2014 F1 season
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo denied Fernando Alonso is unhappy Kimi Raikkonen will join him at the team next year.
Speaking to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport Montezemolo said: “We are not masochistic enough to take on a driver without informing Alonso.”
“Fernando was always in the picture regarding the choice of Raikkonen, taken partly because the alternative, that of employing a youngster, in what will be a complex 2014 season, did not inspire confidence.”
“Today, Raikkonen is one of the best, along with Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton,” he added, “and Alonso is the first to be happy that he is coming here.”
Montezemolo likened Raikkonen’s return to Niki Lauda’s F1 comeback with McLaren in the 1980s: “Raikkonen’s situation is identical to the one we had with Lauda. At one point, even Niki had had enough.”
“I spoke about having his twin brother because the guy racing for us was not the one we had employed. The break did him good and he returned in great form, he won and finished a lot of races.
“In a nutshell, I wanted a driver who would not make me regret [Felipe] Massa. What I ask of Raikkonen is wins, a consistent performance level and podiums and Alonso will be the first to benefit. I am pleased he is back with us and the Ferrari staff greeted the news enthusiastically, as they had good memories of him.”
Montezemolo even raised the prospect of Raikkonen having the upper hand over Alonso: “Going back to Lauda, when he returned with a different energy level, he won the title, beating Prost…”
Alonso has expressed dissatisfaction with the team recently, complaining about their pace of development and criticising the team’s tactics during qualifying at Monza.
Montezemolo said he understood Alonso’s frustration: “I am the first to understand his discontent. Let’s say his dissatisfaction is like the anger of a footballer who is called to the bench and tells the manager to get stuffed. But I’d rather deal with someone like that than a wuss.”
He also played down Raikkonen’s reputation for avoiding his media duties: “I hope that his public relations will consist of wins, as well as a contribution to the team and a diligent presence in Maranello. Alonso cannot take all the work on his shoulders alone.”
2014 F1 season
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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo