Ferrari confirms Alonso will leave at end of 2014 F1 season

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ABU DHABI – Scuderia Ferrari has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will be leaving the team at the end of the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Since joining in 2010, Alonso has finished as the runner-up in the drivers’ championship on three occasions, coming close to the title in 2010 and 2012 before losing out at the final race of the year.

2014 has seen the relationship between the driver and the team sour, with Alonso growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of success attained due to problems with the cars coming out of Maranello.

Here is the statement from Ferrari:

“Scuderia Ferrari and Fernando Alonso announce that, by common consent, they have ended their relationship.

“Fernando Alonso leaves the team at the end of this season, after a five-year period which, with one race remaining, saw him score 1186 points, 44 podiums and 11 wins.

“Everyone at Scuderia Ferrari thanks Fernando for his great contribution on both a personal and professional level.”

Sebastian Vettel has since been confirmed as Alonso’s replacement at Ferrari for 2015, partnering Kimi Raikkonen.

Alonso is set to return to McLaren for 2015, having spent one controversial year at Woking in 2007, but confirmed his departure in a joint statement with the team.

“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,” Alonso said.

“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 leave Scuderia Ferrari after five years, during which I reached my very best level professionally, tackling major challenges that pushed me to find new limits. I also proved to be a true team-player, putting the interests of the Scuderia before my own. When I had to take important decisions about my future, I did so with Ferrari in my heart, driven by my love for the team. I am very proud of what we have achieved together.

“Thanks to the efforts of the men and women of Maranello, on three occasions we came second in the Formula 1 World Championship, two of them fighting for the title right up to and including the final race, running in a championship winning position for many laps.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, these five years produced some of the best moments of my career and 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.”

Alonso’s arrival at Ferrari in 2010 was supposed to take both the driver and the team back to their glory days, but the partnership has instead been one full of unfulfilled potential and possibilities. Few would have predicted the rapid decline in relations between the team and the driver, but even fewer would have expected him to leave the team without the elusive third world title that he so craves.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).