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RED BULL

Fernando Alonso laughs off Red Bull rumours

Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso on Sunday tried to distance himself from speculation that he is considering a switch from Ferrari to partner defending champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year.

Fernando Alonso laughs off Red Bull rumours
Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso sits in the pits during the first practice session at the Hungaroring circuit in Budapest on July 26th. Photo: Tom Gandolfini/AFP

The two-time champion Spaniard said he was not aware that his management had gone to speak to Red Bull boss Christian Horner during the Hungarian Grand Prix and blamed the rumours on the media and Formula One's four-week European summer break.

"Always with four weeks with no Formula One it's a very dangerous period for us, and the media, but hopefully we will have a quiet summer," he told reporters.

He continued in enigmatic vein when pressed for an answer by the BBC and laughed when he said he could not say if he knew if his management had spoken to Red Bull.

Check out The Local's list of Spain's sexiest sportsmen.

Meanwhile, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was also not very keen to snuff out rumours of a possible move by Alonso, according to the UK's Daily Mail newspaper.

“We are in a fortunate position that there is a lot of interest in the seat for next year," said Horner.

"We had a look at Daniel [Ricciardo] in the [Silverstone] test, so we will take a little time over the summer and look at the options and look to make the right decision with the right pairing," the Daily Mail quoted the Red Bull chief as saying.

“Is [Alonso] available? We are going to take a bit of time to make the right decision. We have some great options and we don’t need to rush," Horner added. 

Red Bull is seeking a replacement driver for Australian pilot Mark Webber.

The 36-year-old Webber retired in June after 12 seasons at the wheel. He started 206 times and won nine races in total.

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FORMULA ONE

F1’s former world champ Alonso to leave Ferrari

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso's five-year spell with Ferrari will be over at the end of the season after the Italian 'Scuderia' confirmed the Spaniard's departure on Thursday.

F1's former world champ Alonso to leave Ferrari
Fernando Alonso has been widely tipped to join McLaren next season. Photo: Tom Gandolfini/AFP

In a statement that paid tribute to Alonso's contribution to the Formula One giants, Ferrari ended months of speculation regarding Alonso, who has been tipped to return to the McLaren team.

"Scuderia Ferrari and Fernando Alonso announce that, by common consent, they have ended their relationship," said a statement.

"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."

Alonso, who won two world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006, ultimately failed to bring a world drivers' title to Ferrari having come runner-up three times for the team whose logo is the Prancing Horse.

The 33-year-old Spaniard has recently been tipped to return to the McLaren team, where he spent a turbulent season in 2007. But he admitted leaving Ferrari was not an easy decision to make.    

Alonso said: "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.

"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 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.

"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."

"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."

Team Principal, Marco Mattiacci, said: "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.

"I am sure that a great driver like Fernando will always hold the Prancing Horse dear to his heart and I also expect the Ferrari fans will continue to hold him in high regard in his future endeavours."

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