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Alonso is better at development than Raikkonen, says Ferrari boss
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Alonso is better at development than Raikkonen, says Ferrari boss
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Dec 2009   |  6:59 pm GMT  |  278 comments

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has shed a little more light on the decision to drop Kimi Raikkonen and hire Fernando Alonso, saying that Alonso is a better development driver, more in the mould of Michael Schumacher and that is what the team needs.

Domenic
Domenicali’s comments will dismay Raikkonen, who has just signed a contract to compete in the World Rally Championship. I have checked with Ferrari and the quotes are genuine. They are downplaying the Raikkonen comments as ‘superficial’, however they say that the sentiments about Alonso are what the team feels at this time.

Domenicali was quoted yesterday in German tabloid Auto Bild saying, “Ferrari needs someone for the team similar to Schumi.”

Referring to Raikkonen he said, “In a car that is capable of winning, he was and is perfect. But if the car needs to be developed and the team fired up, Alonso is better.”

Alonso has always talked up his ability to develop a car, famously during his time at McLaren, claiming to have brought almost a second per lap to the car.

After a disappointing season, Ferrari has to deliver a fast car and compete for both championships next season. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has issued the clarion call and it is up to Domenicali and his technical team to deliver. Another season like 2009 and the pressure will begin to mount on some of the technical managers.

Domenicali described Raikkonen as “very fast, but also very closed”. This is a criticism of Raikkonen that one heard from the team throughout his time there. He was hired by Jean Todt in 2006 and when explaining his reasons for taking Raikkonen, Todt said that Raikkonen did not speak too much, which he saw as a strength. He focussed on driving the car.

But over time it became clear that while this was a positive in some senses, the team was looking to him for more leadership.

But perhaps they did not understand the Finn. His many fans certainly do; they appreciate his no-nonsense approach to racing and his refusal to complain or make excuses.

When it was announced in September 2006 that Raikkonen would replace Schumacher at Ferrari, his friend Tony Wilander made some telling comments, “How will the Ferrari team be with Kimi? Very different from Schumacher’s. Let’s not forget that Michael arrived at Ferrari together with people who had already worked with him at Benetton. Kimi, by contrast, doesn’t know anyone.

“On top of that, Kimi’s less of a perfectionist, and he will not visit the factory as often. However, I’m sure it will be enough to win the championship.”

Domenicali also spoke about the relationship between Alonso and Felipe Massa, which will be one of the real talking points of next season, in comparison with what happened between Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren. “I’ve spoken to Fernando about (what happened at) McLaren. He felt betrayed, and also (said) that his relationship with Lewis was not always correct. At Maranello that will not happen. I can guarantee that,” he added.

On the surface, comments like these are little more than tittle-tattle and yet they need to be noted. People like Domenicali do not need to say such things unless they have a reason. These things are markers. Sometimes the comments come back to haunt them, such as Ron Dennis’ observation beforethe 2007 season about Alonso that they had talked through Hamilton’s long relationship with the team and that there would be no problems of favouritism.

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278 Comments
  1. RDN says:

    Wow, I think its time for Stefano to keep his mouth shut and do something good for Ferrari. All this yapping surely will come back and bite him in the rear.

    1. Renn Sport says:

      Stefano has lost a lot of respect with comments like these.
      Alonso will tear the team apart when he wars with Felipe… as Felipe will not accept Alonso’s s No1 demands.

  2. Matthew Burton says:

    While I’m not an Alonso fan, I think the Ferrari-Alonso combination will be ideal next season, for both parties. Both have a passion for formula one, Alonso is still pretty young and hungry, and Ferrari really need a good season. The only worry for Alonso is that Massa will be seen something of a returning hero, with the events of the 08 season (nearly winning the championship) and the situation in Hungary. If Alonso can overcome any jealousy in that regard, I think he will pose a great challenge to the British duo in the McLaren’s. I think we’ll see the traditional Ferrari-McLaren rivalry come to the fore again this season

  3. Derp says:

    Alonso is not good in developing a car, fact.

    2005 and 2006 they began with the best car…then mid season…and it was all gone. He won those championships because of an edge in the beginning of the seasons…just like Button.

    2008 saw some development, but he won cheating and by luck of people dropping out and the bigger teams fighting each other severely helped too. 2009 he was nowhere and the car got worse and worse.

    So where is this developing thing people talk about when they talk about Alonso?

    1. JF says:

      You have a very selective memory. You may have forgotten about the mass damper that the FIA decided was illegal 2/3 into the season. It was indeed a draw back but how can you blame Alonso for that??

      As for 2008, he won 2 races not 1. So you say that singapore didnt count but Japan sure did.

      The man knows how to win and how to develop a car, fact

      1. Darel says:

        2005 and 2006 the car kept getting worse..same for 2009. No one can deny that, no matter how much of an Alonso fan you are.

        Wasn’t Alonso driving and giving input, leading the team during those seasons?

        Fact, he got lucky when the car was developing, had nothing to do with him or all those seasons the car would have gotten better….not worse from being the best on the grid.

        Alonso will be totally unmasked next season with Ferrari, just wait ;)

      2. Frenchie says:

        I second JF here.

        I would also point out that to get a decent car at the beginning of 05 and 06, you need a good development driver during the winter. I don’t think this was Fisichella.

        As for Renault’s drop in form during their championship winning years, it was Symonds desire to play the calculation game in 05 and the mass damper issue in 06.

      3. jyrki Välimäki says:

        First of all Alonso didn’t develop the mass damper. I know you didn’t say that but I wanted to point this out because that gave him an advantage, not so much different to the car advantage Button had in the beginning of this year. Fact. Yes, he won two races. The other race was when Hamilton made a stupid move in the first corner, disadvantaging the top contenders and presenting a perfect opportunity for Alonso. Does this make him a good developer. Well if that is the case then kimi is a good developer as well since he won in Spa this year. Wouldn’t that make kimi an even better developer since he didn’t need any of the front contenders to get mixed up in a chaos during the race. I do however agree with you on one point, that is he, Alonso, knows how to win. But who of the current drivers wouldn’t when sitting in a dominant car without a competitive teammate. I know you don’t share my view of Alonso, fair enough. I will be posting again during midseason discussing Alonso with you. Perhaps I will be wrong, alright then, but i don’t think so. I’ll be looking forward to a discusson with you comparing Alonso to Massa. There is always the possibility of excuses, I won’t use them, will you?

      4. shortsighted says:

        Saying Alonso is a better development driver and Kimi is not is just an excuse from Domenicali to deflect criticism that he did a bad job as Ferrari Principal in 2009. Whatever mistakes the team made, he always blamed them on others, like the bad call in strategy to Schumacher and now the bad year in 2009 to Kimi Raikkonen. If Massa were to continue for the whole year, he will lay the blame on Massa too. I have not seen a single thing that Domenicali did that has helped the team. I hope his getting Alonso will work out or otherwise he will have some difficulities to lay blame on others too for that one.
        I think all drivers who can tell the engineers how the car behaves are capable development drivers. Kimi has been telling his engineers that grip and downforce were lacking but what have Domenicali and his engineers done to improve things? Nothing. So blaming his driver for the lack of performance from the car is indeed a very strange thing from a team principal, who is responsible for the engineers too. Personally I don’t think Domenicali has the qualities to be a competent team principal. Look at the way he said openly that Massa is not good enough to lead the team whose task can only be furfilled by Alonso. I have no idea why he was chosen to succeed Todt.

      5. Carlos says:

        Is that the same mass damper that was on Ferrari’s car? Oh, I am sure that it only affected Renault and not Ferrari… (let’s ignore the whole spygate saga of Renault and McLaren involving the front suspension that effectively replaced the mass damper).

        And about 2008, in one race Piquet was ordered to crash for Alonso, in the other one, Hamilton took himself out and hampered Raikkonen’s car on the process. I don’t know what the big fuzz is about winning a race with the third best car of the grid after the best two cars have found VERY early problems… Kimi won this year at Spa with the Ferrari, and nobody is praising him.

        And about Alonso developing a car, I just read this in another forum and thought it was interesting: This season, by midyear, the Renault was having fastest laps and making poles. They ended with what Alonso called “the worst car on the grid”. Very good car development there, wouldn’t you say so?

      6. Amritraj says:

        That is because Renault stopped developing the car in early August and shifted the entire focus and resources on their 2010 challenger….

      7. Carlos says:

        Amritraj, you claim that it is not Alonso’s fault that Renault fell through the ranks to the end of the year because they focused on 2010 since early August. Well, so did Ferrari (in July). Yet, Ferrari got several podiums, and won a race. What did Alonso got? A podium after a controversial penalty on Vettel and a whine about how his car was the worst on the grid…

      8. Amritraj says:

        The difference between Ferrari and Renualt has been been about 2/ 3 tenths ever since the start of the season. Probably, in the past seasons this wouldn’t have meant much, but this season it covers may be 6 to 8 cars. Alonso has been punching above his weight in an underperforming car. The pole positions have been on fumes and the fastest laps have come too late in the race, when the track conditions (rubber, temps) seem to suit the R29.
        Even Ron Dennis admitted to Alonso’s exceptional ability to provide accurate feedback to the engineers and make the car development process more linear.

      9. Maria Felix says:

        But you make it sound like Alonso designs the car all by himself, thats rubbish.

        I am an avoid Alonso fan myself but this sort of nonsense is just fanboi-talk.

        The engineers who work at Ferrari and Renault are being insulted by these laughable claims. He is good at giving precise feedback but its upto the engineers to make things work and do better.

      10. carlys says:

        If he was that good at developing the car.. why didnt the renault dog keep improving throughout 2009 ?

    2. Wingers says:

      Derp is not good nor qualified to pass judgement on analysing F1 Champions, and their abilities, FACT!

      1. Derp says:

        Again facts no one denied…Alonso was driving the 2005 and 2006 Renault and it went from the best car on the grid to a very average one…clinging on to points. So where were his ‘skills in developing a car’ in those years? Point them out. How can you make the best car a mid field one in just 8 races if you are so qualified and an amazing developer?

        Right ;)

        Same goes for 2009…it got worse and worse to the point of laughable. Again, Alonso was the ‘team leader, inspiration, blablabla’.

        Fact, Alonso’s capabilities are overrated and at Ferrari he will be seen as what he truly is. A marketing tool, an actor who got lucky to be in the best car of the season in 2005, 2006, 2007. Same as Button this year.

      2. Tim says:

        “Again facts no one denied…Alonso was driving the 2005 and 2006 Renault and it went from the best car on the grid to a very average one…clinging on to points.”

        I deny these so-called “facts”. The 2005 Renault started the season as the fastest car and, having built an early lead, Alonso went into championship mode until the title was wrapped up. His drive in Japan that year was not “clinging for points”, nor was his dominant win in China. The Renault didn’t so much as go backwards, rather it was McLaren who belatedly managed to unlock the speed in their chassis and caught up.

        It is well documented that the mass damper ban cost the 2006 Renault badly, having been designed around the concept. Although the FIA approved the device before the season started, it was banned ahead of the German GP. Despite this, plus a fairly dodgy stewarding decision at Monza, Alonso was on the podium in all the remaining races save Hungary (mechanical failure while leading) and Monza (engine failure while recovering from a dodgy penalty in qualifying). Again, hardly clinging to points.

        Alonso’s claim to have contributed 0.6s per lap to the 2007 McLaren is obviously daft – no one can quantify the contribution of an individual to a car’s development when a team of hundreds is working on it. But to suggest that both the 2005 and 2006 Renaults went backwards and that it was Alonso’s fault on both occasions is dafter still.

      3. Wingers says:

        You like the word FACT…. Mate, its not a fact just because you said it… it’s an opinion.

        And your opinion is fine, but as it is an opinion and therefore ‘debatable’…

        I will disagree, and give my opinion.

        Alonso is not a designer, and does not give the ok for parts to be developed, tested, raced etc. He gives his opinion, in terms of what is working on the track, and to keep within the spirit of the conversation, this is a fact.

        In 2005 Reno did not have the best machine on the grid. They were the only team I believe with a 6 speed box, something which wasn’t always ideal. Kimi in the McLaren could easily have had the championship sewn up in 05, had it not been for the incredible unreliability he had.

        But Alonso on many occasions was peerless in 05, and through development through the season, as did the McLaren, the car got faster… who do you attribute this to? Giancarlo Fisichella??? Hell, in the Chinese race they blew McLaren away, so had it gone down to the wire he still probably would have won anyways. In Japan when Kimi won the race passing Fisichella on the last lap, who was chasing him down just as quickly, only marred by a pit stop… yup Alonso overtaking Schumi around the outside of 130R… twice I think in the race, another time I think into the first corner.

        06, They had a fantastic head of steam, a great car, and Alonso was simply magnificent in the first half of the season (meanwhile Fisichella was bumping in to everyone)… Until the Mass Damper saga came along, they had to completely change the fundamental characteristics of the car around this issue, and quick. Who do you think provided input there? Had his Reno not had the wheel issue on his stop in Hungary when he drove through the field, he would have won there, and in Italy too he would have had a podium after that mad quali Massa decision, a tired engine…boom. 06 would have been done and dusted far sooner.

        07. Quite rightfully I believe he added time to the car. Kimi had no interest in 06 with a difficult McLaren and a Ferrari contract sorted, and with Juan off to Nascar 06 was a write off for McLaren just about. So when Alonso came with 2 years of Reno winning experience, of course he had info to bring and help with the car. Hamilton was very fortunate that he was in the right car at the right time to benefit from this 1st hand experience. Lewis would probably not have been a champion yet, had he not had this mentor to learn from. Understandably Alonso was irritated, wouldn’t you be? Or was he supposed to, as a champion, someone who fights to win, uuncomprimising, detrmined, all these winner qualities behave like a loser and say “Sure Lewis, I’ll give you all my experience for free, and you can have the championship in your rookie year…”

        08 Back to Reno, in a car that had switched from an excellent Michelin partnership to Bridgestone, with drivers who couldn’t extract the most out of them in 07. So of course Alonso pushed them forward to the point that he was the top scorer in the second half of the season. Do you really think Fisichella would have pushed to that point??

        09 The season was done and dusted from the second the courts hammer went down declaring the diffusers used on the Brawn etc legal. The focus of the team switched to 2010… there was no longer any real point, and Alonso looked forward to Red Pastures… while still destroying his team mates, putting a terrible car into the top 10 quali more often than not…

        So 2010 comes now, and I have grown to appreciate Massa’s skills, as I didn’t rate them as highly as they appear to now be. My opinion is that Alonso will get a significant upper hand, but I could be wrong. It should be interesting. I hope 2010 provides some real fireworks, and I am sure come the end we will have an interesting tale of who’s the best of the best…

        One ‘fact’ I do tend to agree with you on, is that Button got very lucky. He is a fine driver, but in my opinion not a ‘great’ driver, but his waning interest in the Honda days to me proved a point about him, and I believe that had another driver, perhaps a Nico Rosberg or Mark Webber or a couple others been in his shoes, they would have also won the championship, with less trouble. I expect Lewis to show him the way next season… we shall see.

        thats it from me, and thats a fact :-)

      4. amel says:

        did you seen even one race of 05 season..? if you have..you will see how mclaren are fast,and making fastest laps, so if renault were the fastest,why Mclaren done that? alonso is driver for respecting,he beat Michel,Rai…so stop talking bullsheets.

    3. GP says:

      If my memory is correct, in 2005 Renault had the fifth biggest budget; in 2006, it fell to sixth place (after BMW bought Sauber and moved ahead of Renault). If you know anything about racing you know that the richer teams will develop at a faster rate.

      Add to that the fact that the FIA took, what, a year and a half to decide to ban mass dampers? By the way, did Ferrari veto the device because they couldn’t make it work…?

      I think you’re letting your feelings get ahead of the realities of motor racing.

  4. Pablo says:

    The McLaren and Mercedes-HPE/Ilmor engineers said the same things in the winter 06/07.

    1. Peter says:

      They needed some excuse, too, after every second engine was blown.

  5. Crid [CridComment @ gmail] says:

    People will forgive a lot in this sport. ‘Liargate’ seems to have been forgotten by everyone (though to me it seemed the moment where Hamilton really had to grow up and face his weaknesses). No one seems to fault Alonso in Stepneygate, though other blogs have said he essentially tried to blackmail Ron Dennis. Schu can park at Rascasse for a soup-&-half-sandwich, nobody cares….

    But dammit, we expect these guys to say what’s going on in their heads, even if it’s lame!

    People should try to remember this about Kimi’s ice cream incident: It had been less than forty-eight hours since he’d nearly been choked to death from smoke in Ferrari’s short-circuited KERS system. If such a car was having still other troubles Kimi’s was on race day, would you want to drive it on a course with as much water as Malaysia had that afternoon?

    Kimi should have made that case to the public himself. Ferrari would have had to stand and take the punch. (Much as we admire them, nobody really thinks of them as superhuman anyway: Even Ferrari has bad times.) For Kimi to merely collect an extra serving of Coke and ice cream while the team press officer sputtered away in the next room was not an excusable reticence.

  6. Crid [CridComment @ gmail] says:

    I think that’s what people mean by “passive-aggressive”

  7. Dave Cameron says:

    It’s pretty clear to me that Alonso and Massa will operate just fine at Ferrari. Your analysis of Kimi at Ferrari says just as much.

    Kimi was always made for McLaren. McLaren don’t look for team leaders per se. They look for guys to get in the car and drive it fast! Lewis is hardly a development driver, and McLaren are fine with that, they hire engineers to do that.

    Similarly Alonso was never meant for McLaren as he is a leader and a developer of the car. Massa is in a similar mindset to Alonso but perhaps more of a collaborator. He wants the best for the team and is good at developing the car (arguably less so than Alonso). Massa has always been viewed as the underdog against his teammates and its never phased him before, so I dont see how it will in 2010. Alonso liked Renault because they listened to him, and hated McLaren for not. At Ferrari I think they have the operational capacity and compassion to show that they are listening and therefore he’ll be settled, even if Massa runs him hard!

    Bring on 2010!

    1. Dale says:

      Partly agree. Kimi was suited to McLaren and had it not been for Mosley’s interference with the tyres and the unreliability of the Mercedes engine at the time I think he would have won maybe two championships.
      Massa is very much a Ferrari child and he really does see and feel it as a family, Alonso on the other hand is far far more all about me me me me, how Massa will deal with this time will tell.
      As for Lewis and Jenson I think when the gloves are off Lewis will show he really is all about me me me just like Alonso whereas Jenson may turn out to be more a team player, after all he stuck with Bar/Honda for way too long in their bad days, Alonso and Lewis would have been off driving a faster, race winning car, both having winning in their DNA which in my opinion sets them apart from all the other current F1 drivers

      1. GP says:

        Good points, Dale. To be a multiple champion it all has to be me, me, me. Exactly what Prost, Senna and Schumacher did during their whole careers.

        Senna dropped McLaren like a bad habit as soon as they lost their manufacturer engines, despite winning 3 world championships with them.

        Schumacher dropped Benetton after 2 championships AND took some of their best people to Ferrari with him.

        The real winners are in it to win above all else. It is naive to think otherwise as history clearly shows.

      2. James Allen says:

        Not quite. He stayed in 1993 and put in some mighty performances. He left because the Williams was clearly the car to be in and with Prost vacating it, he was the man for that seat. He could also see Schumacher was the next guy coming through quickly and he wanted to be sure of a competitive car.

      3. Tarek says:

        Actually, before the ’93 season started, Senna claimed that he wanted to move to Williams but that Prost did not want him in the other car, so in that respect you’re right. But remember, Michael left a competitive Benetton team in which he could have easily built on his success (juding by ’95) to a not very competitive Ferrari that he knew needed to be restructured from the top-down. Clearly, Schumacher had the challenge (and perhaps the salary) of moving to Ferrari, rather than the team’s competitiveness, in mind.

  8. Ani says:

    it’s just that i didn’t think these quotes were … i thought i read this ‘in a winning car he was and is perfect’ long back .
    Alonso been doing his developmental stuff pretty diligently as of now right .Two day trips – talking to engineers – driving their road cars (thats fishy :P )
    People are different , but i don’t think a team principal have to look up on a driver to make the team work .

    1. ElChiva says:

      Maybe it is because the car is still in desing fase, once it is on the tarmac the development fase starts. The the drivers can tell the engineers what they need in set up terms and the designers how to improve it.

      Just remember this
      1. design
      2. set-up
      3. development

      Drivers only have input in 2 and 3.

      That Ron Dennis knew all too well when he spent 1m euros getting ALO to test their 2006 car. And to quote him very freely he said in 2007 that ALO was exceptional in how to tell the team how to improve the car and he reminded him of Senna!

  9. I do believe Alonso to be better at development and leadership than Raikkonen. Even Massa is better than KR.

    But it’s plain wrong for Ferrari to issue such statements. I guess it’s one less Ferrari World Champion they’ll see next year at the Ferrari World Finals. Right now they look like an episode of Family Ties gone bad.

    I can imagine Ferrari being again a top contender, having started development of next year’s car so early. And I’m looking forward to see how Massa deals with his pal from Nurburging ’07, and Alonso deals with a fast team-mate. He tends not to like those, does he?

    And best wishes for KR, for making such a brave (insane?) switch to WRC. I hope it raises the championship status to the level it deserves.

    1. GP says:

      It’s interesting to note that the people who are not Alonso fans always bring up this inability to get along with his teammates. As James has mentioned here before, Alonso’s problem, for the most part, was with Ron Dennis, not Lewis. Even Bernie commented on that situation; what did Ron Dennis say to Alonso during their courtship? Let’s not forget that when Alonso signed his contract with McLaren Lewis was in F3. I’ve always suspected that Ron did not fulfill the promises he made to Alonso. And this is what Bernie was hinting at and what ruined his time at McLaren.

      In any case, as history has shown, great drivers don’t get along for obvious reasons. Is it necessary to mention Prost/Senna, Mansell/Piquet? Michael took care of that problem by having a clause in his Ferrari contract giving him the final say on his teammates… and we all saw what Kimi did with Jean Todt’s cell phone when Michael was calling.

      What about all the other teammates Alonso has had in his career? He’s had a good relationship with all of them. He’s still good friends with Trulli and Fisi. The straight talker Mark Webber has praised Alonso on many occasions, and this is the only driver who had the balls to comment negatively on Max’s lifestyle.

      Finally, every picture I’ve seen over the years where Alonso is interacting with other drivers shows them all laughing and having a good time. From what I’ve read he’s also one of the regulars at the Saturday night poker games. His best mate is probably Kubica who, like Webber, is a straight talker who doesn’t appear to have much time for bullshit.

  10. Brace says:

    I always find it funny (and by funny I mean: quite telling) when I remember Ron’s comment after Chinese gp 2007 “We weren’t racing Kimi, we were racing Alonso”. Last time I checked Alonso was driving for their team and Kimi for a rival one, not vice-verca.

    1. Pablo says:

      I guess that would be after Alonso sold his own team out (after attempted blackmail) over a spying affair that HE was involved in (not Dennis) – and then brokered a deal with everyone’s favourite straight guy with absolutely no axe to grind, Max Mosley, to get protection from any FIA penalties plus ‘protection’ from any McLaren attempts to sabotage his car on completely baseless allegations invented to cover his own tracks further.

      I really find it AMAZING that anyone can defend Alonso’s actions in 2007 or blame Dennis for feeling betrayed. But no – it’s Alonso who was betrayed! Presumably because McLaren hired a better driver than himself and no supreme ego should be subject to that kind of ordeal.

      I won’t even get into Singapore 2008.

    2. Jason C says:

      Indeed, and Alonso was fighting for the championship too, not just Lewis.

      1. shortsighted says:

        I think the whole thing exploded in Ron Dennis McLaren’s days when it was so obvious to Alonso and all of us that RD favored Lewis Hamilton and wanted a British driver to win the WDC to help his aspiration for a Knighthood. I don’t blame Alonso at all.

        Massa to me is not a perfect team mate. Once he was free of the restrictions of Schumacher’s terms in his contract, he was a different fellow. He started to blocked, squeezed his team mate Kimi Raikkonen at the start of races even worst than he did to the other drivers. I have a feeling that he will start a battle with Alonso which will go out of control. From all his recent comments to the press, I doubt Domenicali has the ability to handle the situation.

  11. NIkhil says:

    Domenicali’s theory that Kimi is good only in a competitive car is is a bit amateurish. SD has a loss of memory or has memory of good times 2008 (which is really bad for a team principal). Its only 2 months since 2009 season finished where Kimi exibited supreme talent got incredible results in that dog Ferrari F60(Fisi proved it).

    SD needs to watch again SPA victory before making such comments. He is contradicting himself cause he himself said he will never speak bad about kimi.

    1. Charlie says:

      You speak wisely.

      Let’s also remember Kimi’s 6th position finish in his maiden grand prix in a Sauber.

      Perhaps let’s also remember his win at Spa in 2004 with that crappy Mclaren.

    2. Robert says:

      Damn straight Nikil.

      Stefano must be reminded that he once said he will never say anything bad towards Kimi. This was said at the time of Kimi’s official announcement that he will part ways with Ferrari.

      I for one am not proud of the fact that Fernando is effectively a pay driver at Ferrari care of Santander’s money. The whole affair is below the belt and lacks class. But since when did Ferrari ever have class?

      I am an Alonso fan but just because of that one cant condone classes acts and comments.

    3. Thomas says:

      I agree with you. I have always loved Kimi for his ability to wring just about everything from his car, for his speed and his manners as well.

      But no matter what heroics he has done before; I’ve never been as impressed with him as I was this season.

  12. Simo says:

    I really do hope we see Kimi back in Formula One in 2011.

    I think next year will be very interesting in regards to the Alonso v. Massa battle, overall I believe Alonso is faster than Massa on raw outright pace, but it will be very interesting to see how the two compare.
    I also really hope that what happened in 2007 doesn’t repeat itself again in 2010 between Alonso and Massa, as they have already had some choice words to say about each other over the past few months in regards to the spygate scandal.

    I just hope we can enjoy the 2010 season without any off-screen dramas or scandals and hopefully make it a great championship with Button, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Webber, Rosberg & Mercedes number 2 driver all fighting for the championship!!!

    That would be a very special championship indeed!

    1. Thomas says:

      Gotta say I think no one is above Massa on raw, ouright pace.

      I am very curious as to how Alonso gets around Maranello myself. Is he as fast as Kimi? Is he as fast as Massa? Can he drive a Ferrari? Fisi could not, however he had the kers brakes excuse. Will he handle having a stron teammate this time?

    2. Dale says:

      Rosberg isn’t in the league as Vettel, not to metion Hamilton and Alonso
      :bootyshake:

      1. Simo says:

        That maybe true, but I think that may be slightly unfair at the same time because he has never had a front-running car for an entire season like Hamilton, Vettel or Alonso.

        He may surprise everyone now that he is at Mercedes?

      2. Dale says:

        Well I for one will be watching

  13. Tarek says:

    It’s not just that Alonso is a better development driver. He’s also a better bet (probably the best, with Hamilton fast-approaching) when it comes to maximizing the package over the course of a season. And I think that Alonso is just as quick as Kimi over both one lap and in a race distance.

    Yes, Kimi was a driver who did virtually nothing but try to drive the car at the limit, and even this approach should have brought him more success. But the problem was he didn’t manage that very often at Ferrari, did he? Think of the first half of the 2007 and 2009 seasons, and most, if not all, of 2008. So even in this respect he fell way short of what was expected of him. For whatever reason- be it lack of motivation, laziness, or disinterest in F1 in general- he just wasn’t quick enough often enough. And that’s something all die-hard Kimi fans will have to come to terms with if they are to understand why the top teams would not meet his wage demands.

    1. Andy says:

      Tarek: “Think of the first half of the 2007 and 2009 seasons, and most, if not all, of 2008.”

      Going off-topic a bit here, but show me the “most of 2008″ where Kimi fell short of expectations? It was a string of 4 races just after midway through the season in which Kimi didn’t manage to score a point that doomed his season. Up until that point he was ahead of Massa in the points and had led the WDC for the first few races. Granted, his season was a disappointment, but even then he was able to provide some brilliant shows. It wasn’t such a miserable failure people seem to remember it.

      1. Tarek says:

        But look: I don’t know if you’re a Raikkonen fan, but if you are, can you honestly say that you were generally happy about his performance in his 3 years at Ferrari? Yes, they were not at all disastrous, but the criticism levelled against him here is based on the fact (rather than opinion) that he could have done sooo much better. And I think that last statement a tribute to his talent, but certainly not his work ethic.

    2. Charlie says:

      You know, (and no offence Tarek, this isn’t aimed specifically at you) I seriously think this ‘wage demand’ concerning Kimi Raikkonen thing need to be sorted out. James, if you’re reading this, can you publish it because I’m a bit fed up by the apparent blind eye that’s been turned to this issue.

      It seems fairly clear to me that Mclaren were after Button way before the media started discussing it. Button was surely a better option for Mclaren than Kimi. He was WDC, had the No.1 car, was British, would sign a 3 year contract, was a steal from Mercedes whom Mclaren were parting ways with, and so on. I think that Mclaren negotiated with Kimi but kept him waiting while they secretly negotiated with Button. Brawn said himself that other teams tried to unbalance Button towards the end of the season with offers of race-seats. Kimi just wanted to race for Mclaren. He committed himself to them by publicly insisting that it was Mclaren or nothing in F1. Mclaren didn’t bite. They hired Button and Kimi went rallying. I cannot seriously believe, as Robertson would have us do, that Kimi and Mclaren couldn’t agree on a wage. You’re telling me that when Mclaren couldn’t agree terms with Kimi they then looked for the next best thing and chose Button? If that’s the case the whole process from failed negotiations with Kimi, to approaching Button, to a signed contract took about 5 days. No chance. Robertson was just trying to save his client from the embarrassment of the fact that he was in fact Mclaren’s second choice after Button…a PR move that the media apparently bought.

      This makes much more sense to me than the idea that Raikkonen made obscene wage demands. He simply couldn’t. His stock is not high enough to demand more money than Hamiltons and Alonsos make. It had nothing to do with that. Mclaren wanted Button and strung Kimi along on the off-chance that they couldn’t persuade Button to join them.

      Now if that’s the case. Doesn’t this give us a few rather interesting questions to ask about what was happening with Button for the month or so before he signed with Mclaren? Was he stringing Brawn along for a while? Brawn certainly seemed confident that his man was staying. I think the Mercedes team said that Button was so disloyal because he lied to them about staying. As we now know, his extended lack of signing a contract with them was not for money-based reasons as the media suggested. Mercedes offered him a good contract. Nope. He was surely in negotiations with Mclaren for a considerable length of time.

      Something to think about. At least this version of events dismisses the theory that Raikkonen would only stay in F1 for a huge sum of money. I reckon he would have driven a Ferrari or a Mclaren for nothing. He said he wanted a winning car and I do not believe that he was lying. That said, what’s worse for your reputation: being considered unmotivated and over-demanding or being second choice to Button?

      1. Tarek says:

        None taken. You didn’t seem too offensive there anyway :)

        Not sure about what you said though. Remember Kimi would already have been making 10m next year whatever happened. As far as I know his management was demanding something in the region of 7m from McLaren so that he would have earned exactly the same annual sum had he continued racing for Ferrari in 2010. Jenson will now probably earn a similar sum from McLaren (if not less), so part of it is perhaps a question of cost as far as McLaren are concerned. Also, you may be right about the point that Button was always McLaren’s first choice, but that doesn’t mean that Kimi (or his management, for that matter) was aware of it. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that Kimi was not asking for more money than the team was willing to pay.

        Besides, I don’t think McLaren thought it would be this easy to lure Button away from Brawn once the season was over, so I believethey were seriously contemplating Kimi. But only at the right price.

    3. Dale says:

      In my view Hamilton this year has proved he can do something few others can, i.e. drive a bad car beyond its capabilities.
      Having been a follower of F1 since the late 60′s very few drivers can do this, Senna comes to mind as always getting more out of the car than the car had to give.
      :o

      1. Tarek says:

        Yes, Senna was great at Lotus, and also produced miracles in the 1993 McLaren. So did Michael Schumacher in 1994, ’95, ’96, and ’97.

      2. Dale says:

        Having watched all of both Senna’s and Schumi’s races there is little real comparison. Senna is the best driver I’ve seen.
        Schumi always had extra help and if F1 was an honest sport there is no way he would have won so many races or championships.
        Senna’s poles were set when it actually meant something, he had team mates that were free to race him and he didn’t receive and extra FIA assistance.
        Schumi good yes, one of the best, no, the likes of Clark, Senna and Stewart were all better

      3. Kimi4Life says:

        Another time wrong. Kimi was doing miracles with F60 also.

      4. Maria Felix says:

        Nonsense the Mclaren ended up the fastest car by the end of the season. Cut the rubbish with all the blind hamilton fanboi talk.

        If anyone did miracles its Kimi in that F60.

      5. KP says:

        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

        Kimi fanboys are crazy.

  14. rockie says:

    Ferrari need to get thru next season before blabbing bout kimi and saying fernando is a better driver at development am beginning to wonder wat happened at renault as he could not lead the team out of the doldrums as SD forgets that the brain behind alonso’s wining years at renault was pat symonds i would like to see felipe’s comeback next season and the thot of another driver winning the WDC before him again might bring fireworks within the team

  15. Gabriel says:

    I think Alonso’s learnt from the McLaren experience that rocking the boat is not going to help him in the long run, especially as he probably wants to establish some kind of legacy at Ferrari. Also, he knows exactly what to expect from Massa, whereas Lewis was a surprise package to nearly everyone.

    1. dale says:

      Alonso, unlike Massa is political, watch how he steers the team to his side of the garage.
      If and it’s a if if, Massa proves the faster driver watch Alonso throw his toys out the pram.
      Remember, regardless to what some say, he was beaten by Hamilton in his rookie year, the results don’t lie.

      1. Matt says:

        I agree with dale, Alonso threw his toys out of the pram at McLaren because he was losing to a rookie. If he had been beating Hamilton week after week, then regardless of any favouritism shown to Hamilton, he wouldn’t have behaved the way he did. All F1 drivers want to be winning races, and the Piquet scandal showed how far teams may be prepared to go to win.

        Alonso is in a similar competitive mould. No matter how it is achieved, he wants to win. If Alonso isn’t winning at Ferrari then he will find some excuse, such as favouritism, to justify his poor performance.

      2. Jason C says:

        @dale “the results don’t lie”

        weren’t they exactly equal on points?

      3. Dale says:

        Look at the records and you will see that Lewis finished ABOVE Alonso, this is how the rules are written and that’s a fact.
        Also had |Lewis been allowed to race in Monaco (the only race the team gave strict orders) there’s a good chance he’d have won that and been world champion.

      4. Declan says:

        Dale – I respectfully disagree. The complicated Ron Dennis always had a policy of his two cars racing only until the final pitstops whereby they were then told to hold station. Of all places, this definitely is perfectly acceptable in the unforgiving Monaco.

        I think Lewis’ blatant Hungary qualifying was more of an impeachment to Alonso and clearly showed how Lewis didn’t box fairly all the time.

        Back to Monaco; let’s not forget that Lewis also crashed in practice and therefore jepardised his qualifying – which is much critical at Monaco. There are of course a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ to a season.

      5. Frenchie says:

        Hamilton is a different beast. I remember him making headlines in Autosport when dominating Euro F3 and GP2.

        Massa is more equal to the rest of the field.

      6. Maria Felix says:

        Indeed he is a different beast who needs a subdued teammate. Alonso still equaled him on point despite all the bias and favoritism Hamilton got from Mclaren.

        Can you say 2nd rate driver?

        Yeah, come back and tell the same when we have seen him actually compete on equal footing to the other driver in the other car. Wont happen since that would destroy Hamilton’s complete worth.

      7. Nestor says:

        Yes , results don’t lie , 109=109 , hardly a beating …..

      8. Dale says:

        I suggest you look at the F1 standings and you’ll see in black and white that Hamilton finished ABOVE Alonso in his first season in F1.
        The F1 championship points system is based on countback of previous results just as goal difference can decide a championship in football.
        FACT Alonso the World champion WAS beaten by a rookie, Hamilton – get over it as it isn’t going to change.

      9. PaulL says:

        Wellll… did he mate?

      10. Racehound says:

        Get yer facts right James!!! Fred said he brought the car 6/10s of a second per lap, and as you well know, that is a loooooong way from 1 whole second in F1. !! #:)

      11. leffty says:

        Alonso is unpolitical???????????

        He tried to blackmail his teamboss to give him no.1 status in 2007,

        Massa would never do that.

      12. Declan says:

        I think the fact is that ALL drivers in F1 are political and are self-serving in their actions.

        Massa may not have the political nous of Alonso, and that is why he has Nicolas Todt as a manager. In a similar vein Lewis has his father who does all the politicking.

        Whether it’s on or off the track, all drivers flirt right up to the line of what is acceptable and cross over occasionally. Obviously some are better at it than others …

  16. F1 Kitteh says:

    Are we going to have two F1 champions in rally cars soon?

  17. Andy says:

    How much can we really read into these comments? Certainly Alonso has always been more interested and involved in working with the engineers than Kimi, but with so little testing time these days, how much of a difference can a driver make? Moreover, Renault didn’t really become a forerunner again when Alonso returned, rather, their car just got worse and worse.

    I don’t doubt that Ferrari wanted Kimi to open up more. However, comments like this sound like Ferrari are ashamed of the the real reasons they let Kimi go (Santander money?) and just want to feed into the obvious stereotype people have of Kimi and exploit that. No matter how much better Alonso is at developing the car, I doubt he is 17 million euros better. One could hire quite a few engineers with that money.

    1. Charlie says:

      Heroic, thoughtful, comments Andy. Thanks for that.

    2. Crid [CridComment @ gmail] says:

      A driver who doesn’t make sponsors happy (as is said of Kimi) probably brings down the mood of the entire garage, even at Ferrari.

      1. Maria Felix says:

        Mclaren in 2002-2006 never agrees with you because its nonsense. They worshiped him. I know a few engineers from woking who can vouch for this.

      2. Crid [CridComment @ gmail] says:

        And yet Dennis & Whitmarsh, who probably took good notes during Kimi’s earlier tenure at Mac, had their choice of recent champions for the second seat: The could go with Kimi, who scrapped ferociously for every point, or they could go with Jense, the ‘diffuser champ’. A couple weeks ago someone (probably Allen!) said that Kimi’s brief flirtation at Woking last month was stalled by his disinterest in nurturing sponsors.

        Maybe mechanics adored him. But the money people are watching out for the mechanic’s best interests, too.

        Personality & warmth count for something. There used to be this disco record: “No parking on the dance floor….”

    3. Dale says:

      Comments like this must be playing on Massa’s mind, I’d bet he’s having more than a few sleepless nights :-D

    4. chris says:

      good post Andy. Alonso is no better than any other driver at diagnosing a cars deficiencies. Every driver feels the car with their whole body and can articulate it’s behavior to their race engineers.

      Alonso can certainly do a better job than kimi at inspiring the ferrari engineers by visiting the factory more often and taking an interest in what they are doing, but thats all. Alonso is a bit like a very expensive USB cable between the track and the factory.

    5. ElChiva says:

      One could hire quite a few engineers with that money.

      Again, engineers can spend 10000 man hours in wind tunnels and CFD to come up with a part and the driver might not like it and end up in the bin.

      ALO’s strenght is to feed back the engineers/designers what his car needs, as noone in the whole team apart from the drivers get to have a feel for the car. That is was good drivers are best at, talking to the team clearly and in depth about what the car is lacking and suggesting the path to take to improve it

      1. James Allen says:

        A lively old debate, this one! Some very passionate opinions, well expressed. Thanks very much for all your comments

      2. Awadhesh says:

        Chris Dyer, Andrea Stella etc. have all time and again praised Kimi’s ability to provide ‘concise but precise’ feedback about the handling of the car. I believe you know who they are. Judging by that, one can’t say that Alonso is worth $17 million more to Ferrari.

        And besides, can someone explain this convincingly, that if Alonso is so good at developing cars then why did he win only 2 races in the last 2 seasons ?( 1 of them invloved cheating and the the other one was thanks to Lewis’s fucked up start paving the way for Alonso to grab the lead) Neither of these 2 races were won on account of the Renault car being very quick. If anyone needs to see what the development of a car means, see the evolution of McLaren Mp4-22 this year.

        I acknowledge that Alonso is a very fast driver and very committed too but this hype about him being really good at developing cars is just too much. Seriously, people need to get their own eyes and not get blinded by the media glare.

  18. timem1 says:

    More Ferrari politics courtesy of Domenicalli. Continue to blame Raikkonen for his own failures in 2009. Place the responsibility for the teams success in 2010 squarely on the shoulders of Alonso. It is shameful the way Ferari have tried to vilify Raikkonen. Schumi is a rare breed and perhaps Alonso is cut from the same mold. But Ferrari knew what Kimi was like before hiring him. Alonso had better gird himself for the long knives that will come out if the team doesn’t get results.

    1. Renn Sport says:

      I agree… I have not always been a fan of Kimi at the red team… however kicking KR on his way out is not on.
      Alonso will be hounded by Felipe and when Alonso demands the no 1 as he did at McLaren he’ll have another shock.
      Massa will kick his ass and then the tifosi will kick his ass.
      I wish you well unless you are in the red team… huh?

    2. Scuderia@China says:

      I think these are excellent observations. I would like to think team leadership and development are first and foremost a team principal’s responsibility. What has transpired is that Domenicali is not nearly half the man Jean Todt. To blame his own failure on the drivers is ridiculous. Even more so Ferrari allows someone like him to run the team. Look at all the non-Italian elements being purged out of the team. Regardless of the driver line-up, the Scuderia will a bowl of spaghetti before long. And came from a long-time tifosi.

    3. Awadhesh says:

      Exactly, Ferrari must have known about Kimi all too well before hiring him to drive their car. When the car was quick in 2007, they didn’t say anything and were glad to win the championship. When the car was quick again in 2008, they still didn’t say anything but would have been sorely disappointed to see Massa lose the championship dramatically. And when the car was a complete piece of shit from the word GO in 2009 and still Kimi got incredible performances out of it, they decided to lay the blame on Kimi, that he couldn’t help in the development of the car. What sore losers! It was Ferrari’s decision to stop the development of the car. How can they expect results when they have stopped working on the car? The car was simply awful in the first part of the season and they were already way behind the leaders in the first few races. Add to that the fact that the car was designed around the KERS system making modifications in the design to incorporate the double diffuser effectively was always going to be a tall order and it was a compromise. No wonder, the car’s performance after the Spanish GP, even though significantly improved, was still behind the top 2 teams and couldn’t make up for the initial lost ground. And McLaren were catching up fast. After a few races, the team just gave up. How in the world, is Kimi responsible for the team’s failure to have an impressive showing in the championship?

      This is all just an act of covering up by Domenicali and co. The top brass at Ferrari aren’t accepting their fault and laying the blame squarely on a driver that stuck with them to the end and gave it his all. Talk about being a family! And does Domenicali forget the stupid errors in the pits and the strategic blunders he and his team have committed time and again costing them all heavily at many crucial junctures during the last 2 seasons? Whose fault is that, maybe Kimi again. Why did they extended his contract by 2 years at the end of 2008 season when there was all that talk of lack of motivation and all that crap in the media? It was only when they got the Santander money that it occurred to them that Alonso was more ‘valuable’ to them than Kimi.

  19. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

    I think some McLaren engineers would disagree with Domenicali.

    1. Tarek says:

      Maybe, but then that would only be because the Raikkonen of McLaren was so much different from the Raikkonen of a considerable part of the last 3 Ferrari years.

      1. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

        Rescind and restate:

        I think some McLaren engineers, Chris Dyer, and Andrea Stella would disagree with Domenicali.

        Dyer and Stella are huge Kimi fans.

      2. Robert says:

        Paige has a point. Kimi’s own race engineer Stella said the same thing. He said Kimi used to place that F60 in positions it doesn’t deserve to be in, almost impossible to believe he could do it.

        If that isn’t highest praise for the driver I don’t know what is.

      3. Dale says:

        Have to agree with that, Kimi was a better driver when at McLaren and it was only circumstances that stopped him winning two F1 crowns:-D

    2. Silverstoned says:

      Quite right, PM-S. Whitmarsh has done so at length.

  20. Dale says:

    Regardless as to what Ferrari say I believe that Alonso will, in their mindset, be their No 1 driver and Massa’s time will soon be over.

    As good as the Ferrari pairing I think McLaren’s is better, can’t wait for the 2010 season to start.

    1. leffty says:

      Maybe they do see Alonso as there no 1, but all that matters is that the guy in the ‘other’ car doesnt, and to make matters worse for Nando, he is bloody quick too.

    2. KenN0898 says:

      I hope I am wrong but I can see the driver situation at Ferrari developing into a clear number 1 and number 2 driver status, just like we had when MS and RB were the drivers there. I feel a bit sorry for Massa,…he is top driver and very worthy of a WDC title just like Rubens was when he was there but always had to give way to MS,….I don’t fancy Massa’s chances at the title now.

      1. James Allen says:

        I don’t see it that way at all

      2. Dale says:

        Then is this case you’re wrong.

      3. ElChiva says:

        check the lenght of their respective contracts and their reported wages…

      4. Kimi4Life says:

        You’ll see it next year. Until then… :)

      5. Kirsty says:

        I expect Alonso to be faster on merits and given no.1 status. If you’re really faster, politics can’t make you slower. Anyway, F1 is a team sport, there’s certain amount of politics involved.

        SD will regret his comments, he has no excuse next season, with Mr 6th on board, if the car is a dog, it’s completely his fault.

  21. Jonathan says:

    How can they realistically say that Alonso is better at development when he hasn’t even been able to test the current Ferrari being developed?!

    1. Dale says:

      Because Alonso says he is! :-)

      1. Charlie says:

        True. And best not upset him or he’ll block your second driver in the pit lane so he can’t set a qualifying lap time….or report you to the FIA.

      2. " for sure " says:

        spot on!

      3. " for sure " says:

        Can’t believe this site actually accepted my post, first for months.

    2. Renn Sport says:

      Because he did such a good job with the Renault these last two years…
      I really liked the developments he helped bring to Singapore last year… both cars were flying!
      We must give him his due.

      1. Awadhesh says:

        Haha! Nice one :D

  22. CL says:

    James, how much do you put in this development driver talk? Maybe it’s me being an ignorant fan, but if the people designing the car can’t do their job it doesn’t matter. All the driver can do is give a run down on how the car feels and leave the rest up to the design staff. Obviously the communication needs to be there, but I’d imagine anyone in F1 is more than capable of saying what they dislike about the car. As we saw this year, Reanult had one of the worst cars on the grid with Alonso’s “development skills.”

    1. Matt says:

      I think the important thing is that the designers aren’t in the car when it’s being driven, and they need the feedback from the drivers. Not just to say what is wrong with the car, but also ideas on what would make it better, and the effects of the minute changes they make to the car.

    2. Martin says:

      As another ‘ignorant fan’ I throw a few thoughts in. I think your basic premise is true – the speed comes from the design department and everything through the manufacturing processes (e.g. increased friction in joints), mechanics and the driver (less than perfect lines) all add up to lost time.

      You can have drivers who try to drive around any problem – primarily by changing braking styles to influence turn-in over or understeer – rather than complain to the engineers, or sulk that the car doesn’t suit them as much as his team mate.

      I think there could be a useful role to play in aerodynamic development. The distortion of the tyres under the aerodynamic load has a significant effect on air flow around the car. Pat Symonds said that the main problem with the 2007 Renault was that the team didn’t have the right data on the tyres and as such wind tunnel work was compromised. Since the tyres don’t have sensors in them the driver’s feedback is more important than for some other aspects.

      Getting the best over a race distance isn’t necessarily the same as a qualifying lap. It can be better to reduce the peak speed to maximise the average. High speed corners take more out of the tyres than slow ones, but the slow corners are often more important in terms of lap time. Next year is likely to bring about situations where a driver needs to pace himself and he’ll be better at doing this in a car he’s comfortable with and understands. Whether you call this development, or just set up related could be relevant for the Kimi vs Fernando argument.

      For an engineer, they’d want to know that the driver isn’t a variable when comparing to components. However, there could be times when a new component is no faster than the old, but gives a better feeling. In that sense a driver who knows what he likes is usually a desirable.

    3. Robert says:

      I worked with Mercedes for a while on chassis design although its road cars and I can tell you all this talk of driver developments be it Schumacher, Alonso, Prost etc its all pseudo science made up by people in the teams who are not the engineers and made up by people in the press again who are not engineers.

      All I need from the client/driver is the feel to certain aspects and the questions are put to them by us not the other way around. Sometimes the driver can have an opinion but when he is not an engineer he is not in a position to give us details the way we expect it. So its really down to the engineer to make out what the driver is feeling and what the driver wants and then make the changes.

      The buck ends with the engineer not the driver.

      1. Declan says:

        Would you mind elaborating further? How is it then, that we hear on a race weekend when Driver #1 is quoted as saying that he was slow in qualifying because he went the wrong way in setup and had to revert to Driver #2′s setup?

    4. Ninad says:

      Well it all depends on car that driver likes to drive.

      In 2008 Kimi was not able to get hang of the Ferrari hence was beaten by Massa. So instead of sorting out issues with his engineers and designers, he kept quite. Did not say anything about the issues.
      Obviously Ferrari will get angry. Because they are used to Michael who was the best in this field and gave best feedback about the car.
      Kimi was not interested in hard work part of it, he just wants a fast car to drive.

      As far as Alonso’s development skill at Renault is concerned, there is not much you can do if team is just not pouring in the money.

      For example look at millions that Mclaren spent to win those 2 races. They had minor updates coming all season while there were 4 major updates, that is more than any other team.

      1. Ninad says:

        BTW I’m not an Alonso fan.

      2. Awadhesh says:

        On the contrary to what you said, Kimi repeatedly asked the team to revert to the older front suspension system in the 2008 season because he wasn’t happy with the newer one (presumably designed to aid Massa) but the team didn’t accept it until Monza. So Ferrari can’t be angry at all over Kimi not saying anything. He is obviously not as dumb as some think he is.

    5. hans joergen stroem says:

      very well written CD. especially help remeber this years renault alonso combination ;-))

      1. bwana says:

        Exactly what i was thinking.
        It seems like the Ferrari engineers can only build a good car if they have a driver blowing hot air up their ***.
        I would think having a driver drag a terribly designed car to a victory would be enough to get them fired up.
        Its clearly a santander issue which dominacalli is trying to gloss over with his nonsense.
        And Alonso didn’t do too well developing Renault for the past two years

    6. rpaco says:

      The driver can do a lot to send the development in the right direction. Obviously every new car is different and it behaves differently to each adjustment. If the driver is no good at development it can take the team very much longer to sort the car out, perhaps the whole season.

    7. ElChiva says:

      they stopped developing the car very early into the season, earlier than Ferrari I think.

      Maybe they didnt want to involve a driver who would be racing for the competition in 2010.

      Or anyone thinks it came as a surprise to Renault or ferrari?

      please…

  23. Jameson says:

    It’s difficult to develop a car when the constructor stops work on said car.

    The Scuderia are filled with venomous people–their attitude toward Raikkonen and the new teams shows that. Raikkonen is a no nonsense driver that doesn’t fool around with silly games like putting pressure on his teammate behind the scenes instead of on the track.

    1. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

      The fact that Raikkonen was able to get podiums out of a car that never really was anything better than the fourth best car on the grid even at the end of its development should say something not only about his driving ability, but his ability to find an optimal setup.

      1. ElChiva says:

        ALO managed the same, third place in Singapore 2009, with the nearest Ferrari 42.2 secs behind… but yeah grosjean also crashed in free practice

      2. Awadhesh says:

        Yeah, well Alonso did it once, while Kimi did it 5 times. And Renault were bringing parts to their car for a long time after Ferrari had already abandoned F60.

    2. Charlie says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

    3. Darren says:

      Have to agree, Fiat are a nasty team and every year the team sucks F1 is better for it. I love it every race they fail, and long may their decline continue. Good Luck to the new team and my support will go to Lotus for 2010

    4. Trixie says:

      My sentiments exactly.

      Kimi was employed to drive the Ferrari and wring whatever speed he can out of the car. Why is it then deemed necesary for him to take on the role of engineer/car developer/aero designer/etc ? If mere fans can “understand” Kimi and see that all he wants is to drive the fastest car and win races fairly, why can’t his employers and those working closest with him see that too ? Kimi minds his own business, does his job and let others get on with theirs. If he was of the Schumacher mould, I am sure he won’t have the millions of fans support that he’s currently afforded.

      I recall James saying that Stefano is refreshing and more open with journalists but I find it appalling to read Ferrari management airing their dirty laundry in public already. I feel there will be more to come, what with Massa (almost champion)/Alonso (double champion) combination set to fill F1 news pages even before the engines are fired up. Kimi’s fans will switch with him en masse to WRC, and I hope we get coverage of it downunder.

      I now find it satisfying that Kimi gave Stefano a cold hug after his Spa win. After all, actions speak louder than words and Kimi, ever the dignified World Champion who also helped Ferrari to 2 Constructor’s Championship, leaves with his honour intact, to a team that I expect will respect and value him for what he is – a talented, daring and no-nonsense driver without questionable reputation.

      1. Awadhesh says:

        A very nice and sensible post.

  24. Bami says:

    As a Massa fan, I look forward to the arrival of Alonso. As Massa says in every interview, “Alonso is one of the best drivers” this will push Massa to new heights in 2010 as Hamilton did in 2008.

    Not sure Alonso is a development driver, did’nt see it in 2009, or 2006. With the ban on in-season testing, how is that such a strength.

  25. Lady Snowcat says:

    Hmmm…

    An interesting comment when a certain Mr Whitmarsh had Kimi and Mika as his “dream team” due to their talent and… wait for it… feedback….

    I have a feeling that the Ferrari engineers just couldn’t react to the feedback in the same way as the Macca guys could…

    It may be a language thing… or just that they couldn’t react to Kimi’s requirements with the car they had…

    It was interesting how it developed away from Kimi’s style during 2008 and 2009 seasons, when testing in season became limited, and they always reverted back to a more understeery style…

    1. ElChiva says:

      maybe it is a good job they have another driver fluent in italian

    2. Hans joergen Stroem says:

      the car developted 2008 got more and more to massa`s style. and we must not forget he had his babysitter beside him, schumi whom the whole scuderia would listen to like a god or at least the pope

  26. Silverstoned says:

    Unlike others at Ferrari, Domenicali has tried to be fair-minded in his comments about Kimi and for that I think he desreves respect.

    With regard to Alonso, I always say that to do as well as The Iceman, Alonso will have to win his first race, and be WDC in his first year.
    If he can do that we shall all take our hats off to him.

    However, could just be that fat pigs in yellow swimsuits will be flying around first….

  27. Dave Roberts says:

    James, It is valid to consider that Alonso will have less input into the development of this year’s car because he has obviously been contractually unable to do so. How realistic are the simulators? Are they accurate enough to replicate the very intricate handling characteristics of a car under development and therefore can Alonso add value in this area or will it purely be down to track time and a work in progress on race weekends?

    1. James Allen says:

      Development is restricted next season, you have a certain allocation of updates allowed and so you have to maximise them all.

  28. Casey says:

    SD comes off sounding like ‘focus on anyone but me’.

  29. Kenneth C says:

    I think what that isn’t spoken speaks volumes. Massa was not really mentioned as the Schumacher replacement as team leader even though he has been in the team longer and have been (as far as i’m aware) mentored by Schumacher himself.

    One can only imagine what Massa really thinks of all this not just the carefully “edited” press releases. In my opinion Massa may have been retained possibly due to his deeper connections in Ferrari and being generally likable. While Kimi was more expensive and had less emotional connections with the team making him easier to sever than Massa. I stand corrected but it seems to an outsider that subtly Ferrari is ignoring Massa. Lets hope if Alonso is the “new schumi” then Massa is not the “new barrichello”

    1. Hans joergen Stroem says:

      interesting what you say, yes they ignore massa. we saw through 2008 that he could very well have been the champ, if it wasn`t for the team errors. now if they really wanted to put there stake on Massa, something he deserve and need now to show his potential without schumi beside him inthe team, they could have contracted a younger driver beside him.

  30. Toby says:

    FA and KR are both outstanding F1 drivers with different working philosophies, which have advantages and disadvantages depending on the circumstances. And disparaging one to prop the other one up is a futile exercise and unnecessary as their respective records speak for themselves. I appreciate their driving talent, though I wouldn’t care to have dinner with either. I for one will miss KR for his work on the track and hope that he returns in 2011.

    1. Amritraj says:

      This is the best post on this thread. Balanced and reasonable.

  31. Paul Mc says:

    I guess thats the problem when a driver of Schumachers class retires from a team…you expect the same level and you just cant get it.

    Alonso is the perfect person in my opinion to lead Ferrari into a new era, my only doubt is the relationship with Massa. Its okay in pre season but once the season starts we are going to be wondering whether Ferrari will favour either driver.

    Ferrari will need to manage them both carefully. I cant see a Schumi/Rubens type reign with one driver stepping aside, its more likely to go down the Alonso/Lewis route. Its high stakes this season for Ferrari and both drivers will be fighting hard to claim superiority.

    If Alonso wins a WDC with Ferrari he will go down as one of the greats. I cant help but think of the similarities Alonso shares with Schumacher at this stage of his career. Double World Champion leaves to join Ferrari, a much criticized and controversial driver with immense talent and a huge challenge ahead.

  32. vietlol says:

    I remember reading those same quotes from Domenicali during the Suzuka GP weekend when Alonso was announced.

    On the now infamous 6 tenths, wasn’t the original comment made by somebody within McLaren and later repeated sarcastically by Alonso when they fell out?

  33. Buck says:

    A couple things come to mind…

    First, why does Ferrari’s management feel the need to keep releasing these pro-Alonso, “we’re all a big happy family now” press statements that sound suspiciously like damage control propaganda? Who are they trying to appease?Their bosses? Alonso? His sponsors? The tifosi?

    I would imagine after Massa’s angry claim that he lost a world title due to Alonso’s race-fixed win at Singapore last year, that despite is retraction and what the official statements coming out of the press room may say, that it’s not actually going to be all hugs and kisses in the Ferrari garage next year, especially since Massa and his camp have been there far longer. Deja vu?

    Second, (and please forgive me for not knowing all that is involved in developing a car), how is Alonso going to develop the car before actual testing? With a computer mouse like the other engineers? (I understand the simulator is a useful tool, but that its value in assessing how the actual car will behave has its limits).

    I am assuming that by the time those brief testing sessions take place shortly before the season opener, Ferrari will have already committed to most of the 2010 car’s final configuration, so any changes after testing may end up being relatively minimal, limiting Alonso’s (or any other driver’s) input a fair deal. By then, as was the case this season, it could be way too late to fix any major problems.

    1. James Allen says:

      That first question is what makes the situation so interesting, Buck. As a student of human behaviour in F1′s intense atmosphere I find this Alonso strategy very interesting.

      1. Mav says:

        As a student of your brilliant blog James, I have concluded that everyone called Maria is a rabid fangirl. It’s quite uncanny!

      2. Buck says:

        Yes, very interesting indeed. Like a riddle or a code. I will watch this space for further clues. :)

  34. mingojo says:

    James, what’s your opinion of Fernando in Mclaren? Do you think he was betrayed by Mclaren? You wrote in F1 racing that Lewis received the best strategies over Fernando. Do you think Mclaren favoured Lewis in 2007?
    Was Fernando fairly treated by British media? (I remenber some comments by Martin Brundel during some of his pit walks where he didn’t want to interview Alonso because of Alonso’s behaviour in Mclaren). It seems to me we know what Lewis or Dennis’ accounts of 2007, but Fernando’s view has never published in this country.

    1. James Allen says:

      No I didn’t say that. In Monaco 2007 there was a moment when Alonso was vulnerable if the team had switched strategies, but he always felt he had it under control Beyond that, I never said Alonso got better strategies

      1. ElChiva says:

        What a classy way to dodge the question James :)

        quote

        You wrote in F1 racing that Lewis received the best strategies over Fernando. Do you think Mclaren favoured Lewis in 2007?
        Was Fernando fairly treated by British media?

        quote again

        I never said Alonso got better strategies

        I must learn to read between lines…

  35. El Shish says:

    All seem a bit silly do SD’s comments. It’s fair enough and understandable to talk up the abilities of Alonso. However, it does seem a little childish to claim he’s better than a recently departed driver who, by all accounts, served the team well and always spoke well of the team. Even worse is him making excuses for Fernando at Mclaren. You must have chatted with him a few times, Fernando isn’t 17 and insecure is he?

  36. James H. says:

    Ferrari, intentionally or not, have marginalized Massa’s role in the team. They have made it clear that Massa, like Kimi, is not capable of developing a car, even with Michael’s expertise. Alonso is team number one. Period. I wish the Ferrari higher ups would do their talking on the track, not in the press. Their negotiation leaks made any contract for Raikkonen in 2010 virtually impossible. Predictable, financially stupid, and maybe a just cause for litigation.

  37. Hephaestus says:

    There is one thing I just don’t understand.
    How can a driver bring one second per lap to a car just by himself? Does Alonse have some special engineering skills.
    While I think every champion needs to hate loosing so that they can push themselves to the limit, alonso can become bitter when he just can’t beat his opponent.
    I remember a race in Montreal where he grew impatient behind fisichela and wanted the team to give him the order to let him pass.
    Eventually he crashed the car.
    When Lewis started beating him, he blamed Mclaren.
    Mclaren just hired him and spent millions to get him only to favour a rookie.
    Alonso is probably a great driver.
    But he doesn’t have a great sense of honour.
    As for ferrari, coming out with such declarations is not worthy of a team that plays a major role in f1.
    When I see the level of comments made about the new teams, I’m not surprised though.
    If they don’t win next year, those comments will come back to haunt them.

    1. Maria Felix says:

      It probably will, cant see how Ferrari will cure their engine fuel efficiencies, and there is no guarantee that starting early can get a good car out of the box. Brawn is one exception in many years. Renault tried it twice in 2008 and 2009 and failed miserably.

      Ferrari and Stefano need to shut up and concentrate on their own cars.

  38. Michael S says:

    Ross Brawn said last year that drivers don’t develop cars in modern F1…. I think he is right. If Ferrari is fast next year how can Alonso get any credit? He cannot even test until February…. The car is done being designed as we speak. of course Alonso will look good considering Ferrari stopped work on the F60 by Hungary.

    I also think this is all sour grapes from Ferrari who are paying Kimi $17 mill Euros to do nothing

    1. ElChiva says:

      read the top story, they wanted a long term leader and a key piece of the clockwork, and hired the best they could find

  39. John says:

    Didn’t Ted Kravitz write about McLaren engineers still speaking with awe about Kimi’s exceptional development skills – basically he would drive a few laps, come back and tell in a very few words what to change, go out again and be faster. They raved about his precise feedback, if that doesn’t help development, I am not sure what does. As for him not being good in a bad car, please, give me a break Stefano or go watch the last third of 2009 when you stopped developing the car. I hope Ferrari finds their match with Alonso to their liking and leaves Kimi out of this.

    1. Kimi4Life says:

      Many people at McLaren still love Raikkonen; in many ways he’s the perfect McLaren driver.
      For a team that grounds their engineering in pure mathematics and physics, to have an unemotional, repetitive – almost robotic – driver in the car is much easier than having a man who is inconsistent and variable.

      You’ll never be able to prove anything with an inconsistent driver, because you’ll never know if what you’re changing on the car is working.

      McLaren engineers still talk with wonder about Raikkonen’s consistent lap times. He was so good, they say, because he would come back to the pits, say what was wrong, they would fix it and he would go out and go faster. Simple.

      Team boss Martin Whitmarsh, who values his engineers’ opinions highly, wouldn’t rule out employing Raikkonen again when asked on Saturday afternoon.

    2. Maria Felix says:

      Ditto they are just sore that people clearly see Santander owning Ferrari with a pair of strings.

  40. FAster says:

    How do you feel Alonso & Massa will get on James?

    Personaly I think things will be ok, Alonso over the two years following 2007 has matured tremendously.

    And while he and Hamilton are not exactly best friends there is a video circling on youtube of Hamilton braking down on the drivers parade lap when they wave to the fans and Alonso courteously sharing his car with Hamilton, it was a nice gesture.

    But next year I guess we will see what happens, but I guarantee the media will try their very best to make stories out of nothing.

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ve posted on this quite a bit before, take a look

  41. piotr says:

    As much as I can read into Domenicali’s words, it is more of a judgement of both driver’s manifested interest in developing process, than their real ability to develop the car along with the engineers.

    Why does Domenicali voice such a naive opinion? It looks to me like he simply wants to put some of the blame for Ferrari’s disastrous season on departing Kimi’s shoulders. If driver’s input into the car development during the season was of such importance, than how on earth Raikkonen was able to bag the title in 2007, having been so reluctant to any technical involvement?

    But the main question for me is, how valuable input driver can offer to engineering team in terms of car development? Fisichella’s case can definitely prove, that it is of huge importance in regards to tailoring the car’s set-up up to each driver’s likening, and as such can only prove that Massa’s (and perhaps partially also Raikkonen’s) input was strong enough to make Fisi’s live quite difficult to re-tune the car within only few rounds of 2009 season. Lets not forget, that the very same Fisichella was breathing down Raikkonen’s neck all the way through the Spa Grand Prix in theoretically weaker car of Force India, which was more of a tailor-made car for him than Massa’s Ferrari, biased by late adjustments of Luca Badoer.

    This situation reminds me a bit of the pianist stool that is being adjusted carefully by each and every musician for good few minutes before their recital. One would say, there’s not much to adjust there, but yet Formula One’s world of narrow specialization of the highest technical level leaves probably very similarly narrow range of self-adjustment for the driver. What makes a different is the instrument. Pretty much the same for each pianist but only theoretically the same for only two drivers within each team.

    When Domenicali says “(…) if the car needs to be developed and the team fired up, Alonso is better.” he more or less proves, that it is highly dependent on driver’s charisma or/and level of demonstrated self-involvement into car development to inspire the engineering team rather than provide technical solutions.

    If only Raikkonen could have that diplomatic and political skills that Alonso uses with such success he would be leaving the sport with more than one world championship title under his belt right now. But still, would we all be still love and cheer him to the same extend as we do now despite his introversion? Introversion of the “strong, silent type” …

    1. RON says:

      Kimi’s title was a result of FIA fraud… Ferrari were celebrating their 60th Anniversary in F1 – so there was no way in hell that anyone but Ferrari would be allowed to win the WCC and WDC… Kimi was a free rider, exactly like Button… the FIA disgust me with these fake WDCs… the standard of these two WDCs is the worst in the history of the sport… just look at how the top teams are treating them… they barely have the respect of a second rate driver… so much for their WDC credentials…

  42. Kakashi says:

    Offtopic: James, I saw Schumaker’s odds for winning next season at 8/1 on a betting website.. does that mean he will be back in F1?

    1. " for sure " says:

      No, it means a bookmaker wants to take your money with you having no hope of winning!

  43. Bison says:

    I’ve always suspected Kimi is an overrated underachieving driver l’m glad someone in the paddock finally spilled the beans on him. What does his fans have to say about this? And NO, F1 won’t miss him. All the talk about wanting a championship winning Mclaren car was just rubbish to hide his shortcomings why must Lewis develop a car for him, he must do his own mileage.

    As for Alonso, James what does he mean his relationship wasn’t always correct with Lewis l remember in 2008 he said something contrary to that. In fact he was one of the first drivers to congratulate LH on his championship victory citing his differences were only with the McLaren team and Ron in a press conference prior to the Brazilian GP. I guess he had to make up another lie to fit in with Ferrari….for him it’s habit, for Ferrari it’s part of their heritage l can excuse them. Why does he continue to misrepresent his Mclaren days would one of the journalists quiz him on that?

    Maybe Massa will whip him next year so the truth can finally come out about him as well, l sure hope so. At least his no1 status is confirmed this time around l wonder if they will be asked to slow Massa down which is something Mclaren failed to do back in 2007…. good luck Massa.

  44. Brace says:

    Kimi’s fans have to come to terms with the fact that if teams like Ferrari and McLaren think there are at least 4 better drivers on the grid then Kimi, than perhaps he isn’t really that good. He was great in his early McLaren years but even in 2006 he became a bit disinterested and that’s a driver Ferrari had for 3 years.

    1. rockie says:

      i think brace u’ve gotten ur comment wrong as in 2006 maclaren had a crapy car and it broke down everywhere so saying he was not interested is so wrong

  45. Chris says:

    It is Toni Vilander that said those comments not Wilander..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toni_Vilander

  46. Carlos says:

    I think it is totally wrong for Dominicalli to point the finger at the drivers and to ignore that he is the one leading the team. He is very busy blaming the last driver to win a championship (and a race) for Ferrari, and is putting all the hopes for the new season in only ONE of their drivers (nice way to put Massa down by the way).
    I was thinking that (fortunately) Alonso didn’t move to Brawn; otherwise everybody will be given HIM all the credit for the excellent car they had this year. Funnily enough, nobody praises Jenson or Rubens for the same feat, and Dominicalli is just paving the way for Alonso to do the same thing in Ferrari.

    I thought that at Ferrari the team was first than the driver, but apparently, Dominicalli in his efforts to please the newcomer, is putting the driver ahead of everyone else. I doubt Massa likes it and, more importantly, if they don’t start very strong next season, I would like to see how the “great developer” that Alonso is would take it: Of course, it will not be his fault, he is the newbie there.

    Honest question here: what is Dominicalli trying to do by placing all the attentions in Alonso, and painting Massa as the #2 in the process? He claims that he is not making the mistakes McLaren did but, in my opinion, he has just started…

  47. Kevin@junctiongarbage.com says:

    I don’t know who the better driver of the two is. My guess is they are probably within 0.1% of each other.

    But for Stefano to not look bad in the next two seasons, Alonso has to bring home the WDC. Any bickering between their two drivers and any intra-team power grabs with no WDCs will probably be the end for Stefano.

    I think Kimi will enjoy the atmosphere of rally and I doubt he will return if he has a hint of success. The drivers in rally seem relaxed even when everything they are driving for is on the line. Everyone seems to have a “s**t happens” attitude.

  48. RON says:

    Got to agree with Ferrari on this one…

    Kimi is useless at communicating, and driving on the limit… without any kind of useful verbal or engineering data, the engineers have diddly squat to work with…

    Kimi is also a great demotivator – it must be hell to work with such deadwood… I for one would lose my rag working with such an underachiever…

    McLaren knew this too, and opted to go with Button, because at least he could say good morning…

    1. Maria Felix says:

      Probably thats why many Mclaren engineers worship Kimi.

      Your insight is staggering and amazing!… are you also an Engineer?

  49. Sam says:

    I think what he actually meant is that drivers like MS or Alonso are more pro-active.

    In the face of adversity, they would sit down with their troops, talk to them, motivate them, like those leaders that you see in ancient war films.

    I don’t think their technical skills are better than engineers’ but I can imagine they would ask questions on regular basic. They can probably describe exactly what they want from most of the components of the car.

    Kimi, on the other hand, is more of a passive guy and a listener. He doesn’t talk.
    It’s like “do you like ice-cream?” Yes…
    “What favor you want?” …………..anything
    It’s not his fault that he has that sort of personality.

    It is a shame that his personality doesn’t always suit with F1 when his driving does.

  50. Fuchsia says:

    Kimi departed Ferrari with grace. SD should show KR the same courtesy. SD has no right to complain that Kimi does not develop the car. Would he have listened and acted on it promptly? e.g. SD overruled Stella and Kimi’s tyre decision in Bahrain this year. Last year, Kimi informed SD that the front suspension was not working well for him and SD didn’t have it changed until Monza.

    Who says KR is hopeless in developing the car?

    Ferrari’s head designer Nick Tombazis -08:
    “Working with Kimi is easy. Kimi speaks a little but everything he says is important. The whole team appreciates Kimi’s contribution when it comes to testing. ”

    Chris Dyer -09:
    - Kimi gives a very specific description of the way the car behaves and he reacts very sharply to the changes we make to the car. You can’t ask for more.

    Andrea Stella to Turun Sanomat in endseason 2009:
    – When I was Michael’s data engineer I always had to tell him exactly how he could drive faster in different corners according to the computer. With Kimi you don’t need advice like this. He finds the solutions himself.

    1. Maria Felix says:

      Excellent excerpts there, much needed to show some who blindly buy into these anti-Kimi bandwagons.

  51. lip_iceman says:

    I don’t remember Todt coming out with comments like this. Ferrari should rein in this type of thing because it will surely hurt them – critising ex-drivers (publicly) is unprofessional. The Raikkonen years: 2007, 2008 constructors championships went to Ferrari. 2009 was lost to unimaginative design – if you stripped the F2008 of its aero appendages and slapped on FIA 2009 spec wings, you get the F60.

    Alonso might be better at communicating with engineers and making them feel all warm and fuzzy, but at the end of it, the driver doesn’t sit with the design pen (read computer mouse).

  52. AlexD says:

    I was a huge Kimi supporter and I need to say that I wish he could stayed with Ferrari….or could go to McLaren. What I did not like about him was the moment when he went for a coce and the ice cream….that showed me something.

  53. Rich C says:

    Just more pointless BS from Ferrari. The little dogs run their mouths following the example of their Big Dog.
    They should just shut up and drive.

  54. bond007 says:

    Hi James,

    I am really big fan of Alonso, just the fact that he out scored schumi makes him to my top of the list. But do you really think hes that bad, i mean about all the was written abt him during his mclaren’s days? … wats your opinion?…. i think coz he went against a british team… his reputation took a beating…..coz british media targeted him….. As insider whats your opinion?…. i am asking coz i am assuming you are neutral at least from what i ve been following till now…

  55. Nikhil says:

    Domenicali’s theory that Kimi is good only in a competitive car is is a bit amateurish. SD has a loss of memory or has memory of good times 2008 (which is really bad for a team principal). Its only 2 months since 2009 season finished where Kimi exibited supreme talent got incredible results in Ferrari F60(Fisi proved it).

    SD needs to watch again SPA victory before making such comments. He is contradicting himself cause he himself said he will never speak bad about kimi.
    Reply With Quote

  56. Paul Leeson says:

    Alonso may well be better on the development side, butu as has been asked above, how the hell can domenicali know that other than the hearsay of others ?.

    I’m no McLaren fan but I cant help noticing they haven’t all of a sudden claimed that Button is the best thing since sliced bread simply because they’ve signed him, Fawning over their newly signed drivers is a Ferrari trait, or to put it another way every incoming driver is proclaimed be “what we need”, see what I did there ? Trait or, traitor.

    I think what James says is about right, tittle tattle, worthless, but worthy of being noted, and I can see them being noted, repeated, and quoted endlessly over the coming season, apparently Alonso has singlehandedly developed a rattle that has such aero efficiency it will travel 7/10ths of a mile further than anyone elses when he tosses it out of his pram.

  57. Dave Cameron says:

    I’d just like to draw attention to the fact that Domenicali actually stated that Kimi is unbeatable in a perfect car, but when the car needs development and the team needs a kick up the arse, he wasn’t much use.

    Based on that line of argument I completely agree with his assessment of Alonso vs Kimi. You can tell by both their history and their personalities that Alonso is more one to work with mechanics and enthuse them. Kimi tries his best to avoid anything outside of driving the car.

    As I said in my earlier post, McLaren preferred that approach (just go and drive the car), I suspect Williams would too but they’d get frustrated by his lack of personality.

    Lets face it, Ferrari always needed a replacement to Schumi as a team leader/figurehead. Massa was slowly growing into that role in 2009, Kimi never even got close. And that’s why Ferrari dumped him.

  58. Tarek says:

    James, how successful do you think Kimi was in his 3 years at Ferrari, and do you think that, given similar circumstances, Alonso could create greater success? In other words, do you think Ferrari have made the right choice? (I know you might say “let’s wait and see”, but what I would really like here is an “educated guess” on your part :))

  59. Colin says:

    Im sure Alonso is better at that role Ferrari crave, but I wonder if letting Raikkonen go and paying him all that money is worth it? Championship, 3rd place, and 6th place. I know that attitude, and for lack of a better word openess within the team is important in the Latin/Italian work environment within Ferrari, but Kimi’s results were hardly terrible, in fact he performed amazing when team made him #1.
    On the other hand Alonso back at Reno hardly did too much impressive, this is the team that made him double WDC. Two wins in 2008 1 being fixed the other screwed with by the FIA and first corner sillyness. Fisi was beaten soundly by both Alonso and Raikkonen, so im not sure if paying Raikkonen is worth the money. Time will tell.

  60. Alias says:

    Why cant Domenicali just praise Alonso for his development skills and the good driver that he is, without having to involve Kimi’s name? The first time he said it, it was understandable in a way, but this have now properly been the 4th time that he has repeated these same words.

    Development work is hardly important these days when you consider that the drivers will only have 8 days of testing this year, and Alonso haven’t actually even tested the car as yet. It is up to the engineers first and foremost to design a fast car.

    Both Andrea Stella and Chris Dyer, who have worked closely with Kimi, have some real admiration and respect for him. There must be some reason for that.

    Sometimes I get the inclination that Stefano himself perhaps doesn’t always understand the technical side of F1, if you look more closely at his comments sometimes. For example the comment that Kimi isn’t good when car isn’t fast, when at the same time the Ferrari engineers themselves praised Kimi’s efforts in the slow F60.

    It is a team managers job to lead the team, it shouldn’t fall to the driver. If there is one thing that Ferrari could have learned from Kimi, it is, that it’s better to rather remain silent sometimes.
    Ferrari have stopped development on the F60 already in August this year. Everyone will expect them to have a very good car next year, and especially now that they have stated how impressed they have been so far by Alonso’s development skills. So their real test will come in Bahrain, if the car isn’t a winning car, then the Italian and the Spanish press will rip into them. In fact there might not even be so much action between Alonso and Massa, it could also turnout to be a war between Ferrari and the Spanish press. Or perhaps Stefano’s plan is to hold Kimi’s development skills responsible, if the car doesn’t turnout to be fast enough.

    James, it is Tony Vilander with a “V”, if I recall correctly.

    1. ElChiva says:

      “Development work is hardly important these days when you consider that the drivers will only have 8 days of testing this year”

      Precisely becouse of that…

      It is no only important, but CRITICALLY important to have the best feedback money can buy.

      Again : designers design and then improve their design based on telemetry and driver’s feedback.

      Let’s imagine one team design a car and they pull out of the championship next day, do you really think the original design would be improved on the drawboard if that car is not raced? what about if somebody races it and doesn’t give any feedback? will it become faster?

      please…

      1. Alias says:

        That is why race engineers use telemetry, as long as the driver drives the car they can obtain the data.

        All the racing engineers I have ever spoken to have always maintained steadfastly that, driver feedback isn’t really important, it is more like an invention from the press. And because I have heard the same thing more then once now, I tend to believe the engineers. Most of the time the drivers apparently doesn’t even know what exactly is being tested. In fact what most engineers have said, is that they just want a driver to answer yes and no to their questions, if they ask any questions that is. It would be an engineer’s dream to just plug drivers in like robots and get on with it, apparently. But unfortunately for them that is impossible, because drivers are human after all.

        In a sense a driver and an engineer are often working towards different goals. An engineer just wants to make the car faster. While a driver’s job is to make the car comfortable and predictable, the driver is obviously the one who has to drive the car for two hours in extreme conditions, with heat, downforce and the challenges of the specific track. So a driver’s first and most important priority is to make the car as comfortable as possible to be able to drive for that two hours. Comfort and speed doesn’t always act as a parallel science. Therefore when it comes to development an engineer will rather trust the data.

        When designers, designs parts for the car they dont just design anything and hope that it works. They design and plan parts with a specific goal in mind, and they can test it for themselves, and truly establish whether that part conforms to that specific goal. A car is also usually fundementally slow or fast out of the box, without any real driver input. The only team that have really managed to turn their car around during a season after a bad start to the season in the last couple of years, have been Mclaren. And Mclaren are notorious for not actually “relying” on driver feedbeck. This season is a good example, without any testing they have managed to improve their car significantly.

        Dont get me wrong, I am sure Alonso obviously know a thing or two. But the truth according to the engineers is that they just dont actually need it, generated data are much more reliable then the advise of another human being. All these stories about feedback have been hugely over played, especially in the last couple of years with the huge improvements in technology and less testing on the track.

      2. Segedunum says:

        “It is no only important, but CRITICALLY important to have the best feedback money can buy.”

        Unless you can cite examples of what that feedback is from the driver side then I’m afraid you’re talking about nothing.

        The engineers develop, with the driver not knowing the specifics of what’s going on, look at the telemetry first and then ask the driver – and the driver needs to get to the specifics of what is working, what’s not and what’s happening in a few words as possible. The telemetry will tell you more than the driver will. It is merely up to the driver to correct things as he is the one who decides where he points the car.

        It’s that simple. Alonso isn’t going to come in and perform magic tricks in that sense.

  61. Chris says:

    Pathetic…

    Domenicalli is certainly a bad team leader, blaming an ex-employee. I wonder what does this do for team spirit. I am a ferrari fan, but I wish he had learned more from Jean Todt on what team means. I agree with you James that his words may come back to haunt him.

    Going in the comment itself, a driver needs to be communicative, but he can not replace the engineers in development work. However what a good driver can do is to help with the right set up during a practise session, which under the current rules is minimal, thus minimal is also the output of the driver. The only thing that Alonso will surely do better than Kimi is that he will visit the factory and motivate more the rest of the team, but the benefits are difficult to quantify.

    Lets wait for the season to see what Alonso can deliver. I hope more than Kimi

    1. ElChiva says:

      On the other hand I dont see any blame whatsoever laid on Kimi’s lap. All i read is the reasoning behing the decision… as explained to Kimi fans on the other hand it very much marries with kimi’s statements in suzuka

  62. Frankie Allen says:

    Domenicali may well think he has answer about what happened between Alonso and Hamilton. Going back to Benneton, with Alonso going postal because he was out qualified by Trulli, is more of a marker. Alonso is a clever guy and realises he would never get away with that at Ferrari, so I would expect everything to be under wraps. Just like fledglings in a nest, I can see Massa getting gradually edged to the side if Alonso does not get his perceived share.

    Domenicali is right about Kimi, but I fail to understand the logic in making it public? Not the sort of thing I associate with Domenicali, so wondering what has brought this about? That is the down side with Kimi, but what ever is going on around him, you can take him out of the box and he will do a first class job for you. No histrionics, no politics, just a natural racer.

    1. mvi says:

      I think you mean Alonso’s early days at Renault rather than Benetton, as Renault had already bought it.

  63. Kimi4Life says:

    Domenicalli is incomeptent. McLaren engineers knows the real deal. Anyway, how Domenicalli knows Alonso is good developer when he sees him first time in his time.? Unbelievable.

    1. ElChiva says:

      so they just met yesterday? oh wait they have been sharing paddok for a few years now…

      Facepalm

      1. Kimi4Life says:

        First time in his team, and didn’t even sit in the car.

  64. Racehound says:

    soz Dale…I wasnt answering your post m8, i clicked reply on yours as i forgot to use the empty reply box! ;)

  65. KRf1 says:

    Stefano’s comments about Kimi are totally not required at this point . I can understand the praise for Alonso as he is coming into the team . But there was no need to criticise Kimi . He parted company like a gentleman without saying a word against ferrari and here we have the Team principal induldging in such immature comments .
    At Spa 2009 he definetly didnt have a “winning car ” and he was perfect and he won . Alonso might be better at devolopment but he dosent need to be compared to the driver that has just parted peacefully with the team who have broken his contract .
    Regards

  66. Charles Kane says:

    I am a bit new to F1 so this Dominical person

    how many WDCs has been won under his lead

    and how many were won under Jean Todt’s lead?

    1. Brace says:

      Well, actually, he won 1 constructors out of 2 seasons which is very good achievement.

    2. rpaco says:

      zero vs lots

  67. hans joergen stroem says:

    of course domenicali and the scuderia team have to find good arguments for the dicision to boot Kimi. but the ferrari team leaders inclding De Montezemolo have been talking a lot of crap recently. about the third car on the grid. about the new teams being nothing more some F3 teams, and more. it looks to me as some kind of a cover up. now they blame Kimi for not being able to drive a not so good car. hey, look what he did with the F60 the second half of this years season. I do not think anyone else including schumi and alonso have done much better. and, I find it utterly peculiar that they expected Kimi to come into the team and drag them along, as a kind of mentor, or another schumi if you like. they should have known him, he was not a stranger to anyone in the F1 community. in 2007 already everybody should know his character. in fact he has been in F1 since 2001. what kind of a leader is Domenicali though? he is the team prinsipal, he is the one who should lead the team, and make the team adapt to new conditions, including new drivers with very different character. the team and the team leader should be adaptive and find a new way of working together successfully with Kimi.
    of course the driver must do his best to adapt also. I believe that instead, the put focus on Massa, vey much helped by the fact that he had his own private “babysitter” in the team in a person called michael schumacher. I belive that the fact that schumi was around was destructive, for Kimi, and very helpful for Felipe. felipe had his own “lobbyist”, Kimi did not have anyone to influence the team to his advantage.

  68. Peter says:

    Excuse me, but motivating the team is first and foremost the task of the Chief Executive or the manager in any business and sport. For developing the car they have hundreds of engineers employed. I agree that Alonso is a more complete package, but Kimi is the ultimate and fastest driver who needs a different approach and you can win multiple WChs. But, of course, its again it should have been the team managers task to find the way to Kimi as did Todt and Haug before. Sorry Mr Domenicali but this is just an excuse from you.

    1. ElChiva says:

      not an excuse, a reason

      1. Segedunum says:

        Not it’s an excuse because there is no reason for Domenicali to say this now unless he’s under some tremendous pressure.

  69. Peter says:

    By the way, how about the team`s plenty of critical errors during the last two years?

  70. Janet says:

    Alonso undoubtedly will do well at Ferrari. No doubt about that. He has the mentality and the cohones to deal well there. The question is how will Massa respond. It will be interesting. However, I don’t follow why SD feels compelled to make these mean spirited comments. I don’t believe this car development crap one bit. It’s no big secret that Kimi is a bit of a introvert. Why is this such a surprise? Yes, Kimi wasn’t driving at his best for some of the past 3 years. But he did win the 2007 title, helped secure the 2008 constructors, and helped Ferrari save face by pulling them to 4th in the constructors, while his teammates could not finish in the points. Yes, he was not at his flying best, but did anyone consider that the car had issues as well? Did his overall performances warrant getting fired? I think its more of Raikkonen not fitting the Ferrari image. I guess he wasn’t italian enough for them. After all, Schumi even learnt to speak the language. He adapted to the culture, whereas Kimi stayed true to himself.
    Shame that it has come down to this….

    1. Silverstoned says:

      Spot on.
      Let us remember that for Alonso to do as well as The Iceman [as well, not better] he must win his first race for the Scuderia and be champion in his first year.
      If he can achieve that he will deserve to be saluted as a great champ for Ferrari.
      It might just be that pigs will fly first. Fat ones, in swimsuits…

      [hope this is not deleted like my previous comment. Did I say something amiss?]

      [

    2. Tarek says:

      It’s not that Kimi was really “fired”. He just had to make way for a guy who Ferrari believe is a better driver.

    3. ElChiva says:

      Some forget the fact that Ferrari wanted ALO in 2008 and Matias executed the unilateral clause on his contract to stay in ferrari. that is the reason ALO always went for year-on-year contracts after 2007

  71. fenman says:

    yes, Alonso up all-night with the lathe and milling-machine developing the tuned-mass damper.

    Fernando started seasons with a great Renault out the box, which got relatively speaking slower as the year went on. His Mclaren was designed and built 6 months before he sat in it, it flew on the first outing, his 6-tenths not required. He has spent two years back in a day-glo Renault, developing, and it’s got worse if anything.

    (I’m a neutral, but from my point of view, d’you Alonso fans want to know who is a genuine development driver, and you are not gonna like it, Lewis Hamilton.
    The mid-season Hockenheim switch-on of the MP4-23 and the 2-and-a-half seconds develpoment of the 24. If I wanted someone to steadily and securely lead my car’s develpoment, I know who I’d choose).

    Fernando has now tried to bring the roof down on his last two teams, third time lucky? Domenicali should be rightly concerned about this latest Luca gamble.
    What does Massa think about Alonso being tagged as ‘the leader we never had’, to be given the Schumi role, does that extend to the Schumi preferential treatment?

    Ferrari then unceremoniously bundled Schumacher out the door when young Kimi caught their eye. They then terminated Kimi as soon as the Santander cheque cleared. I see Alonso’s people have already been given Schumi’s head on a plate by getting him sacked from his F1 consultancy (whatever that was)…

    … If we are talking about a team that goes big on the betrayal business and the inequitable treatment of drivers, then Ferrari have a lot of nerve trying to pump the “Poor Little Asturian, Harshly Mistreated by Evil Ron” line around here. Anyone with their head screwed on straight aint buying it much.

    I do fear for Stefano though, who seems a genuinely decent bloke. He reminds me of those football managers that get sacked after the chairman buys his own players and tries to pick the team and formation.
    The volatile petulance of Alonso, added to already highly stressed post-Schumi/Todt tectonic political-factions within Maranello, Stefano will be the one, wrongly, taking the blame if and when the wheels do fall-off.
    (What, you expect Luca or Fernando to hold their hands-up?)

    No wonder he is spinning hard, talking-up Fernando as if his job depended on it.

    1. ElChiva says:

      Did not McLaren paid Renault 1 millio euros to have a test with ALO in dec 06? I have pics mate…

      1. fenman says:

        As we saw this year, competitive F1 cars take 5 wind-tunnels, 3 seperate development tracks, and 12 months to design and refine. Sitting in a car for the first time, be it in Dec or a few weeks later in Jan, the die is already cast.

        The car’s performance out the box is nothing to do with a driver’s development skill or leadership ability.
        What we are talking about is what direction the car goes in after he has had his seat fitting.

        Possesion of the Schumacher-esque temprament to motivate, galvanise and drive a team to go the extra yard for you in search of performance.
        The question is, is Alonso capable of building the garage and factory around him like that; or will the toys go out the pram, waving fists at the Ferrari pit-lane, skulking-off back to play cards in the Renault motorhome, when he is beaten by a team-mate?

        Let’s see if any of his McLaren experience has helped him mature, to make a better job of it this time around.

      2. ElChiva says:

        Also may I freely quote Mr. Brawn? we’ll wait for ALO until 1st jan 2009?

        for you haters it means, we spent a zillion in the car but we need a real driver to tell us what to do after…

      3. Segedunum says:

        “Possesion of the Schumacher-esque temprament to motivate, galvanise and drive a team to go the extra yard for you in search of performance.”

        Yer. Schuamacher felt that was working so well for him at Ferrari for the first four years that he was willing to jump ship to McLaren while Adrian Newey was running them in development circles. It was only when they got on top of things development wise that results dramatically improved.

        The whole ‘galvanise, motivate’ etc. soundbites sound nice, but unfortunately it is all rather overplayed.

    2. Maria Felix says:

      Hamilton the development driver?! XD Dont make me laugh, if you are looking for a career in stand up comedy there are better ones to come up with that is genuinely funny and not naive or foolish.

      The Mclaren was always been about strong engineering, and its the engineers plus massive money thrown into the MP4-24 recovery that turned things around.

      1. ElChiva says:

        amen

      2. fenman says:

        Always with the personal insults, there is a very clear and distinct reason why Alonso fanboys and girls are so universally disliked on message boards and blogs, you are doing nothing to change that with your snide and disrepectful attitude to fellow commenters.

        But let me get this straight. If the 24 had stayed at the back, it would be because Hamilton cannot develop a car (or setup a car if Alonso is his team-mate), but if the car improves, it is only because of the engineers … so there is precisely no way for Lewis to win, that is all too convenient.

        Your agenda is painfully transparent here.

        When Domenicali talks about a leader, he is talking about someone who inspires the factory to pull out all the stops, to not rest, until the car is winning again.
        The unprecedented efforts of the McLaren workforce this year were in the service of such a leader. That is exactly what Stefano is talking about when he says Schumacher; whether you like Lewis or not is not the issue, I am saying he has put himself at the heart of the McLaren team, to push and motivate.
        Technicians pulling 36hour shifts to get components to track doesn’t happen by itself.
        If it looks like the driver doesn’t care, then why should the factory.

        We still need to see if Alonso can do what both Schumi and Lewis have done, to unite and inspire a team to go to such lengths. The jury is still out.

  72. Jean says:

    My opinion: “Ferrari needs someone similar to Todt.”

    Poor Massa. If Ferrari needs a Schumacher-clone to save them, that means they don´t rate Massa very high at the first place.

    1. Dale says:

      Massa’s loved by Ferrari as he is seen as a great team member and they know he’ll always do his best for the team

  73. Relativity says:

    Domenicalli thinks that what Ferrari need is a replacement for Schumi. Does he think that Ross Brawn and Todt were inconsequential to Ferrari success in the Schumi era? I think the whole team was top notch in those days, not just Schumi.

    Blaming a badly engineered car on the lack of development by drivers is bad management. I fear Ferrari is going backwards to the days before Schumi when they had to wait 21 long years after Scheckter’s WDC.

    Someone should tell Domenicalli that trying to find a replacement for Schumi (or Senna, pick any other name) is a futile exercise. Alonso is Alonso, not Schumi. Hamilton is Hamilton, not Schumi. There is no other Schumi so stop looking for that.

    Motivating a team and moving the development direction of a car is the job of the management. And in all of this, they forget to mention Massa. More than anything, this comment to worry Massa.

    1. ElChiva says:

      “moving the development direction of a car is the job of the management”

      NO it is not, they dont drive they dont design, they dont run a windtunnel 24/7!!! they dont know a damn thing about how the car feels when pushed to the limit!!!

      Their job is to ensure that the development happens and is delivered on time

      1. Relativity says:

        Sorry, will have to disagree with you on this. The primary task of the drivers is to extract the most performance out of a car. During testing, drivers can and do provide feedback to the team regarding what feels good or what does not. That is to say, does the driver feel the same improvement that 10,000 hours of CFD simulation say should happen? The driver is part of a feedback loop, nothing more.

        There are hundreds of specialists working on a car using CFD, FEA and the wind tunnel to name just a few tools. It’s their primary task to improve a car’s performance using all the tools at their disposal. The development of the 2010 car started in March 09 for most teams. The teams at that time did not even know who would be driving the car for them next year at that time.

        The driver is just one tool or one variable in the toolbox available to the teams. It is important that a car suit a driver’s driving style. Some drivers prefer oversteering, understeering or neutral cars and they will extract the most out of a car if it suits their style. In F1, the driver is just one of the tools at the teams disposal.

  74. Zac says:

    Alonso inspires his engineers where as Kimi never did that much is clear. and for a fact the F60 wasn’t at all a bad car, it was the poor teammates who made Kimi look good. massa was ahead on points before his crash. Domenicali is well within his rights to let alonso know what is required from him and his comments about Kimi have been said by him before. Face it Kimi fans, he’s a pale of the racer he once was, Ferrari didn’t want him, McLaren didn’t want him and mercedes didn’t want him. rally will suite him and his legions of fanboys and girls.

    1. Dale says:

      McLaren would have gladly taken him but not at any cost.
      If Kimi really wanted a chance to win another F1 title he’d have taken his chance of driving for Ferrari again, fact is he didn’t, his heart is no longer in F1.

    2. Maria Felix says:

      Umm one problem there though Kimi utterly destroyed Massa at Hungary 2009 even before the spring hit Massa and severely injured him.

      Your point is no point at all. More ignorant rants.

      1. Kirsty says:

        The thing is he didn’t manage to “utterly destroy” his teammate often enough to justify his salary. Face it, Massa is a no.2, if you fail to put him in his place, you’re not good enough to be no.1 at Ferrari.

      2. Segedunum says:

        It works both ways. If you invest that much in a driver money-wise and you think he is that good then you need to invest in him. Ferrari never did, bizarrely even after he was World Champion. They always seemed more interested in Massa, and they succeeded in throwing away the 2008 championship as a result. They then sat back with their feet on the desk and had a go at Raikkonen when the results didn’t reflect their commitment to him.

  75. John Snow says:

    This is why I can never support Ferrari. Once everything is over they always have to come out with some backhanded remark to make sure they get the last word in on the subject.

    Just because they have been in F1 from the start (not that most of us care), they think they can be the playground bullies.

    1. ElChiva says:

      oh you cared to state a fact you dont care for :D

      1. Maria Felix says:

        Touche are you a sore Ferrari fan? It must be bad being asked how much part Santander and how much of the remaining is Ferrari fan every other time eh?

      2. ElChiva says:

        XD hi Maria

        sore ferrari fan? schumi springs to mind, that was the easy way out.

        No i’m not a ferrari fan, I just pay due respect to the most succesful team ever, and give them (SD) some due credit regarding their choice of drivers…
        They know about F1, the rest of us are muppets, opinioned muppets…

        As of Emilio’s involvement in this bussiness…

        google the facts (ALO signs for ML in 2005)

        and for those who can’t google…

        XD

  76. Gilraen says:

    Quote: “But perhaps they did not understand the Finn. His many fans certainly do; they appreciate his no-nonsense approach to racing and his refusal to complain or make excuses.” Exactly!! Domenicali should better keep his mounth shut and look at himself and his performance in stead of complaining about Kimi. Alonso? Talented. No doubt. But a second a lap at McLaren? Hmm… not sure of that at all. A bit full of himself, Alonso. Good luck Ferrari and Alonso.

    I’ll put my money on McLaren and Kimi!

  77. Silverstoned says:

    Can’t help feeling we should make a little bit of allowance for Domenicali because unlike his mates at Ferrari he has tried to be fair-minded in some of his comments about Kimi. I also think he genuinely has a great deal of respect for Kimi as a driver.

    However, the lack of warmth between them was clearly apparent at the podium ceremony in Spa in spite of the Kimster’s famous victory.
    James will know more than mere F1 nuts like us whether this is down to Kimi as much as SD; but Dom did not show up to congratulate his driver till he was about to exit the refreshments room to mount the podium. And even then he didn’t want to get too close….

  78. João Rodrigues says:

    Here are some quotes from Rob Smedley, Massa’s engineer:

    They’re sentiments echoed by Smedley, although he was more outspoken when asked about rivalry between the two Ferrari outfits. “Yes, of course there’s rivalry. It’s a sport, you can’t escape that. If I wasn’t pushing 100 per cent to get Felipe to win, even at the expense of Kimi, I wouldn’t be doing my job.” – http://www.topgear.com/content/features/stories/2007/06/stories/15/2.html

    It’s not difficult to see that there were some people in Ferrari that didn’t want Kimi to win. I am absolutely sure that neither Stella or Dyer as Kimi’s engineers or Kimi himself would do anything that would be prejudice Massa.

    1. ElChiva says:

      nonsense, you make it sound like “i wanted to sabotage kimi’s car even when Massa was hopeless for the win”.

      He only states that he wanted his side of the team to win or at least outperform the other red car.

    2. Kirsty says:

      Surely Smedley is talking about car development, I’m sure Kimi and his race engineer tried to influence the direction of development too.

  79. Qiang says:

    In many occasion of the last three seasons, Ferrari as a team let their drivers down, more so in some crucial moments.
    James, would like to hear your thoughts on who came up the idea to have an all Italian management after Ross left? I think that’s the root of all problems including the Nigel Stepney saga.

    1. James Allen says:

      It was part of a long term succession plan put in place by Montezemolo and Todt

  80. Zvonimir says:

    When Domenicali is talking about “replacing Schumacher” is this really an announcement of Schumi’s heading for Brawn!?

    1. ElChiva says:

      LOL what rock did you hide under in August 2006?

      1. Zvonimir says:

        WOW, I am not sure what I admire more – level of argument or the manners!

  81. Crom says:

    Some harsh comments here: remember James wrote this article based on comments which appeared in a German tabloid… keyword being “tabloid”

    Looks like the Auto Bild article referred to is:

    Ferrari braucht einen neuen Schumi – “Ferrari needs a new Schumi” (4th December)

    http://www.autobild.de/artikel/formel-1-2009_1019536.html

  82. monktonnik says:

    I think that if Ferrari really wanted a replacement for MSC then they picked the wrong guy, and I think that they should have realised that before they signed him.

    I can understand why Ferrari would want Alonso. Along with Hamilton he is the driver that has the gravitas within a team to make a difference to the motivation and always get 100% out of the package. I think that Massa has developed this to a certain extent, but what they are saying by employing Alonso rather than “promoting” Massa is that they feel that Felipe is not up to doing this in the future. This is interesting and it begs the question, why would they pay Kimi off when they could have got rid of Massa for free? They could have kept a fast driver who keeps his head down to drive alongside the “team leader” who would do all the development and be pushing the team forward. Now they will have the double world champion coming in and expecting number 1 status (I don’t care what anyone is saying in the press) and an established driver within the team who is going to feel as though he is being pushed out. Taking the emotions out of it, it is a poor decision operationally and financially.

    To be honest they bought a cat (in kimi) and are confused as to why he doesn’t bark. With Massa they are indicating that perhaps he doesn’t bark loud enough and now they want a bigger dog who is going to establish his superiority, and we all know how dogs achieve that don’t we :)

  83. FAster says:

    Becuase they stopped developing it observant

  84. El Shish says:

    Re-reading SD’s comments, it sounds like this is the precursor to them building a second seat in Fernando’s car maybe they can have somebody in the car to hold his hand

  85. Kimi4Life says:

    Here you go:

    Many people at McLaren still love Raikkonen; in many ways he’s the perfect McLaren driver.
    For a team that grounds their engineering in pure mathematics and physics, to have an unemotional, repetitive – almost robotic – driver in the car is much easier than having a man who is inconsistent and variable.

    You’ll never be able to prove anything with an inconsistent driver, because you’ll never know if what you’re changing on the car is working.

    McLaren engineers still talk with wonder about Raikkonen’s consistent lap times. He was so good, they say, because he would come back to the pits, say what was wrong, they would fix it and he would go out and go faster. Simple.

    Team boss Martin Whitmarsh, who values his engineers’ opinions highly, wouldn’t rule out employing Raikkonen again when asked on Saturday afternoon.

    Kimi not good developer? Said by who? [mod] Domenicalli? Wrong again.

  86. Nick Pauro says:

    I hope Kimi realises just how much passion he creates in racing circles because the crux of all this is that he just isnt as marketable as Alonso or Hamilton or Button for that matter…

    I really liked him at Ferrari and would rather they let him see the contract out…

    but we are talking millions here… Man Utd sold Beckham, Ronaldo… Milan sold Kaka… etc etc

    Alonso, moody though he sometimes seems to be is a Latin who will fit in well with Italian intrigue and posturing within the team… and he is THAT good… and winning is all that counts…

    align that potential with sponsors across a global audience in a global age and you have an element that no matter how raw and unique Kimi is, he just cannot match…

    I dont think the development side of things is perhaps that big a differential, but in the common perception Alonso trumps almost every current driver…. one only has to look at the emails and actions within Mclaren to see how much he was pushing development etc

    Can you imagine Kimi even writing an email??

    Roll on the Scuderia and good luck Kimi! Thank god your not in F1 next year to make Mr Domenicali wince!

    I do have to say I am having a few reservations beginning to grow up about that current Commandatore however….

  87. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

    If SD is saying this about Alonso, it’s clear who Ferrari intends to be their WDC challenger next year.

    1. ElChiva says:

      He didn’t have to say anything, it is written in their payslips

  88. Murray M says:

    Another point that I think is interesting is that if Schumacher does not do as the rumours say and go to merc and he does stay as a ferrari adviser then we should remember that Schumacher and Massa are good friends unlike Schumacher and Alonso

  89. Murray M says:

    And I think that Schumacher may have a small influence within the team

  90. Tim L says:

    WOW…my comment to strong…where is the post

  91. ani says:

    Whats the point ? -Alonso been doing set ups … Without actually driving the car ? Or he’s been setting up their 2010 contender driving the ‘italia’ and other cars .

  92. Camila says:

    Hi James,

    According to your article, I found one more reason, besides the bank money, why Ferrari(SD) would get rid of Raikkonen. It’s “He was hired by Jean Todt”. Each boss believes in more and support more the employee hired by himself. SD would like to set up his own kingdom and wants to have his “own” driver. I still remember Todt’s words that “we have never considered Alonso”. Few words as KR (no-nonsense approach to racing and refusal to complain or make excuses), he could be a good option to be the underdog of Ferrari’s internal political battle. Ferrari never fears he will play the role as Alonso played during the spy case. Do you agree?
    I will not miss Kimi next year as I will follow him to the WRC. I respect him more after this movement: brave – it’s harder to move from F1 to WRC than the vice versa; pure race attitude – even not think about take revenge on what Ferrari(SD) treat him. I will never say good luck to him as I believe in his talent (look back to his rookie year at Sauber and Rally Finland debut). On the contrast, I would like to say “good luck” to Ferrari(SD). Even Ron Denis can not handle Alonso and Hamilton, none can convince me that SD can handle Massa and Alonso.
    But I will still visit your blog :) and it’s better if more WRC information. Finally, pls don’t ignore my above question. Chao F1!

  93. RON says:

    I’m a fully qualified engineer, yes.

    No body worships Kimi except his blinded fans… if was any good at all, then Ferrari and McLaren would snap him up in an instance.

    Fact is, he demotivates an entire team, and can’t even beat Michael Schumacher’s side kick, Massa… that makes him a double side kick to Michael Schumacher…

  94. Alias says:

    Nick Pauro -”I hope Kimi realises just how much passion he creates in racing circles because the crux of all this is that he just isnt as marketable as Alonso or Hamilton or Button for that matter…”

    That doesn’t exactly add up, Kimi is a very popular driver. In fact he is much more popular then Alonso and Button. He was voted the second favourite driver behind Lewis in last year’s FIA survey. And google backs that up, the most searched for drivers according to google is Kimi and Lewis by quite a margin.
    Marketability obviously isn’t a predictable science otherwise Kimi wouldn’t be that popular. It should also be noted that Kimi has fans from all over the globe, in fact he has much more fans from places like China then from his own country.
    It is obvious that being popular means that you are marketable. Kimi is obviously not a good public speaker, but one thing he has got going for him, is the fact that he is very good looking, have you ever noticed how many female fans Kimi have? That is something that is marketable. While at the same time he also has an image of a bit of a rebel, and that sometimes appeals to the masses.

    It is interesting that you should mention, that you can’t see Kimi sending an email. On the Ferrari forum some of the moderators are in possession of the email addresses of some members in the Ferrari team, sometimes they forward support messages from the fans to the team members. At one time they forwarded emails to both Kimi and Felipe, and only Kimi replied back himself, it was a very short message thanking the fans for their support. But at least he did took the time out to do it personally. While felipe would rather just send messages through Rob Smedley.
    Just because someone isn’t a native English speaker or just because someone is perhaps a bit shy and not a good public speaker, doesn’t mean they are unintelligent or in this case unable to send an email.

    Red Bull have obviously spotted Kimi’s “hidden” marketability, I am sure they will be able to use it well with their image.
    Indeed it is already starting to bare fruit for WRC. Since it has been announced that Kimi will be driving in WRC next year, the WRC fanclub in facebook have already grown from 24 000 members to 80 000 members in 3 days.

    1. Femi Akiinz says:

      Alias,

      If Kimi were a movie, he’d be referred to as ‘critically acclaimed’. The movie afficionados love him but he doesn’t shake up the box office enough.

      1. hazrul says:

        I think you got it the other way round. Alonso would be the ‘critically acclaimed’ but Kimi would be the hit at the box office.

    2. Fausto Cunha says:

      That´s a great comment about Kimi.

    3. Peter says:

      Interesting comment and totally agree.

  95. Beka says:

    Alonso is Briatore product. Flavio was cleaning fernando’s way all the time. He could not even handle trulli in 2004 and briatore fired the later for seriously challenging alonso. I think fernando needs to prove a lot next year. He needs to pass the exam he had failed in 2007. Particularly his ability to handle competitive teammate and beat him in a fair battle because fisi, piquet and grojan are not one of them.

    1. Andrew says:

      Couldnt handle trulli in 2004? Wow, what happened in 2003, and button trounced him in 2002. let alone Alonso beating him cleanly in the second part of 2004.

      Facts need to be corrected there, no?

      1. Beka says:

        Trulli beat him in the first half of 2004. I remember some crybaby comments from alonso during that period. He was briatore boy who could always clear his way. Out of a sudden trullis relations with flavio started to diminish midseason 2004. Strange isnt it? Fernando needs to prove he is able of developing same performance in the competitive environment without patronage. Something he has not done yet.

    2. Philip T says:

      I’m a McLaren fan, and as such a Hamilton fan, but Alonso for all his whingeing in 2007 came within a race position of a third consecutive championship. Although he didn’t get on with the competitive teammate it’s not a bad failure is it?

  96. Andrew says:

    Ive read all the comments, and i have to laugh at most of them.

    Alonso didnt develop in 2006? Ok, the mass damper was removed and was worth what, 3 tenths of a second. How the hell did he manage to still be so fast, basically on the same pace as the R26 WITH the damper, if he isnt capable of developing and setting the car up better? Answer me that.

    Second, Alonso didnt develop the car in 2008? Drivers dont make the car, but was this not the same R28 that was over 1.3 seconds off the pace, to suddenly being 3 tenths? Maybe his 6 tenths was under what he can bring.

    2009, tell me, which drive got into the top ten with the worst car on the grid by the end of the season? He set 2 FASTEST LAPS. more than lewis, more than webber, more than barrichello, I think more than Button aswell. We know how bad that car was, but look at his performances in China, Spa and Hungary. Yes he grabbed pole, but unlike some, I wasnt delusional to the point where I thought he could win. I was hoping for a good 4-5 point haul. If he wasnt a fantastic driver, how would he be able to get that car to so many positions it shouldnt be in?

    Im british and support Alonso since his days in minardi when I was a young 11 year old picking my favourite colour car.

    So lets put it into perspective; Alonso develops cars, but lewis, cries over the radio that they should build him a new car because they cant expect him to win races (THIS IS IN THE OFFICIAL F1 2009 DVD REVIEW). Has alonso, EVER said that? NO. He grafted through all his career to build the car, and TEAM around him.

    everyone goes onabout the blackmail in 2007, but how do we know its true or false? We know nothing except what the ‘media’ tells us and whats allowed to be said.

    And lewis got 2nd on countback of second places. Shame, he had a 17 point lead and LOST IT ALL. I love how people say Alonso was beat by a ”rookie” asif its something super bad, but then when lewis makes a mistake, its ok because he’s a ”rookie”.

    People need to make their minds up.

  97. Anssi says:

    The difference between the Italians, Domenicali and Montezemolo, and Jean Todt, is that Jean Todt understood perfectly the character of Kimi Räikkönen and understood it would be unwise to expect him to change his character overnight and become a “politician” and “Italian” to have a chance of success in the team. Jean Todt let Kimi be who he is and didn’t try to change him into something else. Jean Todt made sure the people working in the team were working professionally for Kimi as well instead of favouring Felipe the guy who speaks Italian and who is so sympathetic, oh mamma mia Felipe is a nice guy let’s give him the better parts and the better strategy!

    As an example, I heard several comments made by the Ferrari staff of how “Kimi does not speak Italian”. Excuse me, but are you dumb? Did you expect him to learn Italian all of a sudden? If you want your drivers to speak Italian then better hire ones that already speak it. I heard zero such comments from Jean Todt, by the way… all those kinds of comments were said by Italians.

    What I am thinking is once Jean Todt left the team principal position, Kimi’s fate was sealed. There was no way he was going to get the crybaby sentinemtal Italians to work well with him when there is no such strong and extremely smart manager such as Jean Todt around making sure they focus on the job and not on who is their best friend and who speaks Italian.

  98. Segedunum says:

    I suppose Stefano had to justify it somehow, but the real reason why Alonso is in there and they were desperate to pay a driver even more than Alonso to do nothing was to get a new title sponsor in. That’s the financial climate we live in. They wanted to secure themselves for the next four or five years.

    As for Raikkonen and Ferrari, they weren’t a great fit in the end. Raikkonen wasn’t an emotional character in the way Ferrari people like, Ferrari are driven by emotion and emotion largely has no place in Formula 1 and is even dangerous. Just look at Ferrari’s history. Even when Raikkonen won the championship, the response from Ferrari was muted and it was clear in 2008 that they really wanted to do it for Massa.

    As for Ferrari, they are only starting their 2009 development for the new regulations now. They have written off their 2009 car where teams like Red Bull, Mercedes and even McLaren will be carrying over their 2009 development. They are a long way behind. For his sake, I hope Alonso is a miracle worker at development, but it didn’t seem to help Renault the past couple of seasons.

    Personally, I think when Raikkonen was presented with Ferrari’s plans he was right to think the time was right to jump ship. Ferrari have waned, and the chances of him winning the championship next season were remote.

  99. FinnishGuy says:

    I don’t think it’s very cool for Domenicali to talk such things about his ex-employee in public.
    If Dome and Monte saw there was a problem with Kimi not motivating the people the way they wanted, why didn’t they just say it to his face? Instead, they feel like it’s a cool way to do this after they got rid of him and just badmouth about him in the interviews.
    It’s really hard to see any success in Ferrari if the success depends the pep talks and hugs that drivers give to the engineers and mechanics in Maranello.
    I sincerely hope that Ferrari will fail in the coming season too.

  100. M055 says:

    The way I see it is that since Todt left Ferrari has had a lack of leadership which Domenicali is unable to fill. That’s why they are looking for a driver who can work as a team boss on his spare time.

  101. The Limit says:

    This statement for me is incredibly harsh in the fact that it was Ferrari who signed Raikkonen in the first place, on a reported $45 million a year contract. Kimi’s style of racing was well documented prior to 2006 when the Italian’s signed him, due to his years at McLaren.
    Infact, ex team mate David Coulthard called Kimi one of the ‘laziest drivers I have ever met, but one of the most gifted’. So it should have been no secret that Raikkonen has his way of doing things that were never what Ferrari had become accustomed to with Michael Schumacher.
    Secondly, Fernando Alonso ‘is’ indeed a very different driver from the withdrawn Finn. And that, in itself, may not bode well for the prancing horse. Ever since winning the title in 2007, Raikkonen was pretty much torn apart by Felipe Massa, and only improved after the Brazilian’s crash in Budapest. That pretty much tells you how the ‘structure’ of Ferrari’s team is set.
    Massa has been at the team along time, has achieved alot of success, and has a powerful voice in the form of Michael Schumacher behind him, not to mention the son of FIA president Jean Todt as his manager.
    Lewis Hamilton? This is an altogether different, and far more risky challenge than the one Fernando faced in 2007 with McLaren. Massa has the speed, the experience, and the hunger of missing out in 2008 to Hamilton, and will prove an almighty headache to the Spaniard.
    Everybody should think back to the Nurburgring 2007 to see had Felipe handled being beaten by Alonso. It is not going to be a cake walk, and it will certainly be as exciting if not more that Alonso/Hamilton.
    The key for Ferrari, as was the case with McLaren, will be how to handle two championship contending drivers, and that is easier said than done. Maybe, come November 2010, the Scuderia will be missing the quiet Finn who took defeat and victory so much in his stride.

    1. Hans joergen Stroem says:

      yes the ferrari team is back to itself old one. I recall reading about this way back in the seventies. early seventies in fact. they had Jacky Ickx and Clay regazzoni as drivers. Ickx was clearly the most talented of the two, but the team tended to favour Regazzoni, so Ickx struggled alot. the same sort of things I red few years later. then it was Niki Lauda who came with the same sort of comments toward the ferrari team leadership. they worked more toward Regazzoni than Lauda, even though Lauda was a far better driver than Regga. the only two equally good drivers who could manage to seemingly being treated equally was Jody Schecter and Gilles Villeneuve. but these two guys seemed to have great respect for each other.

    2. FAster says:

      That’s probably what you hope happens, your post is filled with so many errors but mostly fanboyism I’m not going to list them all. But number 1 point is Massa is not managed by jean Todt.

  102. Philip T says:

    While I admire what Alonso has done in the past in developing cars, you can’t exactly say he worked wonders with this year’s Renault. James, do you think this may be because he had half an eye on his exit or could he just not do anything to help make something of this year’s car?

    1. FAster says:

      Renault stopped development early for the hundredth time. Plus the car was just so bad it wouldn’t win a race no matter how much development was put into it, they would basically have to redesign the whole car again.

  103. Monika S says:

    This is a very shameful comment from SD. When you are a true team leader like he is supposed to be, you always defend your team members and do not talk bad about the ones who left for one reason or another. That says a lot about natural leadership qualities he obviously does not have, only coming from a position he holds. Of course he knows that and he is counting on Alonso to save his own job.

    If there should be a Class and Professional Ethics School for F1, I would suggest SD as its first student.

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