Ferrari have finally confirmed that Sebastian Vettel is joining the team on a 3 year deal ending months of speculation about both his and Fernando Alonso’s futures.
The announcement that Vettel had signed with the Maranello outfit came just minutes after the team released a statement that Alonso would be leaving after the race in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Alsonso has been with Ferrari since 2010, and has finished runner up in the world championship twice while winning a total of 11 races.
In the same period, Vettel has secured 4 consecutive world drivers championships driving for the Red Bull Team.
The move had been expected since Vettel announced he was leaving Red Bull at the Japanese Grand Prix in early October. Alonso is expected to sign with McLaren with the contract to be announced after 1st December. Alonso was rumoured to be holding out for a potential drive with the Mercedes team for 2015, but that possibility has now been all but ruled out as the team confirmed that they will be finalising Hamilton’s extension after the season concludes.
Alonso said that leaving the team had been a hard decision, but that it was one that had been carefully considered:
these five years produced some of the best moments of my career and I also feel that, in leaving the team, it is family rather than friends I am leaving behind
Team boss Marco Mattiacci paid tribute to Alonso’s time with the team saying that
In the Scuderia Ferrari roll of honour of great drivers, Fernando Alonso will always occupy a special place,
It is not yet clear whether Vettel will drive the Ferrari for the first time at the tests after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, or whether he will wait until pre-season testing in February next year.