Fernando Alonso has revealed that he does not yet have a signed contract for next season, but is certain of where he will be lining up when Formula One 2010 kicks off in Bahrain next March.
The double world champion had been widely expected to announce a tie-up with Ferrari during the last round of the 2009 championship, at Monza, but the Italian team only confirmed the arrival of Spanish banking group Santander during the weekend. That deal, however, is seen as a major indicator of Alonso's imminent arrival, and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo continues to hint that the Spaniard will be on board.
Although di Montezemolo this week admitted that he still had to decide 'between a Spaniard or a Finn' - a quote taken to mean that Alonso would replace 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen alongside Felipe Massa should a deal be agreed - Alonso is still the favourite to appear in scarlet next season.
The Spaniard, however, surprised some by insisting, on the eve of the second Singapore Grand Prix, that he has yet to ink a deal for 2010, although he claimed that he expected to be able to announce his destination 'as soon as possible'.
"My mind is already made up," the double world champion told Press Association
when asked whether the outcome of the Renault 'race fixing' scandal would affect his decision, "Hopefully I will know soon - as soon as possible."
With Alonso expected to land at Ferrari for 2010, Raikkonen could become the key piece in next season's driver market, with a return to McLaren now being touted among his options. A switch to rallying, along with possible moves to Renault, Williams and Brawn, have all been mooted for the Finn, although the outcome of the FIA enquiry into Renault's actions at last year's Singapore event may rule the Enstone equipe
out of the equation.
Raikkonen, however, insists that his immediate future remains with the Prancing Horse.
"I always can only repeat that I have a contract - and that has not changed," he told an interview with the official F1 website, "If they want to talk with me, we need to sit down to talk. I am fully committed, as otherwise I would not have signed the contract in the first place."
While admitting that there are places he would rather be than in the F1 environment, the Finn insists that he still gets a kick out of driving a grand prix car - and claims that he can still get the business done for Ferrari.
"I think there are still more exciting places," he claimed, "Racing is the nicest thing in the paddock, and I am pretty sure that you wouldn't see many drivers in the paddock if it wasn't for racing.