Alonso arrives at Ferrari

Fernando Alonso made his first visit to Maranello on Friday to begin his preparations with Ferrari ahead of racing for the team in 2010.

The double world champion, who will replace Kimi Raikkonen at the Scuderia next year in what is one of the most long-awaited driver transfers in Formula One, met with team boss Stefano Domenicali and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo before hitting the famous Fiorano race track in a 458 Italia sports car.

A Ferrari team statement read: “Today early in the morning, just after 8am. Fernando Alonso arrived at the gates of the Scuderia Ferrari for his first contact with the new team, although still not as an official member due to his contractual commitments regarding image management, which still tie him to his previous team and his sponsors.

“The first meeting was with Stefano Domenicali, who then left him to the technicians, who started to work with the driver on the upcoming season s programme.

“Between meetings connected to the new single-seater s project Fernando visited the wind channel to see the model and worked on the sitting position in the car s cockpit, while the day ended just after 5pm. Before leaving Maranello, Alonso was received by Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who personally wanted to welcome the Spaniard at Ferrari in a cordially meeting of around half an hour.

“Today s intermezzo was a couple of laps on the Fiorano race track with the 458 Italia, naturally in red: as he couldn t yet drive a red Formula 1 car Fernando wanted to feel the emotion of driving a Ferrari on the track where all the Prancing Horse s single-seaters are born and raised.