Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fernando Alonso agrees three-deal Ferrari F1 deal

Formula One finally has a rivalry to match Ayrton Senna v Alain Prost after it was confirmed that Fernando Alonso will become a Ferrari driver in 2010.

Renault's two-time world champion, the most successful driver presently on the grid with 21 career victories to his name, joins the Scuderia on a three-year deal worth in the region of £32 million a season with an option to extend.
Race fans will already be salivating at the prospect of a resumption of hostilities with his former team-mate, McLaren's 2008 world champion, Lewis Hamilton. Formula One's two best drivers, one in a Ferrari the other in a McLaren, going head to head with a bit of history between them. It does not get better.

Alonso, who described himself as "very happy and very proud" to be joining Ferrari, replaces Kimi Raikkonen at Maranello, with the Finn's return to McLaren expected to be confirmed shortly.
Raikkonen, too, will be motivated to beat Alonso, having fended off questions about the Spaniard's potential arrival for nearly two years.
Alonso almost signed for Ferrari in 2002, only to change his mind at the last minute and join Renault. It led Ferrari team principal of the time, Jean Todt, to vow that Alonso would never drive for the team while he was there.
Yet despite being Formula One's worst-kept secret, the timing of the announcement actually caught out most observers. Ferrari were expected to say something officially on Thursday, the first day of the Japanese Grand Prix race weekend, but in the end opted to send out a press release at 11pm local time last night.
"As chairman [Luca di] Montezemolo said recently, all the great champions want to come to Maranello sooner or later," Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said.
"Of course, we wish to thank Kimi for everything he has done during his time with Ferrari: 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.
"Next to Fernando we'll have Felipe Massa, who is recovering very quickly to his best physical condition, with Giancarlo Fisichella as the surrogate driver. We believe that this is the best possible couple for a team like ours: Fernando and Felipe are two victorious drivers and they integrate very well with each other and with the team."
Alonso told Ferrari's website: "I'm very happy and very proud to become a Ferrari driver. Driving a single-seater for the Prancing Horse is everybody's dream in this sport and today I have the opportunity to make this dream come true.
"We already had an agreement this summer starting in 2011, but then, in the past few days, the picture changed and we decided to anticipate my arrival in Maranello by one year."
Raikkonen, who is understood to have reached a financial settlement with Ferrari over the remaining year of his £31 million-a-year contract, said he was "very sad" to be leaving. His move to Woking is understood to be underwritten by Santander, the Spanish banking giant which now sponsors both Ferrari and McLaren.
Jenson Button's 2010 seat at Brawn-Mercedes looks a little safer with rumours that Rubens Barrichello is close to agreeing a deal to join Williams. Nico Rosberg is moving the other way as part of the deal that will see Mercedes take a controlling interest in Brawn. Williams declined to comment on the speculation.

No comments: