Fernando Alonso has secretively revealed that he has all-but made his mind up about where he will be driving in Formula 1 in 2009 – as he insisted BMW-Sauber had 'never' been a serious option.
Speculation has raged over where the former double F1 World Champion will ultimately line up on the grand prix grid next season, with doors closing at firstly Red Bull Racing, subsequently Ferrari and then earlier this week BMW-Sauber leaving Honda, Scuderia Toro Rosso and current employers Renault as his only viable destinations.
Though Honda is believed to be continuing to hold out for the Singapore Grand Prix winner, it is now widely assumed that Alonso will more likely elect to remain with Renault – a team with whom he in any case has a contract for next year, and whose praises he has increasingly been singing as the Régie
has arguably made the greatest progress of any team on the 2008 grid.
“I have taken a decision, more-or-less,” F1SA
quotes Alonso – who set the second-fastest time in opening practice for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix in Fuji – as having admitted, “but I am not going to announce anything until after the Brazilian Grand Prix.
“[BMW] was never a possibility – also for them. It was never a serious approach. They were quite happy with their drivers and there was no time to talk for me.”
The 27-year-old has also performed a U-Turn on his previous comments that F1's engine 'freeze' had been unfair in harming teams that stuck to the letter of the law on the matter – including Renault – more than those that did not.
Back in the summer, he echoed Flavio Briatore's contention that the French concern had fallen behind because some of the squad's rivals had pressed on with engine development even though it was no longer allowed, as he called for 'a little more consistency' in the regulations.
In evidence of his argument, Alonso pointed to qualifying for the European Grand Prix in Valencia, in which none of the four Renault-powered cars made the top ten on the grid for the first time all year, whilst both of Toro Rosso's STR3s – to all intents and purposes identical to Red Bull Racing's RB4, albeit with a Ferrari engine in the back rather than a Renault – got through to Q3.
Since then, however, the sport's governing body the FIA has announced that there is to be an equalisation of engine superiority throughout the field – which still seems not to have left Alonso entirely satisfied.
“If that happens I do not know if it is right or wrong,” the man from Oviedo underlined. “I don't feel very good about it, because on the one hand there is a freezing of engines for five years, and then after two years it is changed.”