Montezemolo explains Alonso-Raikkonen switch, denies Santander link (Video)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Montezemolo: "It is not the sponsors that choose the drivers"
Montezemolo: "It is not the sponsors that choose the drivers"

As well as dropping big fat hints about Michael Schumacher moving to Mercedes, Luca di Montezemolo has also responded to claims about his choice of driver line-up for 2010.

He denied bring Fernando Alonso on board purely to keep new sponsor Spanish bank Santander happy:

The role of Santander? Certainly, they are happy, but it is not the sponsors that choose the drivers: we have never operated like that and we never will.
Luca di Montezemolo

It’s interesting that he’s chosen to make such a comment – this is, after all, F1’s most successful team signing F1’s most successful active driver (at least until Schumacher returns).

I never found the ‘Ferrari signed Alonso just to please Santander’ claims very convincing. Regardless of whether Santander wanted Alonso in the car, it’s not hard to see why Ferrari would.

In the same speech Montezemolo played down claims of dissatisfaction with Kimi R??ikk??nen:

Let?s make one thing clear, we were very happy with everything Kimi did for Ferrari during his time at Maranello: he won the world championship in his first year and played a vital part in our taking the Constructors? title in his second year, while in this difficult season he at least managed to secure us one victory.
Luca di Montezemolo

Why drop R??ikk??nen then? Here’s Montezemolo’s explanation:

We realised that our team needed a driver capable of really getting involved with the engineers, a characteristic that was not part of Kimi?s genetic make-up, even though he is an amazingly talented guy.
Luca di Montezemolo

In a special video he also stated he expects Alonso and Felipe Massa to work together:

I expect a lot from both of them. They know that they have to drive not for themselves but for Ferrari, for the team.
Luca di Montezemolo

Watch the full video below:

What do you make of Montezemolo’s speech? How do you think Alonso and Massa will get on in 2010? Leave a comment below.

Ferrari and Alonso

Image (C) Ferrari spa