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Rediff.com  » Sports » Alonso move jumpstarts F1 merry-go-round

Alonso move jumpstarts F1 merry-go-round

Last updated on: September 30, 2009 20:50 IST

Fernando AlonsoFernando Alonso's move to Ferrari, confirmed on Wednesday, will give the Formula One driver merry-go-round the big push that everyone has been waiting for.

The deal took nobody by surprise, with Finland's 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen making way for the Spaniard next year at the Italian team who now have Spanish bank Santander as major backers.

Ferrari said the double world champion had agreed a three-year deal, with Spain's Marca newspaper saying Alonso would be paid around 20 million euros ($29.14 million) a year, some seven million less than Raikkonen was said to be getting.

Raikkonen, whose contract was terminated a year early, is now expected to return to his previous team McLaren as Lewis Hamilton's team mate in a line-up of champions.

That will force fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen to look elsewhere.

Of the top teams, only Red Bull have their line-up confirmed with Australian Mark Webber again partnering German Sebastian Vettel.

Elsewhere, after a year that has already seen two drivers replaced and a third ruled out by injury, there is only uncertainty.

BMW-Sauber's Polish driver Robert Kubica is seen as the frontrunner to replace Alonso at Renault after confirming last week that the team was one of his options.

Other widely predicted moves are for Germany's Nico Rosberg to switch from Williams to Brawn, with Mercedes likely to increase their involvement in that team.

That deal may not be announced for some time however, with both Brawn drivers fighting for this year's world championship.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, 15 points adrift of British team mate Jenson Button, could go from Brawn to Williams to partner Germany's GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg, who has been the team's reserve driver.

The autosport.com website on Wednesday quoted sources saying 37-year-old Barrichello had recently visited the Williams factory to discuss plans for next year.

Toyota have told Timo Glock he is free to look around, although he could also stay, while also suggesting weeks ago that Italian Jarno Trulli will not be retained.

That could provide an opening for Kovalainen and Japan's Kazuki Nakajima, a Toyota protege who has yet to score a point this year at Williams.

Four new teams, and possibly five if BMW-Sauber are given the green light under new ownership, are also looking for drivers.

McLaren's Spanish test driver Pedro de la Rosa looks likely to be in the Campos GP cockpit while Brazilian Bruno Senna, nephew of the late triple champion Ayrton, is confident he will find a race seat.

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