Vettel joins Ferrari on three-year deal, Alonso exits
Maranello (Italy): Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel signed a three-year deal with Ferrari following Fernando Alonso's departure, the F1 team announced Thursday.
The Italian team's driver line-up next season will consist of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari team principal, expressed his enthusiasm at the prospect of fielding Raikkonen and Vettel as part of his team.
"Scuderia Ferrari has decided to put its faith in the youngest multiple champion in the history of Formula 1. In Formula 1 terms, Sebastian Vettel is a unique combination of youthfulness and experience and he brings with him that sense of team spirit which will prove invaluable when, together with Kimi, they tackle the challenges awaiting us, as we aim to be front runners again as soon as possible," Mattiacci said in a statement.
"With Sebastian, we all share a thirst for victory as well as enthusiasm, a strong work ethic and tenacity; key elements for all the Scuderia members to write together a new winning chapter in the history of Ferrari."
Vettel said driving a Ferrari car will realise his "lifetime dream".
"The next stage of my Formula 1 career will be spent with Scuderia Ferrari and for me that means the dream of a lifetime has come true," Vettel said in the release.
Spaniard Alonso is expected to join McLaren. The two-time world champion still had two more years on his contract but he and Ferrari have agreed to part by mutual consent.
"It was a difficult decision to take, but a carefully considered one from start to finish," said the 33-year-old after being with the team for five years.
"My love for Ferrari was a prime consideration."
The current season has one more race to run, with Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (334 points) battling teammate German Nico Rosberg (317) for the title at this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.