Michael Schumacher says that Ferrari will always have a place in his heart, following his 14 years with the marque before joining Mercedes GP.
In an open letter to Ferrari fans distributed through the Italian media, Schumacher pays tribute to the prancing horse and its followers and says he hopes they will carry on supporting him in future.
"For 14 years I was a part of Ferrari and for 14 years Ferrari was a part of me," he said. "A sizeable chunk of Ferrari will always stay in my heart. I will always think of the warmth, the strength and the dedication I received for so many years from Italian Ferrari fans.
"I have felt welcomed by you, and I have tried to give you joy and passion when I fought on the tracks and rejoiced with you after victories."
Schumacher says he has learned from Ferrari and expects the team to have a strong season in 2010.
"I have found many friends and learned a lot in the years I spent at Ferrari," wrote Schumacher. "I carefully observed the way to face things and have often underlined this attitude in Germany: no moaning but rather trying to see the beauty and the goodness in what's unavoidable, and rejoicing.
"Now, a new chapter begins for me. I will race on the track against Ferrari with the utmost respect. I'm convinced these will be hard battles. Indeed, I'm certain Ferrari will be able to show its historical strength because I know what these guys are able to do.
"I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me. I'd be happy if, besides the two Ferrari drivers, you'd carry on giving me a bit of your unlimited liking."