Rumours hit high gear as rivals race for Alonso

Mon, 5 November 2007, 08:44

Flavio Briatore has set a Tuesday deadline for Fernando Alonso to sign a Renault contract for 2008.

Spanish newspapers report that the flamboyant Italian chief has already sent the documents to Alonso’s management to be signed, but the deal is likely to fall through.

Spaniard Alonso, despite winning his first race for Renault in 2003 and going on to secure back to back titles in 2005 and 2006, is pushing for a one-year deal, so that tempting alternatives like BMW and Ferrari are free to sign him in 2009.

But Spanish media sources insist that Briatore’s offer is strictly for a minimum of two years; enough time to keep lucrative sponsors on board to cover the huge expense of signing the 26-year-old double world champion.

“Let’s see what happens between now and Tuesday,” Briatore told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Red Bull Racing and Toyota are believed to be separately willing to meet Alonso’s demands for a one year deal with options to renew.

Some experts believe Red Bull is the frontrunner, particularly if Dietrich Mateschitz is also prepared to delve into the additional cost of hiring Ross Brawn to work alongside Alonso and Adrian Newey.

The Spanish daily Marca, however, reports that current Red Bull driver Mark Webber has advised his friend – Alonso – against joining the Milton Keynes based outfit.

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