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Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 11:27 UK

Alonso out to emulate Schumacher

Fernando Alonso is besieged by the media at the Japanese Grand Prix, following the announcement that he will drive for Ferrari in 2010
Alonso is swamped by the media after arriving at the Japanese Grand Prix

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport at Suzuka

New Ferrari signing Fernando Alonso says he would like to follow in Michael Schumacher's footsteps and win multiple world titles for the team.

The Spaniard has signed for three years and will partner Felipe Massa in 2010.

"It will not be easy but I would like to do the same as Michael and win many championships with Ferrari," he said.

"It is going to be very difficult but I am in the best team for my career. We share many things, like the passion for competition and giving 100%."

Rubens Barrichello, a former team-mate of Schumacher at Ferrari, told BBC Sport: "Fernando is a top-class driver. For me, he is on the level of Michael Schumacher. I just wish my friend Felipe Massa can hold on to him."

Asked if he would be able to live up to the legacy of Schumacher, who won five of his record seven titles with Ferrari, Alonso said: "I don't arrive there to do the same as Michael, but I would like to do the same."

Ferrari have this season had their least competitive year since 1995, and have won just one race, courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen, who is leaving the team to make way for Alonso.

The team have abandoned developing their current car to concentrate on next year's model, and Alonso said he was optimistic Ferrari would be competitive from the first race of 2010.

"Hopefully we can fight for races and championships from next year. I do not know what we can do together but I will put all my input and experience there and I will be working for Ferrari 365 days a year.

"I know there will be pressure to win titles. It is not enough one win a year. In the next few years hopefully there will be one at least. Hopefully we can fight until the last race.

"You're never sure. We saw in F1 this year it is difficult to predict what is going to happen the year after but Ferrari has been dominating F1 for the last 10 years.

Robert Kubica
Kubica is tipped to join Renault as a replacement for Alonso

"It is the most famous, most popular team in the world and you become a legend when you drive that car whatever the performance is. It is very attractive to drive for Ferrari."

The 28-year-old is the most successful active driver in F1, with two world titles and 21 wins to his name, and he said he would ideally like to see out his career with Ferrari.

"I really think that Ferrari will be my last team," he said. "Leaving Ferrari to change teams is always a step backwards. It has to be a step backwards because Ferrari is more than a team and I want to finish my career with them.

"The contract is three years, now, and then with some options to continue. So hopefully I can continue as long as they want and I can finish the career here with a lot of wins."

Alonso's last move away from Renault ended prematurely in 2007 when he left McLaren just one year into a three-year contract after a tempestuous season.

He fell out with the team management, with an intense battle with team-mate Lewis Hamilton as the back-drop.

But he said he did not expect history to repeat itself with Massa.


"It will not happen again," Alonso said. "I am more prepared than I was two years ago. And Ferrari is more important than any driver in that car.

"We arrive in a team that it is a pleasure and we are proud to drive that car. It doesn't matter if you are quicker or slower than your team-mate. The people want to see a Ferrari car in front.

"Felipe is a great driver and also has a very good personality. It will be fine, we will both work for the team to score points for the team."

Alonso's move to Ferrari will trigger a series of other driver switches throughout F1.

BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica is in line to replace Alonso at Renault, although it has emerged that the Pole has not yet signed a contract.

The French team said on Thursday they would not announce their new driver until next week.

A Renault source said his team-mate could be German Timo Glock, who drives for Toyota this year.

Raikkonen is hotly tipped to move back to McLaren, for whom he drove from 2002-6, as team-mate to Hamilton.

The Finn said on Thursday: "I'm not going to go to a small team, my only aim is to have a chance with a team that can fight for the world championship. Otherwise there is no point in staying in F1."

BBC Sport understands the 2007 world champion has not agreed a contract with McLaren but that both parties want to come to a deal.

"I don't have any bad things to say about them," Raikkonen said of McLaren. "We always had a good relationship. It's a chance, but so far I have not thought much about these things."

He also raised the possibility of not racing in F1 at all.

World championship leader Jenson Button has not yet come to an agreement with his Brawn team, but is expected to stay and could be joined by German Nico Rosberg.

In that instance, Barrichello, Button's current team-mate and title rival, is considered likely to replace Rosberg at Williams.

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see also
Ferrari confirm capture of Alonso
30 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Massa to use Ferrari F1 simulator
30 Sep 09 |  Formula 1

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