Fernando Alonso with his new Maserati GranCabrio – Click above for high-res image gallery

What do Formula One drivers drive in their downtime? Well, when you're a two-time world champion like Fernando Alonso, you get to drive pretty much whatever you want. That is, assuming the team you're driving for isn't owned by a specific automaker. Then you'll need to drive whatever the provide you with. And in Alonso's case, notwithstanding his solo 2001 debut season with Minardi-Cosworth, he's pretty much only driven for automaker-owned teams: Renault, McLaren- Mercedes, then back to Renault and now Ferrari.

While at Renault, Alonso drove a Megane RS that was later offered for sale on eBay. When he moved to McLaren, he got his finely-honed hands on an SLR 722. Now that he's at Ferrari, you'd expect him to be driving a new 458 Italia or a 599 GTB Fiorano, right? Almost, but not quite.

Ferrari's sister company Maserati has announced that Alonso has acquired a new GranCabrio – to be sold Stateside as the GranTurismo Convertible, lest we be confused. The Spanish driver – who's already off to a great start, having won his first race with the team to which everyone said he always belonged – picked one out in (very) dark gray with a two-tone beige and bordeaux interior with a matching canvas roof. And if you think about it, his selection makes sense: if you're driving a high-strung performance machine for work, wouldn't you want to unwind in something a little more relaxed? Press release after the jump, photos in the galleries below.

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[Source: Maserati]
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A Maserati GranCabrio for Fernando Alonso
18/03/2010 - Modena

The two-times Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso, driver of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, has "unveiled" in Fiorano the Maserati GranCabrio that he has selected.

The Spanish driver has chosen for the GranCabrio elegant fixtures, preferring a darker shade for the exterior in combination with two-tone upholstery for the interior. Grigio Granito is the colour of the body, while the interior has a combination of Pearl Beige and Bordeaux leather, matching a soft top of the same shade.

The GranCabrio represents the synthesis of Maseratis in terms of top down models. It is a Maserati in the purest sense of the term: from the unmistakable style of Pininfarina to the craftsmanship of every detail, from the pleasure of driving to top performance - assured by a V8 engine of 4.7 liters and 440 hp with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fernando Alonso was particularly impressed by the space offered by the GranCabrio, perfect for four adult passengers. The GranCabrio is in fact the first four-seat convertible in the history of Maserati.

To emphasize the link with the Maserati tradition, the roof of the GranCabrio is strictly canvas. Available in six colours, perfectly integrated into the design of the car, it folds up in only 20 seconds (28 seconds including the movement of the four independent windows).

The Maserati GranCabrio is being marketed throughout Europe starting in this month of March.

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