The worst kept-secret regarding Fernando Alonso joining the Scuderia has been finally confirmed. The Spaniard will replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari from 2010, signing a new three-year deal.
The double world champion’s move from Renault has been anticipated for many months, and will see him paired with Felipe Massa in the Italian race team.
“We are very proud to welcome to our team another winning driver, who has demonstrated his amazing talent by winning two world championships in his career to date,” said Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.
Alonso’s arrival means Raikkonen is likely to make a return to his former team McLaren with Lewis Hamilton as his new team-mate next season.
The Finn delivered the world championship for the Scuderia in his first season with the team back in 2007, but his results have declined since and he will leave the squad a year before his contract had been set to expire.
“Of course, we wish to thank Kimi for everything he has done during his time with Ferrari,” said Domenicali. “In his first year with us, he managed to win the drivers’ title, thus making his contribution to Ferrari’s history and he played a vital role in our taking of the constructors’ title in 2007 and 2008.
“Even during a difficult season like this one, he has demonstrated his great talent, with several good results, including a great win in Spa and we are sure that we can share more good times together in the final three races of this season.”
Raikkonen underlined that his departure from Ferrari had been by mutual consent.
“With common consent, we have agreed to terminate the contract binding me to Ferrari to the end of 2010, one year ahead of schedule,” he said.
“I am very sad to be leaving a team with which I have spent three fantastic years, during which time I won plenty of races.
“Together, we have won 50 per cent of the world titles in that period and I managed to take the drivers’ title in 2007, thus achieving the target I had set myself at the start of my career. I have always felt at home with everyone here and I will have many happy memories of my time with the team.”
Alonso’s confirmation at Ferrari will trigger off a series of driver announcements over the coming days for the 2010 season.