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GP Week : Issue 65
AN announcement is expected within the next fortnight con rming the worst kept secret in Formula 1 this season -- that Fernando Alonso will drive for Ferrari in 2010. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has given the clearest indication yet that his F1 team is about to announce the Spaniard as one of its 2010 drivers, toying with guests at an event in Madrid by naming Alonso as a Ferrari driver. "I'm happy with the five year deal with Bank Santander. I'm happy to have a Spanish sponsor and I'm pleased with my team with Alonso," he remarked to a crowd at an event laid on by Spanish newspaper Marca. "Up to now the priority was to confirm Massa was okay in himself. Then we needed to get some certainty he would be okay as a driver. We've got that and Felipe will be with us. "In these last few days we have cleared up a few things and when [Stefano] Domenicali returns from Singapore we can decide some important things. All the great driver have passed through Ferrari apart from Clark, Stewart and Senna. I consider Alonso a great driver." Alonso's departure from Renault at the end of the season was all but confirmed by new Renault F1 Managing Director Jean- Francois Caubet in Singapore as he told French TV station TF1 "we will miss him but he will miss us." An official announcement from Ferrari is expected around the Japanese Grand Prix, although with the finer details of Raikkonen's exit from Ferrari yet to be fully worked through confirmation of the move could happen at any point within the next two weeks. It was rumoured in the Singapore paddock that Santander will foot the bill of buying Kimi Raikkonen out of his remaining season with Ferrari, and will hang onto the Finn with his move to McLaren, which draws closer to being confirmed with every passing day. This move is an interesting one, not least because of the Finn's previously troubled relationship with McLaren, compounded by a reported clause in Lewis Hamilton's contract that his management team have the right to veto his team-mates at the squad. In Singapore the other leading contender for the second McLaren seat, Nico Rosberg, admitted that he would enjoy being lined up against his old karting team-mate Hamilton. "I was team-mates with Lewis in go-karts. We had a great time at the time, so I would enjoy being team-mates with Lewis again in the future," he responded when asked by GPWeek. "I know that a lot's been said, I don't know what's going to happen, but obviously we've got a great relationship. At the moment I'm very happy with how things are in the team but we have to see what happens," Hamilton responded. "That didn't sound all too positive from Lewis. He isn't too excited ..." came the final word from Rosberg. Perhaps it is Rosberg, then, who has been seen as the tougher potential challenge to Hamilton. Should this be true, it looks almost certain that the German will race for the Mercedes-backed BrawnGP in 2010. Alonso/Ferrari deal imminent Spaniard set to be confirmed in red, so where does it leave Kimi? 6