Ferrari confirms 5-year Santander deal

(GMM) A five-year contract announced at Monza on Thursday will see the Spanish bank Santander arrive as a "most important" Ferrari sponsor in 2010, the Italian team said.

Having appeared at a press conference for the announcement of the deal, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was then quoted in a statement as describing Santander as a "very important" new partner.

Santander branding is currently seen on the rearward-facing rear wings of the McLaren cars, in a deal that commenced when the Spaniard Fernando Alonso joined the British team in 2007.

But with the double world champion now linked strongly with a move to Ferrari, Montezemolo had earlier said the Santander announcement "doesn't mean anything in terms of (driver) choices for the near future".

Alonso's former McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton however clearly expects the 27-year-old to make the switch, as he spoke at an appearance at the Homeless World Cup in Milan.

"It will be great to race him as a Ferrari driver and to battle with him to share out the next ten formula one world championships," the British driver is quoted as saying on Thursday by Gazzetta dello Sport.

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