Fernando Alonso has committed his future to Renault, ending speculation over a possible move to Ferrari in 2009.
Renault has become the seventh team to announce an unchanged line-up for 2009 with Nelson Piquet Jnr remaining alongside Alonso.
Alonso had been linked to Ferrari, BMW and Honda at different stages during the season. But after the first two teams confirmed they would stay with the same drivers for the foreseeable future, Alonso was increasingly expected to stay at Renault.
He has enjoyed an excellent end to the season with the team, winning two of the last four races. He scored 33 points in the final four rounds, 13 more than any other driver (Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa each scored 20).
Piquet has not enjoyed a very successful a season in his first year of F1. He had more non-mechanical DNFs than any other driver (seven) and was the only driver to be out-qualified by his team mate at every round.
Earlier rumours suggested Renault might promote Lucas di Grassi or Romain Grosjean in his place. Piquet’s retention is not going to diminish suggestions that, after 2007, Alonso doesn’t want to share a team with a competitive driver again.
But with Renault clearly enjoying a resurgence, the prospect of Alonso facing down Hamilton and the Ferrari duo for the 2009 championship is an enticing one…