The Renault F1 team has added its voice to others vociferously denying the recent speculation that Fernando Alonso will be joining Ferrari as Michael Schumacher's replacement in the next season or two.

The rumours began at last weekend's United States Grand Prix, with the Hungarian GP winner suddenly being elevated to the status of likely Schumacher replacement should the German decide to call time on his career at the end of the season. The Spanish press, in particular, made claims that Alonso had already spoken to the Scuderia about joining it in 2005, although both Ferrari and the driver's manager, Adrian Campos, denied all knowledge of talks. Now Renault, for whom Alonso triumphed in Hungary, has added its voice to the denials.

In a brief statement, the Enstone team insisted that it had first call on the Spaniard's services for the foreseeable future.

"In order to put an end to speculation which appeared in the international press following the US Grand Prix, the Renault F1 team would like to confirm that Fernando Alonso is under a long-term contract to the team, which includes the 2005 season," the missive read.

Schumacher has also denied that he intends to retire at Suzuka, either with or without the world championship, and Ferrari has insisted that it will field an unchanged line-up in 2004.

 

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