You never say 'never' in a business as capriciously unpredictable as Formula 1, but Fernando Alonso must surely be wondering whether he is ever going to win another Grand Prix after the door of future opportunity at Ferrari was slammed firmly in his face last week by Luca di Montezemolo.

Certainly, as he goes into his home race at Barcelona this coming Sunday, it's difficult to see how he can expect to finish any better than seventh - assuming Ferrari, McLaren and BMW Sauber get both their cars to the chequered flag.

The conventional wisdom in the F1 pits and paddock had been that Alonso was parked up at Renault as a convenient interim berth between McLaren - with whom he fell out last year - and the Prancing Horse, which everybody blithely assumed would kick Felipe Massa out of the door to make way for the Prince of the Asturias.

That theory has now been shot down in flames. "To line up a Raikkonen-Alonso double act would mean wanting to damage yourself. I want two equal drivers that work together," the Ferrari president told Gazzetta dello Sport. 

Nobody underestimates Renault's technical competence as potential race winners, but they are struggling with their R28 challenger at the present moment. I'm not sure whether they are being helped or hindered by having Alonso on the team strength at the present moment. Certainly, the glory days of the 2005 and 06 world championships must seem like distant memories from another solar system for the hard-working lads from Enstone.