GOOD BYE, RED BULL: Ferrari has finally announced that F1 driver Sebastian Vettel will replace Fernando Alonso in 2015. Image: AP
ABU DHABI, UAE - Quadruple Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel will replace Fernando Alonso at Ferrari in 2015 after signing a three-year deal, the Italian team said on Thursday (Nov 20 2014).
Vettel, currently with Red Bull, will partner 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen in 2015.Germany's Auto Motor and Sport asked him if he blamed Alonso for the hold-up because the Spaniard had not yet officially vacated his Ferrari seat. Vettel answered: "I don't think the fault lies with one person so I don't think you can talk about blame.
Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci said in a statement, issued ahead of Sunday's season-ending Abu Dhabi GP at a conference on Thursday: "Scuderia Ferrari has decided to put its faith in the youngest multiple champion in the history of Formula 1."
A Ferrari statement added: "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."
On Wednesday (Nov 19) Wheels24 reported that Vettel had again hinted about his future at Ferrari and had not blamed the delayed announcement on Alonso.
"It's just a situation that is not yet entirely clear, which is the way it is in F1 sometimes. It is, of course, silly if you can't answer the questions that are being asked of you, so I do hope there will be clarity soon."Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP finale this weekend.
ALONSO: 'NOT AN EASY DAY'
Although his relationship and patience with Ferrari had clearly soured this year, reports GMM, the 33-year-old posted a series of tributes on his Facebook page on November 20 and he will wear a helmet bearing the signatures of his team this weekend in Abu Dhabi.
"Today is not an easy one for me," he said, "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.
"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."