Two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso has reportedly inked a secret deal with Ferrari that will see the Spaniard joining the Scuderia Ferrari team in 2011. According to Reuters
, the contract is for a four year stint, however there are several clauses that will allow both Ferrari and Alonso to abandon the deal should they wish.
Reports have been streaming in for the past two weeks about Alonso's ambitions to join the most successful team this decade on the grid. Today, Alonso' manager mentioned that "Fernando has expressed some interest in racing for Ferrari", but emphasized that things were not completely set in concrete yet, reminding reporters that "2011 is still a long way away".
Should the deal go ahead, then Ferrari would have a formidable set of drivers for the 2011 season. Earlier this month, Alonso was crowned the best F1 driver of 2008 by respected Italian sports outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport
. The newspaper claimed Alonso's potential was stunted by "the handicap of Renault engine power. Had he driven a Ferrari, the title would certainly have been his."
There is also talk that the rumored four-year deal could begin as early as 2010, rather than 2011. Currently, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen is under contract until 2010, but his poor race results may see him ousted to be replaced by Alonso. Alonso is currently also signed with Renault for another two seasons, which would make the timing fortuitous for a changing of the guards at Ferrari.
Ferrari boss Luca Di Montezemolo also seemed to hint at a possible new face in 2010. Speaking to reporters, he stated that he would like to have a driver "like Alonso", but that he was currently happy with the current Ferrari lineup. Keeping the door open, however, he enigmatically stated that "maybe in two years I will tell you something different".