Alonso joins Ferrari

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ROME, Oct 1- Spain's two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso has joined Ferrari for three years, the Italian Grand Prix outfit said Wednesday.FERNANDO_ALONSOThe agreement covers three racing seasons starting in 2010, Ferrari said in a statement.

Alonso, 28, will line up with Brazilian Felipe Massa with Giancarlo Fisichella in the role of reserve driver.

"I’m very happy and proud to become a Ferrari driver. Driving the prancing Horse represents a dream for everyone who does this job and now I have the good fortune to be able to realise that," said Alonso.

"Already in the summer he had reached an understanding for 2011 but then over the last few days the picture of the situation changed and we decided to bring forward the switch to Maranello by a year.

"The last few years at Renault were fantastic, together we managed to win four titles (two drivers’ and two constructors’) and so far 21 Grand Prix races.

"I wish the team all the luck possible and I hope we can put together some good results in the last races of this season.

"After that all my energies will be focussed on next season: I’m sure that together with Felipe we’ll be able to give great satisfaction to Ferrari and to their fans all over the world.

"I can’t wait to start working with my new team."

Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, who won the world crown in 2007 will leave the Scuderia at the end of this current season.

"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 boss 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."

The statement did not reveal the value of the three-year deal although media reports have estimated Alono’s salary at 25 million euros (36 million dollars) a season.

After winning the drivers’ championship with Renault in 2005 and 2006, Alonso spent an unhappy year with McLaren before returning to French constructor Renault last year.

He will become the second Spanish driver to race for the prancing horse following Alfonso De Portago who competed for the Italians from 1956 to 1957.

Alonso began his F1 career with Minardi in 2001 before moving to Renault as test driver the next season.

In 2003 he became a Renault driver and secured his first pole and won his first race during his debut season for the French team.

Speculation had been rife in the Formula One paddock of an impending move by Alonso to Ferrari with Raikkonen moving on to McLaren.

Renault was expected to confirm that Polish driver Robert Kubica will lead its team in 2010.

Raikkonen admitted it would be a wrench to leave Ferrari.

"With common consent, we have agreed to terminate the contract binding me to Ferrari to the end of 2010, one year ahead of schedule," he said in the Ferrari statement.

"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 percent 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."

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