Alonso linked with move to Ferrari for 2009

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The Independent Online

Only two races into the 2008 Formula One season, rumours are connecting Fernando Alonso to a drive with Ferrari in 2009.

"I always try to be in the best car," the former champion said in Malaysia, where the second grand prix took place on Sunday. "I'm at Renault now because I wanted to go back to winning, like in 2005 and 2006. But I have an option to leave so I can still be in the best possible car, and it is clear that Ferrari's is one of the best."

The Ferrari driver Felipe Massa is under pressure after poor performances in Australia and Malaysia, even though he has a contract until 2010. "It's early to talk about moves and rumours, but Massa has had two bad races with mistakes and that has kicked off speculation," Alonso said. "It's logical, but as I said, it's too early."

Other sources suggest that if Kimi Raikkonen wins the title for a second time he might make way for Alonso at Ferrari by deciding to retire. Though Alonso has also been linked with a possible drive with the emergent BMW Sauber team next year, the same sources that were adamant (and correct) in 2006 that Raikkonen would go to Ferrari are equally adamant that an Alonso-Ferrari deal was inked last year.

Flavio Briatore, Renault's team principal, said yesterday: "Fernando is a great sportsman, who will always give his best, and rumours I never comment on."

Briatore promises his star driver a better car from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards. "It does not make sense to judge a car after one or two races. Of course, McLaren and Ferrari have a fast car, but look what happened to Ferrari in Australia," he said. "So we will have to wait and see at the next couple of races."

Alonso, however, has made it clear that he does not expect to win with Renault this season. "Before Barcelona [for the Spanish GP on 27 April] we will have some improvements for the car, [but] the same ones all teams will make. The championship is going to stay more or less the same.

"We saw it last year and we see it every year. The cars that win the first two or three races stay on top. We are not going to see big surprises during the year."