Late last week it was announced that Kimi Raikkonen would be staying at Ferrari through 2010, which news put paid to the end of Fernando Alonso’s dream of moving to Italy at the end of 2009. However, despite the Spaniard feeling the blow from the Scuderia, Alonso did say he was expecting it and reminded reporters that he is still young and the chance for driving for Ferrari has not been totally lost.
The closing of Maranello’s doors also squeezes Alonso into a tighter corner with regards to his options for 2009 and 2010. Currently at Renault and struggling to even get into the points on a consistent basis, Alonso would want a decent car next year that can better challenge for podiums and wins. However, the double champion is still hopeful that his team can produce the goods and see a return to the good old days.
I haven’t seen much [of the 2009 car], because we are focused on the remaining races, but I’m sure it inspires confidence because at this point of the year every team is nearly completely sure that next year they will do well. They are all very optimistic and it’s up to you to believe them or not. Normally I believe [Renault], because they’ve given me a lot of joy and two cars to win titles with, so it’s easier to believe them than others. Fernando Alonso.
It is perhaps because of the history and the knowledge of the team that Fernando believes the Enstone-based squad is his best option for next year, despite rumoured to have received offers from BMW and Honda. The Swiss-German outfit have publicly stated that they hare happy to wait for Alonso’s decision before confirming their line up for next season, suggesting that they would rather have the Spaniard in their car rather than either Nick Heidfeld or Robert Kubica. And given his recent performances, I’d suggest it is Heidfeld who is under the most pressure.
Honda as well would welcome someone of Alonso’s calibre in the team, and partnered with the hopeful upturn in pace and the full force of Ross Brawn being realised, it could see the Japanese squad taking a large step forward. However, despite the team saying they are concentrating on the RA109, you cannot help but worry for their immediate future and results. Perhaps, given the potential clashes with the very-fast Kubica and the concern over Honda’s performance, Renault might just be the best place for Alonso for the next few years.
As I always say, Renault is my first option because I know the people and I know things can be done right here, even though this year things haven’t gone well. And if not, we’ll see what we can do. I’m 27 now and life changes a lot and if I race in Formula One for another eight or ten years I might get the chance again to end up there [at Ferrari]. Fernando Alonso.
Either way, it seems as though the young champion is not in any particular hurry to make a decision and will no doubt spend considerable time weighing up his options. Don’t hold your breath just yet!