Spanish bank Santander has finally admitted that it will jump ship from McLaren-Mercedes to Ferrari in 2010 – and is hoping to tempt Fernando Alonso to Maranello into the bargain.
In addition to acting as a title sponsor of the British Grand Prix, Santander joined forces with the Woking-based outfit in tandem with Alonso back at the beginning of the 2007 campaign – but remained on-board when the double Formula 1 World Champion quit his three-year contract early to return to Renault this season.
With its own deal also up for renewal at the end of 2009, though, Santander chairman Emilio Botin has confirmed the long-anticipated news that it will adorn the side of scarlet rather than silver machines in the not-too distant future [see separate story – click here
“Santander will be with Ferrari in 2010, yes,” Botin told Spanish newspaper Diario AS
The 75-year-old also made no secret of the fact that Santander would like Alonso to move to the Scuderia
too, despite both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen on the surface being under contract to Ferrari until the end of the 2010 campaign.
It is, however, rumoured that the reputed $25 million per year deal would cater for 2007 world champion Raikkonen – whose motivation and desire to win was widely questioned for much of this year – being paid off early to make way for the man from Oviedo.
“Alonso is the best driver in the world,” Botin underlined. “We would like to work with him, but that's not something that depends only on us.”