* Renault managing director hints Alonso is leaving
* Alonso stays tight-lipped on future
* Driver dedicates podium finish to banned Briatore (Adds Alonso dedicating third place to Briatore, paras 9-11)
By Ossian Shine
SINGAPORE, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso said his mind was made up about his future after Renault hinted strongly on Sunday that the double world champion would be leaving the Formula One team.
“This podium (finish) doesn’t change anything,” the Spaniard smiled after finishing third in the Singapore Grand Prix. “I made a decision already...and soon we will know.”
Alonso won world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 and rejoined the team in 2008 after an unhappy one-year spell at McLaren.
Renault’s temporary managing director Jean-Francois Caubet indicated the driver would not stay with the French manufacturer after the end of the season.
“Renault will remain his family,” Caubet told French television channel TF1 when asked whether Alonso might leave. “We will miss him but he will miss us.”
The Spaniard has been linked to reigning world champions Ferrari for months with his move, as a replacement for Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, considered an open secret in the Formula One paddock.
His departure has looked even more likely since former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, who guided the Spaniard into Formula One, was handed a lifetime ban from the sport for his role in fixing last year’s Singapore race.
Renault were handed a suspended permanent ban.
“Obviously, now we have had these recent problems, I would like to dedicate my third place to Flavio, who watched this race at home,” Alonso said.
“Part of this success is down to him and he will be pleased for the team and they deserve it too as it has been difficult for everyone, the mechanics... engineers.”
“Hopefully we can put all the bad things behind us and this is a new starting point.”
Additional reporting by Patrick Vignal, editing by Alan Baldwin. To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org