FERRARI has confirmed that two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso will leave the famous team following this weekend’s final race of the 2014 season in Abu Dhabi.
Four-time world champ Sebastian Vettel has been confirmed as Alonso’s replacement. Speculation has been rife in recent weeks about Alonso’s imminent departure, and this morning’s announcement means that it looks even more likely that the Spaniard will be joining McLaren for next year’s racing season.
“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,” said Alonso. “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 have reached my very best level professionally, tackling major challenges that pushed me to find new limits.”
Thirty-three-year-old Alonso won just four races in five years at a Ferrari team that has struggled with pace over the last few years.
Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari team principal, said: “In the Scuderia Ferrari roll of honour of great drivers, Fernando Alonso will always occupy a special place. 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.”
McLaren said this week that a decision on next year’s drivers will not be announced until next month at the earliest, but it is widely believed that Alonso will replace either Jenson Button or Kevin Magnussen at the Woking-based outfit.