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Alonso the center of attention in F1 circles

SPANIARD Fernando Alonso is at the center of Formula One attention with the possibility of three drives on the cards for the youngster - with Minardi, Ferrari and Prost.

The 19-year-old is, according to reports in Italy, close to sealing a deal to drive for Minardi, who he is contracted to on a five-year long-term deal, in 2001.

With Marc Gene's future with the Italian minnows looking increasingly doubtful, Alonso has emerged as the likely candidate to replace him with Leaseplan, a company who support the driver, close to finalizing a sponsorship deal with Minardi.

But in a surprise move, double-winning Ferrari are ready to pounce for the talented teenager and want to appoint him as their second test driver behind Italian Luca Badoer.

And in a bizarre twist, Ferrari, who will supply engines to Prost next year, will push for Alonso to be named as the second driver to Jean Alesi with the Guyancourt-based team.

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