Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says Fernando Alonso will sooner or later drive for the historic Italian squad, but the boss suggested it will not happen next year.
Renault driver Alonso has been linked with a move to Ferrari for a long time, and speculation became even stronger after Spanish banking giant Santander, backer of Alonso, confirmed a five-year deal with the Maranello outfit yesterday.
Di Montezemolo suggested Ferrari already has too many drivers for next season to think of Alonso, but the Italian insisted he will hire the two-time champion some day.
"Sooner or later I'll make it happen. We'll see when," di Montezemolo told Spanish reporters at Monza.
"For next year we have Raikkonen, Massa, Fisichella, Badoer, Gene, and I hope Michael Schumacher, so we have a bench as long as Real Madrid's.
"We have two great champions with the 2007 champion and the man who was 2008 champion for 15 seconds when he crossed the line. So I think we have two extraordinary drivers."
He added: "Having said that, I've always liked Alonso, because he is a great driver that I spotted back when he was in Minardi. He won titles, and I've always thought that sooner or later, all great drivers come to Ferrari.
"Before the race at Imola, Ayton Senna came to me and told me: 'I want to end my career with Ferrari'; Prost, Lauda, Mansell, Michael, so we'll see. We look ahead, and life is long for everyone."
The Ferrari boss reiterated his support for the introduction of third cars in Formula 1 in order to allow the sport to have a more competitive field.
"I'm very much in favour for all teams to be able to field three cars, in order to be able to field young drivers, new people, a better show," he said.
"I think it's better to have three cars from well-known teams, than two cars from uncompetitive and unknown teams with uncompetitive drivers. I think F1 is excellence, so welcome to new drivers on competitive cars.
"I think appointing a third car to a young driver or to something new would be useful for the sport. Just look what Michael's return at Valencia would have meant. We must look ahead and try to do it."