Fernando Alonso has moved to finally quell all speculation linking him to a move to Maranello next year, by insisting that such a possibility 'was never an option' – at least for 2009.
It was revealed that Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo stopped by at the Renault garage to chat to Alonso during last week's pre-Italian Grand Prix Formula 1 test at Monza – fuelling the rumours that the Spaniard is set for a future in scarlet – but the man from Oviedo has insisted that he will not
be Prancing Horse-bound next season.
“I saw him for five seconds,” the 27-year-old told Spanish newspaper Diario AS
of his encounter with di Montezemolo. “He asked me how I was doing. Next door was [Giancarlo] Fisichella and he gave him a hug. He also saw [Lewis] Hamilton.
“It has always been known that their two drivers are under contract. It was never an option for next year.
“I am 27 and have enough time to get back to winning races and championships, whether with Ferrari or another team. When I won my two championships with Renault, Ferrari were behind me, so I am not afraid of the challenge.”
“Ferrari has always respected contracts and we are very happy with the couple of drivers that we have,” concurred the 30-time world championship-winning outfit's team principal Stefano Domenicali. “That's the real situation, as I have always said.”
Current employers Renault as well as Honda, BMW-Sauber and Toyota are all continuing to hold off from announcing their own drivers for 2009 until Alonso makes up his mind as to where he wishes to drive, with Honda team principal Ross Brawn admitting in Spa-Francorchamps ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix that the Brackley-based outfit will only firm up its line-up 'when Fernando decides where he wants to go'.
Whilst the Scuderia's
door would appear to be closed to the former double F1 World Champion in the immediate future, however, the 19-time grand prix-winner did confess in an interview with British broadcaster ITV
that he would not rule out driving for the Italian concern at some point in the years to come, adding simply 'I don't know' when asked if he would be a Ferrari driver in 2010.
“I need to keep thinking not only for next year but also for the near future, so we will see,” he urged.