Bernie predicts Alonso sabbatical in 2008 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Bernie predicts Alonso sabbatical in 2008

Bernie predicts Alonso sabbatical in 2008

As far as the most powerful man in the paddock of Fuji Speedway knows, Fernando Alonso could be set to take a year off in 2008.

Speaking with British reporters at the scene of the Japanese grand prix, F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone says he has been "told" that Alonso might be heading to Ferrari, but only after his McLaren contract runs out.

"It would be terrible but there is nothing you can do about it," the 76-year-old said of the prospect of a multiple world champion on the sidelines.

"It might suit Ron (Dennis). Ron might say, 'I'll pay you but you can't drive for anyone else', like they do with the designers."

For the moment, it's all paddock chatter.

"He has no idea, nor has Ron. He's got a contract and if Ron wants him to stick to it he'll have to," the diminutive Briton said.

Ecclestone also predicted that the Spaniard's championship run-in with teammate Lewis Hamilton might be destined for a Senna-Prost-esque collision over the last three races.

"I'd love to see that," he mischievously confessed, adding that he reckons Alonso declared that sort of war two weeks ago at Spa.

"I think he tried to take him off. It looked like it, didn't it? In the old days they were a bit naughty but now it's much safer.

"Like the $100m fine, it would bring a lot of publicity and it'd be very dramatic. That would be great.

"Imagine if it happened on the last lap of the last race. The guy who was leading at the time, points-wise, would be the winner. So it would be a controversial end."

For what it's worth, Alonso played down the possibility of such a clash. "It will not happen," he confidently said.
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