In possibly the most predictable news in the recent history of Formula One, Ferrari have confirmed the signing of Sebastian Vettel on a three year deal within a few minutes of Fernando Alonso confirming his exit.
This is a well rehearsed Public Relations announcement and a well known secret that is finally written in stone, on paper and the digital news feeds.
The monetary value of Vettel’s contract with Ferrari doesn’t matter, the market will pay what ever it takes. Vettel could easily retire right now, yet it isn’t just about the money its about the drive to ahcieve more. The top sports men and women have this raw nerve implanted into their very being.
Vettel’s status as a four time wining world champion will surely bolster Ferrari’s appeal to the road car division which has enjoyed stellar sales success. The F1 team has been hit with a run of miserable seasons of late and the hope is Vettel can do a “Schumacher”.
Vettel said in a statement “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.”
Ferrari’s last F1 drivers champion was in 2008 with Kimi Raikkonen who re-joined the team this year on a two year contract. Ferrari have always favored one driver over the other and Vettel will unofficially demand Ferrari’s undivided attention. Ferrari will unofficially respond in kind.
It will be interesting to see How Raikkonen responds to Vettel’s presence, the Finn doesn’t like to be messed around and will certainly not want to become the unofficial number two being a proud world champion that he is.
Fernando Alonso has yet to confirm his future, but it seems almost certain that he will re-join McLaren for the 2015 season.
About his exit from Ferrari Alonso said;
“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. 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 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.”