In a deal that seems to have been years in the making, Ferrari has finally made an official announcement: Fernando Alonso will be driving for the Prancing Horse in 2010. Rumors of Alonso going to the team from Maranello started back during the Spaniard's first stint with Renault, but circumstances with driver lineups didn't allow for it. Instead, Alonso went to McLaren for one very unhappy season before returning to France.

Since then, Alonso's fortunes have been mixed and stories of the Italian job have persisted. According to official statements from Ferrari today, an agreement had been reached earlier in the summer for Alonso to move to the Italian team in 2011. However, recent circumstances with the so-called Crashgate fiasco and the departure of team boss Flavio Briatore and sponsor ING have caused the date to be moved ahead a year. Alonso's Ferrari deal runs for three years.

As expected, current driver Kimi Raikkonen will be departing a year before the end of his contract, although his future remains uncertain. Recent rumors have had him returning to McLaren, although earlier this year it was thought he might switch to the World Rally Championship.

[Source: Ferrari | Source Image: Vanderlei AlmeidaAFP/Getty]

press release

Maranello, 30th September 2009 - Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro announces that it has reached an agreement with the driver Fernando Alonso. The agreement covers three racing seasons, starting in 2010.

The Scuderia's driver line-up next season will therefore be made up of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, with Giancarlo Fisichella in the role of reserve driver.

Kimi Raikkonen will leave the team at the end of this current season, after what has been a rewarding and fruitful partnership, which saw him win the Drivers' title in 2007. He also played a key role in Ferrari's taking of the Constructor's title that same year and in 2008.

"We are very proud to welcome to our team another winning driver, who has demonstrated his amazing talent by winning two World Championships in his career to date," said Stefano Domenicali. "Of course, we wish to thank Kimi for everything he has done during his time with Ferrari: in his first year with us, he managed to win the Drivers' title, thus making his contribution to Ferrari's history and he played a vital role in our taking of the Constructors' title in 2007 and 2008. Even during a difficult season like this one, he has demonstrated his great talent, with several good results, including a great win in Spa and we are sure that we can share more good times together in the final three races of this season."

"With common consent, we have agreed to terminate the contract binding me to Ferrari to the end of 2010, one year ahead of schedule," said Kimi Raikkonen. "I am very sad to be leaving a team with which I have spent three fantastic years, during which time I won plenty of races. Together, we have won 50% of the world titles in that period and I managed to take the Drivers' title in 2007, thus achieving the target I had set myself at the start of my career. I have always felt at home with everyone here and I will have many happy memories of my time with the team." \

Fernando Alonso to Ferrari.com: "Very happy and very proud "

Maranello, 30 September 2009 - Fernando Alonso, just announced as the new official Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver, who will drive next to Felipe Massa as of the 2010 season, spoke to Ferrari.com: "I'm very happy and very proud to become a Ferrari driver. Driving a single-seater from 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 anticipate my arrival in Maranello by one year.

The years at Renault were fantastic: together we won four World Titles (two Drivers' and as many Constructors' Championships) until this day, 21 Grands Prix. I wish the team all the best and let's hope we gain some good results in the last races this year.

After this season I will put all my effort in the next season: I'm sure that, together with Felipe, we'll offer Ferrari and the fans from all over the world some great satisfaction. I can't wait to start working with my new team."