Alonso and Domenically after the announcement
May 19, 2011 (AFP) - Fernando Alonso said he felt privileged to be a Ferrari driver after extending his contract with the Italian team ahead of this Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.
The double world champion, who almost won the drivers' title in his first season with the Maranello-based outfit, is now set to drive for Ferrari until 2016.
Alonso, 29, said he felt privileged to be with Ferrari and that there was not a better team to be racing in. "It was good news for me and my career to extend the contract and get an extension to 2016." He said.
"Also, as I said last year the intention is to finish my career with Ferrari. I don't imagine a better place to race for a racing driver. "I have been lucky to arrive here last year and I felt at home from day one and I have the possibility to race here until the end of 2016, so it will be seven years in Ferrari.
"I am happy and privileged, and maybe in 2017 we will have another contract. I will see if I am not too old and if Ferrari still wants me."
Alonso said he feels at home with Ferrari and that extending his contract seemed like the most natural thing to do. "It is not a big change in my mind, my head. It was already very clear that I wanted to race here for many years, and despite what the contract said, the stability was always 100% in my case. This was just a public confirmation, nothing changed inside the team."
"I have to say it was a very easy decision for us. We started talking one or two weeks ago about the future and both of us wanted to continue. "We agreed to 2016, and everything is clearer for us, for the team members and for everyone to have stability."
Even though Ferrari has not won a title since 2007, Alonso believes he is in the right place to achieve more championship glory.
He said: "F1 is impossible to predict and it is impossible to predict about winning championships even before you started. For sure I am in the best team possible to fight for world championships. Some other teams go up and down; they have good years and bad years. "At Ferrari in the worst years you finish second or third in the world championship so this is something Ferrari can offer to a driver."
Alonso won the driver's titles in 2005 and 2006 with Renault. Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo added: "It is a great pleasure to have renewed our agreement with a driver who has always demonstrated a winning mentality even in the most difficult circumstances.
"Fernando has all the required qualities, both technically and personally to play a leading role in the history of Ferrari and I hope he will be enriching it with further wins very soon."
After racing for Minardi (2001), Renault (2002-2006 and 2008-2009), and McLaren (2007), Alonso signed for Ferrari in 2010 and missed out on the title when he was overtaken by Sebastian Vettel in the final race of last season.
The 29-year-old, who has won 26 times in Formula One races, delivered Ferrari's first top-three finish in the fourth race of this season at the Turkish Grand Prix earlier this month.
He currently stands fifth in the drivers' standings on 41 points, 52 adrift of leader Vettel.