Despite Ferrari having recently announced that is has re-signed Kimi Raikkonen until the end of the 2010 Formula 1 campaign, speculation continues to suggest that fellow world champion Fernando Alonso will be in one of the scarlet machines in his place, and sooner rather than later.
Spanish publication Marca
has argued that Ferrari's extension to Raikkonen's contract came in exchange for the Finn pledging his support to team-mate Felipe Massa's title charge over the remainder of the 2008 campaign. The newspaper added that the reigning world champion could yet see his new agreement terminated early to pave the way for a reputed four-year deal between the Scuderia
and Alonso, with Spanish bank Santander picking up the bill for Raikkonen's pay-off.
That line of thought then contends that the Finn – who has displayed increasingly lacklustre and disinterested form as the current season has progressed – would walk away from a sport with which he is no longer in love at the end of next year, whilst Alonso has been linked with both BMW-Sauber and Honda in the interim period, as well as remaining with his current employer Renault, what the 27-year-old insists is his 'priority'.
“It is now up to them to demonstrate whether they are still the team with whom I twice won the title,” he is quoted as having told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport
, complaining in a separate interview with Spanish news agency EFE
that there are 'always' unfounded rumours about his future swirling around the grand prix paddock.
“It would be a mistake to talk about those things all day,” F1SA
quotes the man from Oviedo as insisting. “It was said at Monza that I was going to be with BMW-Sauber for three years, and two or three days later it is being said that I am with Ferrari again.
“When I make a decision – about staying at Renault or changing teams – there will be an official statement so that the whole world knows at the same time.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere in F1's ongoing 'silly season', Swiss newspaper Blick
has hinted that Williams' Nico Rosberg and under-fire BMW ace Nick Heidfeld could be set to swap cockpits in 2009, whilst Red Bull Racing test driver Sébastien Buemi has moved to play down claims made by Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost last week that, following his promising test for the team at Jerez, the teenage star is as good as a shoe-in to compete for the small Faenza-based outfit in the top flight in 2009.
“Nothing is done,” F1SA
quotes the 19-year-old as underlining, “but I have a good chance.”