Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel will leave Red Bull to race for Ferrari next year, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso deciding to leave the Italian team for pastures new.
Alonso is contracted to Ferrari for a further two years, but has reached an agreement with the team to move on. The Spaniard is widely expected to race for McLaren-Honda for the 2015 season, as a switch to Red Bull goes against the team’s philosophy of recruiting young drivers from their sister team Torro Rosso.
Torro Rosso’s Daniil Kyvyat is expected to take Vettel’s now vacant seat.
Vettel’s star within the Red Bull team has dimmed slightly, having been out-performed by his new, less experienced team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. However few would outside Red Bull would have expected him to leave, having been with the team since he was 12 years old.
The four-time world champion said: “”It is not the first time I have been approached but it felt like the right time.
“I’m not leaving because I don’t like the team or individuals, I’m not running away from anything. The voice inside me, the hunger to do something new was bigger. It was not the easiest decision but you have to listen to your heart.”
Vettel has so far refused to confirm he will join Ferrari, but it is understood he has a long-standing agreement with the Italian outfit to join the team when he leaves Red Bull.
Fernando Alonso appears to have lost faith with Ferrari, having spent five relatively fruitless seasons with the team. He said: “Today was a surprise, with the announcement of Vettel leaving Red Bull. Everyone was waiting for some kind of announcement on my side and the first one to move was Sebastian.
“The priority is to help Ferrari. We are in the middle of a (race) weekend. I have had my mind set for two or three months; everything was moving in that direction. I can go more or less where I want.”