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GP Week : Issue 60
Ferrari postpones Alonso ann C But ‘Nando will still wear red in 2010 ONFIRMATION of double World Champion Fernando Alonso’s move to Ferrari for 2010 has been put on hold as the team awaits news on Felipe Massa’s recovery, GPWeek has learned. Ferrari was due to unveil the Spaniard’s move from Renault at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza in three weeks time. It was expected that he would be named as Felipe Massa’s new team-mate on a multi-year deal alongside a new sponsorship agreement for Ferrari with Spanish Banking firm Santander, with 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen being bought out of his remaining contracted season with the team. However, with Felipe Massa still recovering from the injuries he sustained in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix and Ferrari uncertain as to whether the Brazilian will be fit enough to compete in 2010, let alone return as hoped in 2009, Ferrari’s 2010 driver line-up announcement has been postponed. “The announcement was due to be made in Monza as had been expected for some time,” a source close to both Alonso and Ferrari told GPWeek. “However with Massa’s return under question the team has been forced to delay. “Fernando will be a Ferrari driver in 2010. The deal has been signed,” our source continued. “The only question is his team-mate and out of respect for Felipe, Ferrari will not make the announcement until they are sure whether he will be able to return.” Should Massa return to full fitness he is expected to be confirmed as Alonso’s team-mate for 2010 at Ferrari. However, in the event that the Brazilian does not regain fitness, the Scuderia has a number of options. The first of these is to hang on to Raikkonen, saving the team the expected $28 million price tag of buying him out of his final contracted season. Second is the much-vaunted return of Michael Schumacher to Ferrari, although this decision will hang, like Massa, on whether the German is able to recover from the injuries which put paid to his F1 return in Valencia last weekend. The third option for Ferrari is to sign Robert Kubica. The Pole has been left high and dry by BMW’s decision to quit F1 at the end of 2009 and the man who currently sits top of the driver market is known to have been on Ferrari’s radar for some time. Whatever the team’s decision, be it through necessity or free choice, it now seems clear that Alonso will either be paired with a fellow world champion or a highly regarded championshipcontender when he makes his Ferrari debut next season.