Ferrari has confirmed Kimi Raikkonen will drive for the team for at least one more season in 2010. With Felipe Massa contracted for the same duration, the Scuderia will not be looking for any news drivers until 2011 at the earliest.
Recent rumours have linked him with BMW and Honda, and of course there remains a decent chance of him staying at Renault next year.
Pro – Renault are a known quantity to Alonso and, after the debacle at McLaren last year, that must be important to him. Similarly, he knows he is not in any danger of being paired with a team mate he disapproves of. He won back-to-back championships with the team in 2005 and 2006 so he knows they have it in them to win again.
Con – The 2008 car is poor, and that was despite them curtailing development on last year’s R27 early in the season. Renault have fallen behind on engine development because of Flavio Briatore’s desire to obey the spirit, rather than the letter, of the engine rules. Alonso and the team have differed on strategies at several key points this year, and a potential win at Spa went begging as a result.
Pro – Some sources claim Alonso has already signed with Honda. Honda is his chance to ‘do a Schumacher’ and transform a struggling team into race winners. Alonso has first-rate abilities in developing a car (despite his much-derided “six-tenths” comment last year) which is exactly what Ross Brawn need. They’ve got Ross brawn, who’s been prioritising their 2008 campaign for a long time. And it would keep him in England, where he has been living for several years.
Con – Jenson Button might be a more competitive team mate than Alonso would wish for (although he didn’t fare well against Giancarlo Fisichella in 2001, who Alonso hammered at Renault in 2005-6).
Pro – BMW are a top-three team at the moment and, given the improvements they made over the last two winters, could well be winning regularly next year.
Con – I can’t see Alonso being paired with Robert Kubica, who looks every bit as promising as Hamilton, and therefore just as likely to upset Alonso. Nor can I see BMW letting Kubica go, especially as Ferrari is now full until 2011.
Who do you think Fernando Alonso will drive for in 2010 – or 2009?