Fernando Alonso’s move to Ferrari is a done deal and will be announced in September at Monza.
That is the view of Spanish newspaper AS, which says that Alonso has agreed terms and that it is a matter of time before the contract is made public. Despite protestations to the opposite from Ferrari, Alonso is expected to be unveiled at the Italian Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver for next season.
The increased speculation comes after months of conjecture over the future of the Spaniard. The body language of Alonso and Luca di Montezemolo when they met on camera at a recent grand prix was close, and Alonso is known to have been manoeuvring for the seat since it became clear his 2007 McLaren adventure was not going to work out.
His unveiling in September would probably signify his arrival for 2010, as it would be unconventional for him to be announced for the following year. That would mean one of the current line-up would have to go, probably Kimi Raikkonen.
Despite a mystifying lack of form Raikkonen is still considered one of the best drivers in the sport, and so it is reasonable to expect Alonso to prefer Massa. But Massa will not be an easy adversary within the team for Alonso, who many people suspect of working behind the scenes to ensure he raced against a weaker driver in Nelson Piquet during the last two years.
Massa is adored within the Ferrari team and won many admirers in last year’s championship denouement, especially in Brazil where he won in tricky conditions. His mature performances this year have also gained him support. His on-track ding-dong with Alonso in 2007 at the Nurburgring (which resulted in a heated post-race discussion) will not have been forgotten by either man, although they are thought to get on well generally.