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GP Week : Issue 28
> F1NEWS> e set Ferrari confirms Raikkonen Where to now for Alonso – BMW? Honda? Or another year at Renault? FERRARI chose its home race in Italy to confirm that Kimi Raikkonen would remain in its stable until the end of 2010, putting to an end months of speculation over the Finn’s future movements. There had been much debate over Raikkonen’s 2009 plans, with many reflecting upon his often lacklustre performances in 2008 as a sign he was about to hang up his helmet and retire. Ferrari’s confirmation that Raikkonen would The last time that McLaren launched an appeal with the FIA was “in the interests of rule clarification and rule consistency” following the alleged fuel irregularities of the Williams and BMW Sauber cars in the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix. On that occasion, and after some debate, the FIA Court of Appeal determined that, “having heard the explanations of both parties and having examined the various documents and other evidence, the Court decided that the appeal lodged by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is inadmissible.” Regardless of the role played by Whiting in the Belgian Grand Prix, and his alleged assurances to the team during the race, the existence of Article 152 of the International Sporting Code may yet prove to be an immovable obstacle in McLaren’s appeal process. race on alongside Felipe Massa for the next two seasons also appears to have scotched the hottest rumours of the season – namely that both Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica were set to drive for the Scuderia in or before 2010. This now appears unlikely … or does it? Ferrari’s statement was made on the Thursday of the Italian Grand Prix, and its short and uncomplicated nature left little room for query. There remains however a strong foundation of thought in the paddock that the statement was simply made to silence the rumours which have been circulating for so many months. While Raikkonen and Massa now appear certain to race on at Ferrari in 2009, many still recognise that either of the drivers or Ferrari itself may wish to change this state of affairs at the end of next season. As such, the much vaunted Kubica / Alonso movements may yet happen. Raikkonen’s confirmation for 2009 has however thrown up the question of what happens to Fernando Alonso in 2009. While many believe Renault remains his most likely berth, the rumours surrounding a move to Honda, and also as a Nick Heidfeld replacement at BMW, refuse to go away. Alonso himself made the interesting step of stating he would enjoy being Robert Kubica’s team-mate, when questioned by journalists in Italy. The duo have raced together before, when they were team- mates in karting. BMW Director of Motorsport Mario Thiessen refused to rule Alonso out of the BMW driver equation, when questioned in Italy. “There are several people and a few teams who have to make a decision – it is just not necessarily a joint decision,”he said. “We are still evaluating the situation and it is apparent we are the strongest team now which has an open seat for next year, so we will see what happens.” With one piece of the 2009 driver puzzle firmly in place, then, Fernando Alonso’s movements now hold the key to creating the full picture. The Spaniard has said he will likely make his mind up some time in September, which gives him just a few weeks to weigh up his options.