Alonso Turned Down Ferrari For 2009 According To AS
iario AS has run with an exclusive story in Spain today claiming that Fernando Alonso turned down a late offer from Ferrari for a race drive in 2009 out of loyalty to Renault.
The Spaniard driver claimed that the offer from Ferrari was far too late and if he had accepted it would have been unfair on Renault having to find another driver, and work their development for 2009 around someone else after all their work with him.
AS also claims that the deal would have seen Alonso replace Kimi Raikkonen NOT Felipe Massa as many had expected at the start of 2008.
“In short, the Italian team’s sudden interest came too late for Fernando.” AS said.
This rumour about Kimi Raikkonen being replaced comes just days after former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine suggested that Raikkonen should be sacked if he does not perform in 2009. If Ferrari were to keep him into 2010, Irvine believes he should take a massive pay-cut after what he saw as serious shortcomings in 2008.
“If you’re the highest paid you have to be the best and he’s not doing the job, simple as that,” Irvine told Virgin Media
“If he [Raikkonen] doesn’t beat Massa next year I’d be sacking him or reducing his wages massively.” the Northern Irish driver added.
Meanwhile in Italy, media and motorsport figures have been adding significant fuel to fire in terms of attracting the driver to the team.
“It’s like putting another Schumacher in the house,” La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote. “Alonso is quick, technically strong, very bright, and his consistency is unparalleled.”
Former F1 boss Giancarlo Minardi spoke to La Gazetta too.
“I haven’t seen him since the Italian Grand Prix, and even then we did not talk about his future, but there is no doubt that he would be a great Ferrari driver.” Minardi said.
“I have the feeling that with an equal chance he can easily beat Hamilton,”