Ferrari get their man as Alonso finally joins Massa

Spaniard will replace Raikkonen as Finn heads for McLaren next season

Formula One's most open "secret" finally became common knowledge yesterday when Ferrari confirmed that Fernando Alonso is to take Kimi Raikkonen's place for the next three years.

The deal has been widely predicted in the paddock for more than a year. But recently prolonged legal negotiations to end Raikkonen's contract, which had one more year to run, and the Renault "Crashgate" scandal, conspired to defer the expected announcement at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month.

As anticipated, the recovering Felipe Massa remains a key part of Ferrari's driver line-up, with Giancarlo Fisichella confirmed in the role of reserve driver.

Raikkonen will leave the team at the end of the season, and will shortly be announced as Lewis Hamilton's 2010 partner at McLaren.

Ferrari described their relationship with the mercurial Finn as "a rewarding and fruitful partnership". In 2007 he narrowly pipped Hamilton to the world championship for drivers, emulating the success of his predecessor Michael Schumacher and achieving his life's ambition. In 2008 he also played a role in securing the world championship for constructors for the team. But a succession of lacklustre races, and the continuing emergence of Massa who was beaten by a point by Hamilton last year, led to speculation that Raikkonen's contract might be terminated then. This year he was overshadowed again by Massa until the Brazilian suffered a head injury during qualifying for the Hungarian GP in July, whereupon Raikkonen staged a resurgence and won the Belgian GP in August, his first victory since Spain in May 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 Ferrari team principal, 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."

Raikkonen said: "With common consent, we have agreed to terminate the contract binding me to Ferrari to the end of 2010, one year ahead of schedule. 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 per cent 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."

The confirmation of Alonso's deal is expected to trigger several key driver change announcements. The Spaniard, who did not make any comment yesterday, may face censure from the FIA after he upset the governing body by dedicating his podium position in last weekend's Singapore GP to disgraced former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore, whom they recently banned for life.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower