Renault has added its voice to the debate surrounding the future of its double world champion driver, Fernando Alonso, insisting that it expects to see the Spaniard retained for a third straight season in 2010.
The F1 paddock at the Nurburgring remained awash with speculation that Alonso could be on his way to Ferrari for next season - despite the Scuderia having no obvious vacancy - but Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn has waded into the exchange of views by claiming that he expects the Spaniard to be at Enstone instead.
"As far as I am concerned, he'll be driving a Renault next year," Ghosn told the Europe 1
radio station on the opening day of the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, on Friday, "Of course, it is necessary to ask him the question too but, for me, Fernando will be a Renault driver."
newspapers, as well as various Italian titles, have been confident in their reporting of the situation, insisting that Alonso will be wearing scarlet in 2010, with Kimi Raikkonen the most likely to make way for the Spaniard, despite having signed an extended deal to drive for Ferrari until the end of next season.. While Maranello has tacitly denied that there will be any change in its line-up, Raikkonen is showing increasing interest in rallying and, despite improved form so far this year, could well be on his way out, leaving Alonso to partner Felipe Massa.
The Spaniard, however, also took another opportunity to play down the speculation, which suggests that confirmation of the deal could come at Monza in September.
"They are only rumours - and they have been happening for the last four or five years," Alonso claimed, "We are not even at the halfway point of the season - we are in the beginning of July and, normally, it is only after the summer that the time is right to talk with people. I am very happy with Renault, and I think we will have a much better second half to the season. Everything is open, but there is no hurry [to do a deal] at the moment."