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MADRID - Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso is planning to switch from Renault to Ferrari for next year's F1 season, Spanish sports newspapers Marca and AS reported yesterday.
Negotiations for the Spanish driver's transfer are close to completion and could become official at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on September 11 to 13, according to the reports that were echoed by Italian media.
The 27-year-old Spaniard won the driver's championships in 2005 and 2006 for Renault and is under contract with the French manufacturer until the end of next year but with a get-out clause he can activate earlier. Alonso, who is ninth in the driver's championship table, has expressed dissatisfaction with Renault's underperforming R29 model, even though engineers say radical improvements are on the way.
Ferrari are believed to be less than happy with Kimi Raikkonen, who is tenth in the table, and could be keen on the idea of Alonso partnering Felipe Massa. But the Italian firm would find it very expensive to buy Raikkonen out of his cast-iron contract.
Reports claim Alonso has secured the backing of Spanish financial giant Banco de Santander to get a five-year deal with Ferrari. - Sapa-AFP