Ferrari boss Jean Todt has denied that his team is talking to double world champion Fernando Alonso about pairing him with Kimi Raikkonen next season.

Much has been made of Alonso's unhappy relationship with McLaren boss Ron Dennis and, despite the Spaniard insisting that he would be willing to remain at Woking in 2008, paddock rumours still maintain that the two will go their separate ways next season. Alonso has been linked to both a return to Renault or move to Ferrari, where he would form a 'superteam' with Raikkonen - the latter suggestion hyped by the sight of Felipe Massa visiting the Toyota motorhome at Spa two weeks ago.

However, speaking to Reuters reporters at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, Todt ruled out the possibility of the double world champion lining up in red.

"Zero per cent," was how the diminutive Frenchman rated Alonso's chances of moving to Maranello, "We have two fantastic drivers in Kimi and Felipe [Massa]. We are very happy with them and they are under contract. I would respect a contract for a guy cleaning the floor, so you can imagine that I will respect a contract with them. If we have a contract, we respect it."

Despite his denial, however, Todt refused to rule out the possibility of Alonso ever becoming a Ferrari driver.

"People have said that, while I'm at Ferrari, Alonso can't come, [but] that's not true," he told Spain's El Pais newspaper, "I never said that. It wouldn't be right. I am employed by Ferrari [and] if, at some point, I knew Ferrari was interested in signing Alonso, I'd say okay. I wouldn't oppose it. My principal interest is Ferrari.

"It is true that I did not like the way he acted with me [while he was in F3000] but, since then, he has earned two world titles and is fighting for a third. He has improved a lot, [and] is stronger physically and mentally. As a driver, I have great respect for him, so I can only say 'never say never'.

"However, he has a contract with McLaren in 2008 [and], therefore, cannot come. A contract is somewhat sacred for me, something that one must respect. Not only for the driver, but also for the team. Just as others should respect our contracts, I respect theirs."

 

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