So Fernando Alonso has finally left McLaren once and for all.

Even after all that’s happened this year I’m relatively surprised to be honest, as his best chance of being in a car capable of winning races and the title in 2008 was surely with the Woking team.  Ferrari’s announcement that Massa has been handed a new contract until 2010 has surely scuppered any chance of Alonso joining Raikkonen in Italy next year - that’s assuming Alonso would even have been happy being in the same team as the current World Champion.

Alonso gives the impression of being happiest when he is a big fish in a small pond, as he was at Renault, rather than being in a team where everyone is his equal (or better) so he isn’t going to enjoy life with a driver like Raikkonen in the same garage.

So where will he go?

The obvious choice is a return to Renault with McLaren receiving Heikki Kovalainen to sweeten the deal, but surely if that was on the cards then it would all have been announced at the same time rather than Alonso’s departure being announced on it’s own?

McLaren do obviously now have to find another driver to fill his seat, so it is still possible that the Heikki switch will take place in the coming days - and then it’s up to Renault to find someone, which could be Alonso.  But the timing seems really strange if that is all to come to anything.

Another option being banded about is a move to Red Bull, even though they have two drivers signed up for next year.  I’m not sure if team principal Christian Horner is the sort of man who breaks contracts willingly, but I suppose a two-time World Champion knocking on your door may be seen as a special case.  There’s no doubts that Alonso will command a huge wage, and if anyone can afford to pay it then it’ll be Red Bull.

If that was the case then it would be a shame to see either Coulthard or Webber leave the team - would anyone else want them?  Of the two, Webber has a much better chance of getting another seat as DC is portrayed as being at the end of his career.  People in the know still think he has a couple of years left in him though so for his career to come to a premature end would be a huge shame.

Mark Webber has always said he rues turning down a move to Renault a couple of years ago, so perhaps he will be the man to give way for Alonso and move over to Renault should Heikki move to McLaren.  Who knows!

For some reason over the weekend of the Brazilian GP I had an inkling that Alonso may move to Williams, for a season at least.  I don’t have a clue why, but it was just something that popped into my head!  If Alonso really does want a crack at Ferrari in 2009 then he may be willing to take a paycut and drive for a team like Williams as long as it’s just for a year - I would imagine that proposition is more favourable to him than taking a sabbatical year out.

There are rumours of Rubens Barrichello getting the elbow from Honda even though he too has a contract for next year.  He had a pretty woeful season this year, his first season where he hasn’t scored any points at all, so I can see why these rumours have started.  Rubens is on course to become the most experienced F1 driver in history partway through next season so he will be doing everything he can to ensure his drive for next year.

Even if he did leave, surely Alonso isn’t desperate enough to drive a Honda - or is he?

If I had to make a prediction, I think I’d go for DC and Alonso at Red Bull with Webber moving to Renault and Heikki moving to McLaren.  I think that covers all the vacancies each move would make!

Hopefully we won’t have to wait long to find out either way.