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Honda interested in Alonso

July 04, 2008 12:59 IST

Honda would be interested in double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso [Images] if he wants out of Renault and cannot move to Ferrari [Images], team boss Ross Brawn said on Thursday.

"We are fairly happy with our two drivers, we'll be interested to see what Fernando does," the former Ferrari technical director toldĀ said at the British Grand Prix.

"He's a great driver and a world champion. If he chooses not to stay at Renault then I think every team would be interested in what he's going to do. But it's no more than that."

Honda have Brazilian Rubens Barrichello and Briton Jenson Button [Images] as their drivers this season but neither has a cast-iron contract for 2009, although Button at least is expected to stay.

Alonso, who replaced Button at Renault in 2003, won his titles with the French team in 2005 and 2006 and returned this year after a difficult and fractious season at McLaren.

With Renault struggling to get near to the podium and without a win since 2006, Alonso's future has been under close scrutiny with the 26-year-old Spaniard eager to get back into a winning car.

"The two top teams consistently over the last five years have been Ferrari and latterly McLaren," said Brawn.

"I don't suppose he's got an invitation to go back to McLaren so if he wants a top team berth then I'm sure he's going to be looking very hard at Ferrari.

"I'm not completely clear on the situation at Ferrari. Felipe [Massa] has got a contract until the end of 2010 and he's doing a very good job so I'd see no reason to change that," continued the Briton.

"And if Kimi [Raikkonen] doesn't wake up one morning and decide to stop, then that [pairing] doesn't look like its going to stop in the short term. So I guess that might develop into a situation [for Alonso] but its far too early to say."

LIMITED CHOICE

Brazilian Massa is leading the championship after eight races while team mate Raikkonen won the title last season and is currently third.

Raikkonen said last month however that he had yet to decide what to do when his Ferrari contract expires at the end of 2009.

"I guess he [Alonso] has got some thinking to do about what he wants to do," said Brawn. "If he doesn't get in to Ferrari, he's got to pick a horse and back it for the next few years."

Honda, who have struggled in the seasons since they won the Hungarian Grand Prix with Button in 2006, can only offer potential but hope to be far more competitive in 2009 when the regulations change.

"Ours is all promise, we haven't delivered anything yet," said Brawn. "I think for any top personnel in Formula One, be it drivers engineers or whoever, we hope Honda can be a serious consideration in the future.

"People want to work with teams that can compete at the front, at the moment its primarily McLaren and Ferrari and if you want to work for a winning team its a limited choice. We hope we can become one of those teams."

He said 36-year-old Barrichello, with a record 260 races under his belt, and Button remain in the frame for 2009.

"Both are in discussion. I think later this summer will be the appropriate time [to make announcements]. I'm definitely not unhappy if we carry on with the same two drivers as we have. I think we can do the job with them."

© Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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