The word in the F1 paddock in Monte Carlo is that Fernando Alonso has just inked a deal to drive for Ferrari in 2010.
No confirmation is expected for a year, and there may be denials of any arrangement, as there would obviously be some serious knock-on effects for other parties in the F1 paddock.
Alonso went to Renault this year after splitting with McLaren unexpectedly at the end of last season. It was a stop-gap solution for the Spaniard, although it was dressed up as the big return to the team with which he won his two World Championships. This year the team’s performance has been rather disappointing and Fernando has scored just nine points, while Nelson Piquet has failed to score and the team is languishing in seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship. Unless there is a dramatic improvement soon the team will have no hope of finishing the year better than fourth in the championship and there have been rumours for some time that ING may be looking around at other opportunities.
Fernando has made no secret of the fact that he will consider other offers if they are sensible. He has been angling for a ride at Ferrari for some time. It may seem that is a rather premature move, but these days in F1 deals are being done much earlier than used to be the case. Kimi Raikkonen’s deal with Ferrari, which began in 2007, was first reported as being done as early as October 2005. Alonso’s 2007 deal with McLaren was announced in December 2005. Thus now would be the time that deals are being done for 2010.