Ex-champ Alonso inks three-year Ferrari deal

FERRARI yesterday confirmed the paddock&rsquo;s worst-kept secret when they named two-time world champion Fernando Alonso as their lead driver for next season.<br /><br />Alonso, 28, has agreed a three-year contract with the most famous team in motorsport, where he will join Brazilian Felipe Massa.<br /><br />The Spaniard, currently at Renault, will take the place of Kimi Raikkonen, who has terminated his contract and is set to rejoin McLaren.<br /><br />Giancarlo Fisichella, who has stood in for the injured Massa following his life-threatening crash, will become Ferrari&rsquo;s reserve driver.<br /><br />Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said: &ldquo;We are very proud to welcome to our team another winning driver, who has demonstrated his amazing talent by winning two world championships in his career to date.&rdquo;<br /><br />Raikkonen, who had a year left on his contract, admitted being &ldquo;very sad&rdquo; to leave the team at which he won the 2007 title, but insisted his departure had been by &ldquo;common consent&rdquo;.<br /><br />Alonso&rsquo;s move is likely to trigger a series of switches when the season ends in three races&rsquo; time, with Rubens Barrichello thought to be lining up a move to Williams.<br /><br />The Brazilian veteran has shone for Brawn GP this season and lies second in the drivers&rsquo; standings, behind team-mate Jenson Button. But Brawn are expected to recruit Nico Rosberg from Williams, and Barrichello, 37, is said to have held talks about moving in the opposite direction.<br /><br />Brawn could yet step up efforts to keep Barrichello, but that would only be if they failed to reach an agreement with Button for next year. The Englishman&rsquo;s contract expires this year and an agreement is thought to be some way off.