Ecclestone hopes Alonso to race Ferrari at Valencia

(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Monday said he hopes Ferrari turns to Fernando Alonso to fill injured Felipe Massa's cockpit for the forthcoming European grand prix.

It was rumored in the Spanish press that, with Renault banned for the Valencia race, the former double world champion could be called up by Ferrari while Massa recuperates in a Budapest hospital.

In the wake of the Renault ban news, organizers of the Valencia event expressed concern that Spain's driving hero may be missing from the grid.

"If Renault would release Alonso, and if Ferrari want him, it would be the best thing for formula one, for Valencia, for everybody," F1 chief executive Ecclestone told Germany's Auto Bild.

A spokesperson for the governing FIA, meanwhile, confirmed that only the Renault team has been banned from Valencia, meaning its drivers are free to compete late next month.

"Alonso in the Ferrari (in Valencia) is a great idea," triple world champion Niki Lauda enthused. "At least Ferrari should try it. It would be good for the Scuderia, for Spain, for Alonso and the formula one," the great Austrian added.

Lauda noted however that Alonso's team boss Flavio Briatore is likely to have the final word, although the Spanish newspaper AS earlier on Monday pointed out that the 27-year-old's Renault contract guarantees him a seat at each GP in 2009.

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