Ferrari goes to Alonso's head

2014-11-20 18:00
Fernando Alonso (AFP)

Abu Dhabi - Fernando Alonso will wear a specially designed helmet in his final race for Ferrari in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The Spaniard's exit from the Italian team after a title-less five years was confirmed on Thursday.

And Alonso, who is expected to return to McLaren next season, will honour his time with Ferrari with a helmet depicting two pit stops, signatures of the entire team, and the Italian flag.

"I just told them this morning that it's the last time that I will jump in a Ferrari so I want to bring all of them with me because they were a part of this fantastic experience and I want to do my last race with them on the track," the two-time former champion said.

"But, to be honest, it's been a little bit tricky because at Sochi, I took all the signatures from everybody, but when I arrived here we were missing 20 or 25...

"So, now, the helmet is not as perfect as it should be because now we have all the 25 signatures everywhere, but I'm happy and proud of them and happy to wear them on my helmet."

After five years, without a title, Alonso is leaving Ferrari following this weekend's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and will be replaced by four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.

Asked on Thursday how he reached his decision to leave, Alonso said: "It was not a special moment of the year that I opened the eyes.

"As I said, last year I had some doubts about 2014. I knew that it was a big change of regulations so I thought it was the best thing to check how the 2014 new turbo era was going for Ferrari.

"I had a very close relationship with president (Luca) di Montezemolo. We talked every week and we more or less agreed that if this year we were not competitive again we could think of different options.

"In the summer break, it was time to sit with the president and say, 'okay, I would like to go'."

Alonso, who has this year endured his worst season with Ferrari as they head towards their first winless season since 2009, added that he felt he owed the team his gratitude.

"I need to thank so much Ferrari because they could say 'no', but they understand it was the best for the two parts. This is, again, a true sign of respect and love for this team - and they show me also respect on that.

"As I said, I stop as a Ferrari driver, but from Monday, I am a Ferrari supporter."

Alonso is expected to join McLaren, but the British team said it will not announce its plans until December.


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