The deal has been rumoured since last year, and is soon expected to be followed by confirmation that Fernando Alonso will race for them next year.
Alonso’s move has been something of an ‘open secret’ in F1 recently, with McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh even acknowledging it publicly a few weeks ago.
Ferrari have lured Santander away from McLaren after the Spanish bank has spent the last three years with the company. Although Lewis Hamilton features heavily in adverts for their British brand Abbey, they clearly want to be associated with Alonso again. The two developments should reunite Santander and Alonso for the first time since 2007.
There’s an element of tit-for-tat involved as well, as McLaren captured former Ferrari sponsor Vodafone at the beginning of 2007.
Who will Alonso’s team mate – or team mates – be in 2010? Both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen are contracted for 2010. It is not yet known whether Massa will return to the cockpit at the start of next year – although he won’t race again this year. Ferrari is understood to be trying to buy Raikkonen out of his contract, despite his recent resurgence in form.
Giancarlo Fisichella, who races for the team this weekend, has been tipped to become the team’s test driver in 2010. But Luca di Montezemolo is lobbying the FIA and the other teams to be allowed to run a third car for Michael Schumacher if he is able to drive.
I’m not keen on the idea of three-car teams, but a Schumacher-Alonso-Raikkonen line-up would give Ferrari a squad with ten world championship titles between them…
More on Ferrari in 2010