Not quite as fast as a car - Alonso enjoys the Ferrari jolly in Madonna, Italy [GALLO/GETTY]
Former world champion driver Fernando Alonso has pledged to race with Ferrari until the end of his career.

The Spanish driver will race for the Italian team this season after two seasons with Renault, with whom he won the 2005 and 2006 world titles, before a short-lived stay at McLaren.

But after two years of scrapping for minor points finishes, Alonso wants to see out his career with Ferrari.

"This is 100 percent my last team,'' Alonso said Thursday at Ferrari's annual winter retreat in the Italian Dolomites.

"I'm coming in much better prepared compared to my arrival at Renault and I'm ready for this big challenge.

"Ferrari is known the world over and we must win.''

Old rivals

Alonso admitted he is looking forward to locking horns with old rival Michael Schumacher once again, after the German driver joined Mercedes for the new season.

"Winning seven titles would be difficult, if not impossible in today's Formula One," said the 28-year-old.

"If he's been given this opportunity and has taken the decision to race again it's because he's ready.

"I'm happy about it, it's a good thing for Formula One. Schumi's return can bring only good things."

Alonso is beginning a three-year contract with Ferrari and said he has not asked to be treated as the team's top driver, opening the way for a possible duel with teammate Felipe Massa.

"Driving a Ferrari was my dream since I was a child and now it has been realised"

Ferrari driver
Fernando Alonso

"Driving a Ferrari was my dream since I was a child and now it has been realised," he added.

"It's great to be in this team because there's a family feeling which you don't find elsewhere."

Alonso joked about his rivalry with new Brazilian team-mate Felipe Massa, claiming the biggest rivalry would be on the football field.
 
Brazil and Spain are the favourites for football's premier event - the World Cup in South Africa in June.

"Would I prefer Spain to win their first World Cup or for me to win the world title with Ferrari? Let me think about that," joked Alonso.

"There's no problem between Massa and me because we can't meet in the final.

"I think if we both get through the group stages then we'll meet in the quarters or semis and so I'm sorry for Felipe because it will be over."

Source: Agencies