Ross Brawn has admitted that Fernando Alonso is on Honda's Formula 1 shopping list for 2009 - but he insists that first, 'the situation with Ferrari must be resolved'.

It is a scarcely-kept paddock secret that Alonso is keen to move to Ferrari next year, despite denials from both sides, and with Felipe Massa's current strong form it may be that - should Kimi Raikkonen choose to retire at the end of the 2008 campaign - the former double world champion will slot in alongside the Brazilian at Maranello.

Should Raikkonen elect to continue, however, Alonso will have to look elsewhere for a drive, and it is believed he will not remain at Renault. He has endured a dispiriting campaign with the R?gie thus far over the opening eight races of the year, with just four points-scoring finishes under his belt, leaving him sitting in a distant ninth position in the championship chase - a far cry from the tallies of 59, 74 and 50 points he had notched up at the same stage over the past three seasons respectively.

One of the outfits with which he has been linked, should the door at Ferrari prove to be closed, is Honda, with team principal Ross Brawn acknowledging that the Spaniard would be welcome at Brackley - but only if he wanted to be there too.

"Honda is no different, of course," the former Ferrari technical director is quoted as having said by Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell. "Fernando is a very good driver that everyone would like to have sitting in their car.

"I know what team he would like to go to, though - everyone does. The reality is that, before we can talk seriously with him, the situation with Ferrari must be resolved."

Both of Honda's current driving line-up, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, are out of contract at the end of 2008. Though it is widely expected that the Briton's deal will be renewed, the future of his experienced Brazilian team-mate is less clear, with some speculating that - after a record-breaking number of starts in the top flight - Barrichello may decide to hang up his F1 helmet at season's close.

Adding fuel to the rumours linking Alonso with Honda, Brawn insisted the 26-year-old's turbulent relationship with McLaren-Mercedes last year would be no deterrent.

"There would be no problem, not at all," the Englishman stressed. "The truth is that it would be a fascinating challenge.

"Broadly speaking, everyone who has worked with him speaks highly of him. With McLaren it was obviously difficult, but the people at Renault regard him very highly."

 

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