Spaniard Fernando Alonso is leaving Ferrari because he “can’t wait much longer” if he wants to win another world title, outgoing Ferrari chief Luca de Montezemolo confirmed on Thursday.
Montezemolo officially stepped down as Ferrari’s chairman on Monday, after over two decades in the role.
Former two-time world champion Alonso was widely rumoured to be leaving the Italian giant at the end of the current season, two years before his contract ends.
“He’s leaving for two reasons,” Montezemolo told Italy’s RAI TV. “One is he want to test himself in another environment, and two because he’s at an age where he can’t wait much longer if he wants to triumph again.”
Alonso was said to have lost faith in Ferrari’s ability to produce a winning car. With three races of the championship remaining, he sits third in the drivers’ championship standings.
“It hurt him that he didn’t win this year and he needs fresh motivation,” added Montezelomo.
Alonso’s contract with Ferrari was set to expire at the end of 2016, meaning he would leave two years short of its expiry.
While speculation over the Spaniard’s future destination continues, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull is rumoured to be heading to Ferrari.
Vettel announced last week he was quitting Red Bull.
There’s been speculation that Alonso might start a professional cycling team — bringing to the world of two wheels his already fierce competitive nature from the world of four.