Update from the Rumor Mill: Where are you going, Fernando?

Earlier reports that reigning Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso has signed with Ferrari for next season seem to be mere speculation, although the prospect of the Spanish driver leaving McLaren at the fast-approaching end of the season is looking likely.

The back-to-back title holder has had an upsetting season battling it out with rookie driver Lewis Hamilton, who is all but completely assured the championship with 107 points to Alonso's 95 and only two races to go. The two leading pilots have been at each other's throats all season, and at last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix Hamilton stated repeatedly that he'd like to see his teammate leave. Alonso, in return, has professed his preference for obliging Hamilton's request, but only if he could find his way into a competitive car for 2008.

[Source: F1i.com]

Ferrari boss Jean Todt insists that there is a "zero percent chance" that Alonso will drive for the Scuderia next season, but not because Todt's previously-professed dislike of the Spaniard. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa are locked in by contract for next season, and though contracts aren't what they used to be in F1 – after all, it's Alonso's that would have to be broken in the first place – the pundits don't see Maranello offloading either of their two current drivers.

Meanwhile Renault boss Flavio Briatore has made no secret of his desire to bring Alonso back to the French team, assuring him he'd have the clear #1 status, something he's missed at McLaren this year. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone suggested Alonso could opt to sit the next season out, but Alonso says he's ruled that out. That leaves BMW-Sauber as the only competitive team left, but their roster is confirmed for 2008.

The only other teams that have yet to fill their seats for next season are Toyota (which Ralf Schumacher just vacated), the severely uncompetitive and recently-sold Spyker (to change names yet again next season) and, intriguingly, the new Prodrive team, which is tipped to partner up with the same McLaren to which Alonso is contracted.

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