Alonso in at Ferrari

Silly season is about to properly kick off this coming weekend at the Japanese GP, where all signs point to Ferrari announcing Fernando Alonso as their driver for next year.

Neither the Scuderia nor Alonso’s current team Renault are denying the move any more – as expertly illustrated in this here picture, er… – but no one’s going to confirm it until the finer points of releasing Kimi Raikkonen from his current Ferrari contract are sorted out.

Like we mentioned a few weeks back – when a few of you were sceptical about the switch – Alonso’s move has been assumed for a few months and, along with Felipe Massa, will make for a strong pairing.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali admitted in Singapore last night that the Scuderia ‘don’t want to wait too long’ to announce their driver line-up – if Kimi was staying, they would have announced it already.

Renault’s current chief Jean-Francois Caubet also told Autosport at the Singapore GP that he thinks ‘Fernando will miss Renault, and Renault will miss Fernando.’

So that’s pretty much confirmed it, then.

Kimi’s reportedly going to make a move back to McLaren, where he’ll join Lewis Hamilton for another formidable pairing.

And although Ross has said that his Brawn GP squad aren’t making any announcements until the season’s done with – you can imagine he wouldn’t be too keen in demotivating the outgoing Rubens Barrichello while he’s challenging for the WDC title – Williams’ Nico Rosberg is expected to team up with Jenson Button at Brawn.

Current BMW driver Robert Kubica is thought to be heading over to Renault as their number one, but I don’t know where either Rubens or McLaren’s other driver Heikki Kovalainen will end up.

What do you think?

UPDATE: BBC Sport are carrying a story with details of Alonso’s Ferrari contract – salary in the region of 19-25 million euros (£17.3m-£22.8m) running to the end of 2011, with an option on a further three more years.

Another UPDATE: Ferrari have just confirmed Fernando Alonso will be driving for them from 2010, and that Kimi Raikkonen is leaving the team. Read all about it on BBC Sport.

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