Ferrari has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will leave the team at the end of the season.
As reported by Crash.net during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend
, Alonso and Ferrari have agreed to end his contract two years early after a five year partnership. The double world champion will be replaced by Sebastian Vettel, who joins on a three-year deal
Alonso said it was a tough decision to leave the team - where he feels he reached his "very best level" - but is looking ahead to a new challenge.
“Today is not an easy one for me, because even if I always look to the future with great enthusiasm and determination, at the end of this season my journey as a Ferrari driver will come to an end," Alonso said. “It was a difficult decision to take, but a carefully considered one and from start to finish, my love for Ferrari was a prime consideration.
"I have always been lucky enough to make my own decisions about my future and I have that possibility now too. I must thank the team for that, as it understood my position. I leave Scuderia Ferrari after five years, during which I reached my very best level professionally, tackling major challenges that pushed me to find new limits.
"I also proved to be a true team-player, putting the interests of the Scuderia before my own. When I had to take important decisions about my future, I did so with Ferrari in my heart, driven by my love for the team. I am very proud of what we have achieved together. Thanks to the efforts of the men and women of Maranello, on three occasions we came second in the Formula 1 World Championship, two of them fighting for the title right up to and including the final race, running in a championship winning position for many laps.
"Without a shadow of a doubt, 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. Now I look to the future with great enthusiasm, knowing that part of my heart will always belong to the Prancing Horse. I want to thank each and everyone of the team for the trust they showed in me.”