation without foundation".

Ferrari also would not comment on the rumors.

07/27/09 (GMM) The Spanish sports newspaper Diario AS believes it is possible that Fernando Alonso will replace Felipe Massa at the forthcoming European grand prix.

The Italian team is currently contemplating a replacement for 28-year-old Massa, who is recovering in Budapest from head injuries sustained during a qualifying incident last Saturday.

Alonso had already been linked with a move to Ferrari in 2010 or beyond, and he is suddenly now without a cockpit for his second home race after his team Renault was issued a one-race ban for an incident during the Hungarian grand prix.

The AS report claims that, by incurring the penalty, Renault – which intends to appeal the verdict – broke a "basic commitment" enshrined in Alonso's contract; that the French carmaker must offer the two-time world champion a cockpit at every grand prix in 2009.

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