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Sports Sebastian Vettel: German joins Ferrari as Fernando Alonso exits

"My love for Ferrari was a prime consideration." Alonso said he had begun to think about leaving Ferrari as long ago as 2013. Two-time world champion Alonso, 33, is expected to join McLaren. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has signed a three-year deal with Ferrari following Fernando Alonso's exit from the Italian team. "It was a difficult decision to take, but a carefully considered one from start to finish," said Alonso.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has signed a three-year deal with Ferrari following Fernando Alonso's exit from the Italian team.

The German's switch from Red Bull for next season was announced minutes after Alonso's departure was confirmed.

"When I was a kid Michael Schumacher in the red car was my greatest idol. It's an incredible honour to get the chance to drive a Ferrari," said Vettel, 27.

Two-time world champion Alonso, 33, is expected to join McLaren.

The Spaniard still had two more years to run on his contract with Ferrari but he and the Italian team have agreed to part company.

"It was a difficult decision to take, but a carefully considered one from start to finish," said Alonso. "My love for Ferrari was a prime consideration."

Alonso said he had begun to think about leaving Ferrari as long ago as 2013.

"It was not a special moment of the year that I opened my eyes," he said. "Last year I had some doubts about 2014.

"I knew that it was a big change of regulations so I thought 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, 'OK, I would like to go'."

McLaren will not announce their two drivers until at least 1 December as they decide whether to retain Jenson Button or Kevin Magnussen alongside Alonso.

The current season has one more race to run, with Britain's Lewis Hamilton battling Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg of Germany for the title at this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel will partner former world champion Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.

"Scuderia Ferrari has decided to put its faith in the youngest multiple champion in the history of Formula 1," said team boss Marco Mattiacci.

Ferrari last won the world drivers' title in 2007, when Raikkonen finished top in his first stint with the Italian team.

"Sebastian Vettel is a unique combination of youthfulness and experience," added Mattiaci.

"He brings with him that sense of team spirit which will prove invaluable when, together with Kimi, they tackle the challenges awaiting us, as we aim to be front runners again as soon as possible."

Alonso, world champion with Renault in 2005 and 2006, joined Ferrari in 2010 and went on to win 11 times for the Scuderia.

"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," said Alonso, who narrowly missed out on the world title to Vettel in both 2010 and 2012.

"In the Scuderia Ferrari roll of honour of great drivers, Fernando Alonso will always occupy a special place," said Mattiacci.

"We offer him our heartfelt thanks for what has been an extraordinary adventure with the Scuderia, when in the past five years, he twice came so close to winning the world championship."

BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson says although Alonso may have failed to win a title at Ferrari, it is hard to judge his stay in Maranello as a failure.

"Alonso's reputation as arguably the most complete F1 driver of all has only been enhanced by his battles against the odds in inferior cars over the last five years," said Benson.

"Despite being considerably more successful in statistical terms, Vettel is not held in as high regard within the sport.

"But if he can turn Ferrari into winners again - as his childhood hero and friend Michael Schumacher did two decades ago - he could attain legendary status."

BBC
20/11
0 Points
1

Sports Sebastian Vettel replaces Fernando Alonso at Ferrari after signing THREE-YEAR deal

The four-time world champion's move from Red Bull was announced just a matter of minutes after Alonso's departure from Ferrari was confirmed.

Alonso has now been tipped to join McLaren, while Vettel will join forces with the 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen next season.

Vettel described the move to Ferrari as a 'dream come true'.

He said: "The next stage of my Formula 1 career will be spent with Scuderia Ferrari and for me that means the dream of a lifetime has come true.

"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."

Vettel has been off the pace this season, and is fourth in the Championship standings going into the final race in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Express
20/11
2 Points
1

Michael Schumacher's family 'remain confident' of recovery as official website relaunched

The newly-designed homepage has now been updated with pictures and stories detailing Schumacher's incredible career, including all of his race statistics and general facts.

While the website contains no updates regarding his health, his family - wife Corrina, son Mick and daughter Gina - took the opportunity of the website relaunch to thank fans for their strength and continued support.

They also stated they "remain confident" that Schumacher can recover from his tragic brain injuries, caused in a horrific skiing accident last year.

The short statement posted on the website, titled 'Your wishes give us strength', read: "Still we receive wishes for Michael to get well soon every day, and still we are stunned by the sheer amount of sympathies.

"We can only always thank you for facing this fight together with him and us.

"We remain confident and hope the best for Michael.

"Your strength is helping us keep supporting him."

Also new to the website was a short paragraph detailing his first historic championship win at the Australian Grand Prix two decades ago on November 13, 1994.

The tribute describes the event as a day in which "a racing driver became a megastar", while adding that the world witnessed the "beginning of a legend".

Schumacher, 45, was skiing in the French Alps last December when he fell and suffered horrific brain injuries after hitting his head on a rock.

The seven-time world champion was placed in a medically-induced coma to reduce swelling on his brain in Grenoble, France, before being transferred to a rehabilitation clinic in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He is now recovering at his family home near Geneva, Switzerland, surrounded by his family and an on-site medical team.

News that his website was to be relaunched was announced this week, in the hope to give his concerned fans "a home".

Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's manager, said: "To mark the 20th anniversary of his first world champion title we will reactivate Michael's homepage.

"We hope to thus give the many fans from all over the world, whose sympathy is still unbroken after his accident, a home.

"There is also a fan-area where fans can send their Twitter messages to."

Kehm also recently delighted Schumacher fans by announcing that he is no longer in a coma and was on "the long process of recovery".

However, an anonymous friend of the Schumacher family remained sceptical on the racing champion making a full rehabilitation.

He said: "The question remains, however, about how much improvement can be expected in the coming months and years. Will he speak again? Will he walk again? Will he be able to feed and dress himself?

"The doctors don’t know. No one can know.

"The probability is that he will never be the man he was before the accident."

Express
13/11
10 Points
1

'The long goodbye' Heartbroken friends speak out about Michael Schumacher

Prayers of hope that you pull through this difficult time."Jenson Button said: "When I think of Michael Schumacher I think of two things. "The first is one of my earliest memories of being in Formula 1 driving out of the pit lane in Melbourne and seeing Michael’s red Ferrari ahead of me scattering the leaves as he drove beneath the trees at the approach to turn three. "The second thing I think about is that familiar red car snaking about in my mirrors.

Michael Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm announced recently that he was no longer in a coma and was on "the long process of recovery".

However, speaking anonymously, a long-time friend of the Schumacher family, today said: "He didn’t die in the accident and he didn’t die during the two emergency operations that followed it. 

"He came out of the coma and he has had periods of awakening where he is able to make the smallest of nods.

"The question remains, however, about how much improvement can be expected in the coming months and years. Will he speak again? Will he walk again? Will he be able to feed and dress himself? 

"The doctors don’t know. No one can know. 

"The probability is that he will never be the man he was before the accident. That much is starkly clear."

Michael Schumacher now has a team of 15 medical experts treating him at a special clinic built in the grounds of his mansion home, in Switzerland.

The tailored medical facilities also house a room for the driver's father ? who has moved from Germany to be close to his son.

After remaining in a coma for 159 days, Michael Schumacher relies on machines and tubes to feed, breathe and pass waste for him.

Care costs are estimated to run at over £100,000 a week in wage bills and medical equipment rental.

Each day Schumacher, 45, is massaged for hours in an effort to stimulate muscle mass and is assessed every hour for improvements.

A former medical delegate for the Formula 1 World Championship Dr Gary Hartstein has slammed the uplifting updates from Schumacher's management.

He said: "We are told, with what seems to be a bit of a triumphal air, that Michael is no longer in a coma."

But pointing out that the sportsman's coma was artificially-induced, said: "I cannot help but think this is highly cynical use of language, using the truth to convey an impression that is almost certainly false.

"I cannot help but think that if Michael had emerged at all from the minimally conscious state we would be told that he is having problems expressing himself and will work hard to get better or that he is having to learn to walk, read and write all over again.

"This all leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and huge sadness for Michael’s family.

"As time goes on it becomes less and less likely that Michael will emerge to any significant extent."

Asked about life-expectancy, Dr Hartstein ? who believes the decorated driver is still for all intents and purposes ? said: "Life expectancy for a comatose patient who does not improve neurologically is measured in months to a relatively few years."

The world, Dr Hartstein said, is now watching the "long goodbye" of its greatest racing star.

The media-blackout around the racer's recovery ? including special tents erected to prevent paparazzi shots of the star outside in his wheelchair ? means the majority of the Schumacher's legions of fans still believe he is, albeit slowly, on the road to recovery.

Paying tribute to his dear friend, Lewis Hamilton wrote to him: "Dear Michael, You are always in my prayers. Prayers of hope that you pull through this difficult time."

Jenson Button said: "When I think of Michael Schumacher I think of two things. 

"The first is one of my earliest memories of being in Formula 1 driving out of the pit lane in Melbourne and seeing Michael’s red Ferrari ahead of me scattering the leaves as he drove beneath the trees at the approach to turn three. 

"The second thing I think about is that familiar red car snaking about in my mirrors. Michael was such a formidable racer... relentlessly competitive. Always there for him."

Wife Corinna would be thrilled even to see her husband in a wheelchair, by next summer, friends have claimed.

Speaking anonymously to The Daily Mail, they said: "Even to see him sitting upright would make things seem so much better. Until then she will be simply thankful that at least he is at home, surrounded by the family who love him and pray daily for his recovery."

Express
02/11
20 Points
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