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Alonso vows: Ferrari will be my last team in F1

14 January 2010

Fernando Alonso has confessed that having finally arrived at Ferrari almost a decade on from making his F1 debut, he has no plans to ever leave again – insisting that he intends to remain at the Scuderia until the day he hangs up his grand prix helmet.

Alonso agreed a three-year deal with the legendary Prancing Horse to replace fellow former F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen from 2010 onwards, and the Spaniard has been getting to know his new team-mate Felipe Massa and new colleagues at the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort in the Italian Dolomites this week. Clad in scarlet overalls for the first time, the Oviedo native revealed that so far, his move has been everything he could have wished for and then some.

Indeed, he feels so much at home and already part of the Ferrari 'family', he admitted, that he is confident enough to never want to race for another team for the remainder of his top flight career.

“I'm having a fantastic time here with skiing and work,” he enthused, “but especially benefitting from this extraordinary opportunity to get to know my team-mates Felipe Massa and [test driver] Giancarlo Fisichella better. I immediately had a good feeling with every part of the team, and everybody has been extremely available for me, trying to satisfy my needs and my proposals as well as possible.

“I was really impressed by the passion you can feel in Maranello, everywhere in the company and in the city. The legendary history of the Prancing Horse can be seen in everything. I think Ferrari is much more than just a Formula 1 team.

“I've felt comfortable from my first day. The team has welcomed me like a family. Ferrari, I think, is something unique in Formula 1. All of you have dreamed of driving Ferrari street cars, and I'm the same. Driving for Ferrari was my dream as a child, and now it has come true.

“It's unbelievable to be part of this team – there's a family feeling and there's a passion for racing in the factory that you don't find anywhere else. The way of working really hit me; I was used to people sending an e-mail to someone ten metres away. What I do is work 110 per cent with the team, so if the team is not working 110 per cent, it's not right.

“This will be 100 per cent my last team. I want to finish my career with a good taste in the mouth. I'm arriving here much better-prepared than when I arrived at Renault. I'm ready for this huge challenge – Ferrari is known the world over, and we have to win.”

Winning, of course, will first mean getting the better of Massa, who might now be in the final stages of recovery from his life-threatening Hungaroring qualifying accident last summer, but who has been a part of the furniture at Maranello since his first full campaign there in 2006.

Following his famously volatile and ultimately destructive relationship with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes in 2007 – amidst accusations that he had demanded preferential treatment to befit his status as a reigning double world champion – Alonso insists there will be no repeat of such needle three years on, as he prepares to go head-to-head against a driver every bit as fiercely-competitive and determined to succeed as he is, and one with whom he crossed swords at the Nürburgring following an on-track clash that same season.

“I never asked to be a number one driver,” the 28-year-old reflected of his time spent at Woking, “but what I don't want is to be a number two; it happened sometimes in 2007. I lose too much time talking about it. In 2007 we (he and Massa) were in a race; we are competitive people. It's the past.”

Whilst refusing to comment on the overturning of the lifetime ban imposed on former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore by the French High Court last week – and giving away nothing when asked whether or not he was still managed by the flamboyant Italian – Alonso did express his concerns about the strict limit on pre-season testing, as he bids to help Ferrari fight back from a poor campaign by its usually high standards in 2009.

“Seven or eight days before a championship is not enough for any driver,” underlined the 21-time grand prix-winner. “I don't think there is any other sport in the world like this. I need to adapt rapidly to the car, although I think to reach the best performance we need to wait until the third or fourth race.”


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