Rumors had been circulating for months about two-time world champion Fernando Alonso moving to Ferrari for the 2010 season. The rumors have now been confirmed, as Alonso signed a three-year deal with Ferrari, effectively replacing Kimi Raikkonen.
“I’m very happy and very proud to become a Ferrari driver,” said Alonso. “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. Above all, I want to thank Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who really wanted this 3-year contract.
“We already had an agreement this summer starting in 2011, but then, the last days the picture changed and we decided to [advance] my arrival in Maranello by one year. The years at Renault were fantastic: Together, we won 4 world titles (2 drivers’ and 2 constructors’ championships), and until this day, 21 Grand Prixs.”
Part of the reason for Alonso’s move to Ferrari to originally happen in 2011 was to wait for the end of Raikkonen’s contract. In order to expedite the move, Ferrari is reportedly forced to pay Raikkonen’s salary for 2010, even though he won’t be part of the team.
Ferrari’s driver lineup for next year will consist of Alonso, the recovering Felipe Massa, and reserve driver Giancarlo Fisichella. Fisichella is currently filling in for Massa, who thankfully is recovering from his injuries quicker than expected. He has been turning a few laps in a kart race car in Brazil and will return to Maranello to begin racing on the Ferrari simulator.
Raikkonen has yet to confirm his plans for the 2010 season, but he is rumored to be moving back to McLaren, where he will race alongside current world champion Lewis Hamilton. Renault announced it will unveil its 2010 driver lineup next week. Current BMW driver Robert Kubica is rumored to be taking Alonso’s place on the team.
Source: Official Formula 1 Website