The Renault F1 team has confirmed that it will name Fernando Alonso's replacement following the Japanese Grand Prix after the expected announcement that the Spaniard is heading to Ferrari for 2010.
Alonso's departure from the regie
is expected to kick-start the driver market for next season, with a vacancy opening up at Renault and Kimi Raikkonen now expected to return to McLaren.
While Renault didn't name names, the man hotly tipped to move over to replace Alonso is current BMW Sauber man Robert Kubica, who has found his place on the grid at risk following BMW's decision to quit the sport.
Although the German manufacturer has sold the team to the mysterious Qadbak group, it currently doesn't have a confirmed place on the grid for the 2010 campaign.
In a short statement, Renault confirmed that it will name its new driver next week, while the team also took the time to thank Alonso for the job he has performed during his time with the team – which included winning both of his F1 titles.
“Following yesterday's announcement, the Renault F1 Team wishes Fernando Alonso all the best for 2010 and beyond when he will begin the next phase of his career with a new team,” the missive read. “The close relationship that Renault and Fernando have enjoyed has been one of the most successful in Formula One, culminating in back-to-back drivers' and constructors' world championships in 2005 and 2006.
“The team and Fernando's focus is now on finishing the season on a high note with some strong results in the remaining races. An announcement regarding the driver who will be replacing Fernando Alonso at the Renault F1 Team next year will be issued next week.”
As well as Kubica's expected move to Renault, Alonso's confirmation at Ferrari is set to see a range of other moves through the grid, with a possible swap between Nico Rosberg and Rubens Barrichello another deal hotly tipped to go through.
Kubica's place at BMW Sauber – should the team secure an entry for 2010 – could be filled by current Toyota driver Timo Glock, who is on the market after the team didn't take up its option on the German for next season.