The move is a big one for both drivers – each multiple World Champions in their own right – who have lead their respective teams for half a decade now, Alonso coming second in the championship three times with Ferrari, and Vettel having scored four consecutive titles with Red Bull.
Vettel has long been a personal protege of former Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher, having won his first grand prix in a Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso at Monza in 2008. Now confirmed by the Scuderia for a three-year deal, Vettel will be driving next season alongside Kimi Raikkonen, who won the title for Ferrari in 2007.
That was the same year in which Alonso last drove for McLaren, the team for which he's all but confirmed to be driving next season. The announcement from Woking reportedly hinges on the team's decision over who will drive alongside him, between Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen or another driver altogether.
The confirmation from Ferrari does, however, put to rest wild rumors that the series would move to three-car teams and that Maranello would field Alonso as well as Vettel and Raikkonen.
Maranello, 20 November 2014 – Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has reached an agreement of three years duration with Sebastian Vettel, who will drive for the team as from the 2015 season.
The driver line-up next season will consist of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
"Scuderia Ferrari has decided to put its faith in the youngest multiple champion in the history of Formula 1" – commented Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal, Marco Mattiacci. "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. 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."
"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" – said Sebastian Vettel. "When I was a kid, Michael Schumacher in the red car was my greatest idol and now it's an incredible honour to finally get the chance to drive a Ferrari. I already got a small taste of what the Ferrari spirit means, when I took my first win at Monza in 2008, with an engine from the Prancing Horse built in Maranello. The Scuderia has a great tradition in this sport and I am extremely motivated to help the team get back to the top. I will put my heart and soul into making it happen."
Thank you Fernando
Maranello, 20 November 2014 – Scuderia Ferrari and Fernando Alonso announce that, by common consent, they have ended their relationship.
Fernando Alonso leaves the team at the end of this season, after a five year period which, with one race remaining, saw him score 1186 points, 44 podiums and 11 wins.
Everyone at Scuderia Ferrari thanks Fernando for his great contribution on both a personal and professional level.
"In the Scuderia Ferrari roll of honour of great drivers, Fernando Alonso will always occupy a special place" – commented Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal, Marco Mattiacci. "We offer him our heartfelt thanks for what has been an extraordinary adventure with the Scuderia, when in the past five years, he twice came so close to winning the world championship. I am sure that a great driver like Fernando will always hold the Prancing Horse dear to his heart and I also expect the Ferrari fans will continue to hold him in high regard in his future endeavours."
"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" – said Fernando Alonso. "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."
Abu Dhabi GP – Alonso: "From Monday, I'm a Ferrari supporter"
Yas Island, 20 November – Just over an hour after it was officially announced by Scuderia Ferrari that Fernando Alonso was leaving the team at the end of this season, the Spaniard faced the press in the Yas Marina media centre, as part of the FIA Press Conference.
"This is a new chapter in my career," he began. "It is time to find new projects and new motivations, but it was not an easy decision to make. Even last year, I had some doubts about 2014 and I decided to check how the new turbo era would go for Ferrari. I was very close to Luca di Montezemolo and we agreed that if we were not competitive I could think of other options. Then, in the summer break, I told the President I wanted to go. I have to thank Ferrari so much, because they could have said 'no,' as there were two years left on my contract. It's a true sign of the respect and love I have for this team. I stop now as a Ferrari driver, but from Monday I become a Ferrari supporter! Time will tell if my decision is good or bad.
Being with Ferrari has been an amazing experience, with an amazing team and brand," reflected Fernando. "Three times I came second in the championship and I'm extremely proud of that. Now it is time to close one door and open a new one. I am very proud of what we achieved with this amazing group of people and I have learned so much in five years. I am not the same driver as in 2009 when I arrived. I am better in all aspects of my driving skills."
Fernando will be wearing a special helmet this weekend and he explained the meaning of the artwork: "On one side, it has a pit stop from this year, with the Italian flag in the middle and the signatures of everyone in the team on the other side. I told them I wanted to bring all of them with me to do my last race with them on the track. Actually, I took the signatures at Sochi, but when we got here there were 25 still missing, so the helmet does not look as perfect as it should, but they are all on it now. I am proud of them all."