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  Sunday, 23 June, 2002, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Alonso 'promised Renault drive'
Fernando Alonso - a hot tip to replace Jenson Button at Renault next year
Alonso is expected to race for Renault in 2003
The man who is expected to replace Jenson Button at Renault next year has said that he has been promised a drive by the team in 2003.

BBC Sport Online understands that Renault have already decided to replace Button with Spanish rising star Fernando Alonso for next year.

But Alonso has said that Renault team boss Flavio Briatore gave him his testing role on the understanding that he would be promoted to the race team next year.

Alonso will partner Italian Jarno Trulli, leaving Button to look for another drive, although Briatore has insisted that no decision has been made.


I am keeping my options open - I think anyone would do it
Jenson Button
"I want to race for Renault because this year I had some good opportunities to race and Flavio said no, always be in the team, know the car and be ready for 2003," said Alonso.

"So next year is 2003 and I hope to race here. But it is maybe a little bit too early to have an answer.

"We are working on that, Flavio is working on that as well, and I hope to race for Renault next year. "

The 20-year-old, who had an impressive debut season with Minardi in 2001, also tested for Jaguar last month but insists his focus is on Renault and not on joining Niki Lauda's outfit.

"The test for Jaguar was only a favour that Flavio did with Niki but nothing to do with next year," said Alonso at the European Grand Prix in Germany.

"Now I am only really thinking about racing here at Renault."

Jaguar are known to be interested in Minardi driver Mark Webber, who is expected to test for the team this coming week.

Button has admitted he is talking to other teams, though he refused to confirm that he has already had discussions with Jaguar.

Renault's 2002 drivers Jarno Trulli (left), Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso (right) with team boss Flavio Briatore
Button (second left) is set to be released by Renault

He is also understood to have spoken with Toyota, where he would possibly be a replacement for Scotland's Allan McNish.

"Wherever I am next year, the decision is not going to be made in the next two weeks," said Button.

"I have been talking to other teams, that's all I am going to say. It's keeping my options open - I think anyone would do it.

"I have options for next season so you're going to talk to everyone to find out what's going on, what their new car's going to be like next year."

Eddie Irvine's contract with Jaguar runs out at the end of this season and he is not expected to be kept on by the team.

In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

News and reaction

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
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