Ferrari confirm Alonso to quit Scuderia, Vettel signed up for three years
Ferrari have finally confirmed that Fernando Alonso is to leave the Italian squad, with McLaren the Spaniard’s almost certain destination.
Ferrari have finally confirmed that Fernando Alonso is to leave the Italian squad, with McLaren the Spaniard’s almost certain destination. In a separate statement they confirmed F1's worst kept secret that he will be replaced by four times world champion Sebastian Vettel on a three year deal, which he describes as "the dream of a lifetime."
Vettel added that the inspiration had come from watching his fellow German Michael Schumacher dominating F1 in the 2000s with Ferrari, "I'm incredibly motivated to help Ferrari get back to the top," he said. "I will put my heart and soul into it."
Commenting on the severance of his ties to the Maranello team, with whom he had scored 1186 points, 44 podiums and 11 wins, Alonso said: “Today is not an easy one for me, because even if I always look to the future with great enthusiasm and determination, at the end of this season my journey as a Ferrari driver will come to an end.
“It was a difficult decision to take, but a carefully considered one and from start to finish, my love for Ferrari was a prime consideration. I have always been lucky enough to make my own decisions about my future and I have that possibility now too. I must thank the team for that, as it understood my position. I leave Scuderia Ferrari after five years, during which I reached my very best level professionally, tackling major challenges that pushed me to find new limits. I also proved to be a true team-player, putting the interests of the Scuderia before my own.
“On three occasions we came second in the Formula One world championship, two of them fighting for the title right up to and including the final race, running in a championship winning position for many laps,” he concluded. “Without a shadow of a doubt, these five years produced some of the best moments of my career.”
Team Principal Marco Mattiacci paid tribute to Alonso’s achievements at Ferrari saying that the Spaniard would hold “a special place in the Scuderia Ferrari roll of honour”.
“We offer him our heartfelt thanks for what has been an extraordinary adventure with the Scuderia, when in the past five years, he twice came so close to winning the world championship. I am sure that a great driver like Fernando will always hold the Prancing Horse dear to his heart and I also expect the Ferrari fans will continue to hold him in high regard in his future endeavours.”
Alonso is, of course, expected to drive at McLaren in 2015, with either Jenson Button or Kevin Magnussen making way for the two-time champion, though the team this week said it would not make an announcement on its driver line-up until after 1 December.
Alonso will be watching the test next week of McLaren’s new engine partner Honda very closely for signs of competitiveness. With Mercedes expected to have another 30-40hp next season, the bar is high for Honda. A sabattical year remains an outside possibility for the Spaniard, who is targeting Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes drive for 2016.
Alonso joins a very short list of drivers who have left Ferrari through choice. The 33 year old won 11 Grands Prix for the team and twice came close to wining the title, but the competitive decline in the last two seasons has pushed him to seek a title winning team despite having two years left on his contract
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