Montezemolo confirms Alonso will leave Ferrari
Fernando Alonso will be leaving Ferrari at the end of 2014, outgoing president Luca di Montezemolo has confirmed.
- Fernando Alonso is adamant his plans for next year are sorted … the rest of the paddock is not so sure. At the last two race weekends he has said his destination for 2015 will appear obvious when it is announced, but right now it seems like more doors are closing than opening. What's more, it was not so long ago that he was telling the press that he had no plans to leave Ferrari, making it difficult to put any stock in what he says.
- McLaren is still the most logical choice for the Spaniard, but as the days tick by without any sign of announcement there are suggestions he is looking elsewhere. A sabbatical is the last resort, but there are no guarantees that the destination he truly wants - Mercedes - will open up. Meanwhile, his bargaining position is getting weaker and the rest of the paddock more restless.
- Laurence Edmondson
Though it has been widely known for some time that Alonso's future will be away from Maranello, the move had not been confirmed by the Spaniard or Ferrari. Alonso is believed to be eyeing a seat at McLaren next season, though there is also talk he could take a sabbatical with a 2016 Mercedes seat in mind.
Di Montezemolo was officially replaced as Ferrari president this week by Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne but confirmed the news on a television show looking back at his 23 years at the helm.
"Fernando is leaving for two reasons," Di Montezemolo told RAI 1TV. "One, he wants another environment. Two, because he is an age when he cannot wait to win again."
Di Montezemolo added: "He was disappointed that he has not won over these last years and wanted new stimulus. Racing drivers sometimes need new motivations, new environments, new stimulus.The case of [Michael] Schumacher, who had been with us for so many years, is rather unique."
Since joining Ferrari, Alonso, 33, has failed to add to the world titles he won in 2005 and 2006. He lost out to Sebastian Vettel at the final race of the season in 2010 after a calamitous strategy call in Abu Dhabi saw him get stuck behind Vitaly Petrov when he only needed to finish fith to claim the title. In 2012 Alonso had led the championship for much of the year in what was considered an inferior car to his nearest rivals but again lost out to Vettel at the season finale, with costly first-lap retirements in Belgium and Japan allowing the German to overtake in the closing stages of the season.
In Vettel's dominant 2013 season Alonso finished a distant runner-up in a year he was famously rebuked by Di Montezemolo for joking he would like "somebody else's car" for his birthday. This season he had towed the line at Ferrari until Red Bull's announcement Sebastian Vettel would be leaving at the end of the year in Japan - since which time he has stressed that his plans for 2015 should be "obvious".