Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has revealed that he intends to see out the remainder of his top flight career with Ferrari, whom he will join for the 2010 world championship campaign – whilst cautioning that he is not merely heading to Maranello to try to 'do a Schumacher'.
Alonso's three-year deal with the Scuderia
– with an option for a further three years should both parties be in agreement – was announced yesterday (Wednesday), finally putting to an end paddock speculation that he would be replacing fellow former title-winner Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the current season.
Having described his move from Renault to arguably the most famous and successful squad in the history of the sport as a 'dream come true' [see separate story – click here
], the Spaniard has now confessed that he cannot see himself changing teams again.
“I really think Ferrari will be my last team,” the 28-year-old is quoted as having said by the Press Association
at Suzuka ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, “because leaving Ferrari is always a step backwards. It has to be a step backwards, because Ferrari is more than a team and I want to finish my career with them.
“The contract is for three years with options to continue, so hopefully I can continue as long as they want and I can finish my career here with a lot of wins. It's very special, no doubt. I think all drivers dream of one day driving for Ferrari, and now this dream came true for me and I'm extremely happy and ready for the challenge.”
Schumacher similarly left Renault's predecessor Benetton to link up with the Prancing Horse back in 1996, and by the time he hung up his F1 helmet a decade later, the German legend had added five more drivers' world championship crowns to the two he had already achieved. Alonso also has a brace of titles to his name at present – but he denied that the Kerpen native's legacy is one that he is eyeing either emulating or even surpassing over the coming years.
“It will be not easy,” the 21-time grand prix-winner acknowledged, “and I don't go there just to do the same as Michael. I'd like to do the same and win many championships, but I think it's going to be very, very difficult.
“I go there just to be in the best team possible for my career and for Ferrari. We share many things together, like the passion for competition [and] giving 100 per cent in everything we do – and it was the best destination for my career.”