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Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Dec 2011   |  1:12 pm GMT  |  106 comments

Yesterday was Ferrari’s traditional end of year dinner with the Italian media and there have been some headlines about company president Luca Montezemolo wanting more from the team and from Felipe Massa.

But less widely reported were his comments about world champion Sebastian Vettel and Bernie Ecclestone, which could have more far reaching consequences.

There have been various stories this year speculating about Ferrari’s interest in Vettel, but Gazzetta dello Sport’s Pino Allievi – normally a reliable guide to the goings on in the corridors of Maranello – suggests that there has been a change of feeling and that the desire to get him there in 2014 – to work alongside Alonso and take over from him – is now real and strong.

The formula the team built around Michael Schumacher was unbeatable and Ferrari is trying to replicate that now with Schumacher’s natural heir, Alonso.

The natural heir to Alonso is undoubtedly Vettel. The three drivers share a number of qualities of which intelligence and winning spirit are the two most significant.

“Vettel is a brilliant driver,” said Montezemolo. “He’s young, but seems very intelligent in the way he carries himself. He has a great future..let’s see. I like drivers who use their head more than their right foot.

“But it would be on condition that we don’t upset the balance in the team. Today we have a balance, I don’t want drivers who’ll have a problem with each other.”

Also to be carefully noted were Montezemolo’s comments about F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone, which are a signal that after several years of making tough, critical statements about the 81 year old supremo, there has been a genuine thawing of relations between the two men and observers in Italy believe it could presage a deal in the New Year which would tie F1 and its most important brand together.

“I must pay tribute to Ecclestone who has always had a great respect for the role and importance of Ferrari,” said Montezemolo.

The feeling is that part of working to get Ferrari signed up for a new long term deal with the sport involves Ecclestone working to fulfil some of Montezemolo’s wishes, like the return of more testing.

Montezemolo appears to have put his ambitions to get involved in Italian national politics on the back burner for the moment, with a change of government in Italy amid the chaos of the Euro crisis. He is going to be centrally involved in the next stages in F1.

It will be a very interesting year, 2012. As well as a closer fight on the track between the top three teams, I believe, be ready to hear a lot about politics between teams, about the new Concorde Agreement and the FIA under Jean Todt has yet to show its hand.

Of course there could be developments arising from the outcome of the Gribkowsky case in Munich which could reverberate in F1.

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106 Comments
  1. Qiang says:

    Hi James,
    I read an article in the Times Megazine about Sergio Marchionne and two things really catch struck me. First he is doing very well to turn around the FIAT/Chrysler brand; and second he was also very critical about Silvio Belusconi. Do you know whether Marchionne and Montezemolo are close within FIAT? Probably Sergio focuses all his energe outside Ferrari.

  2. Red5 says:

    Vettel and Alonso.

    That would make for a strong pairing, perhaps the strongest in the paddock.

    But can Ferrari produce a car to deliver back to back championships?

    1. Phil says:

      In theory strong but I just can’t see either Alonso or Vettel wanting that combination.

      How would Alonso cope without a clear number one driver status and a “weak” partner who pulls over whenever Alonso requests it.

      I am fairly certain that Vettel will not be in the slightest bit interested in being as weak as Massa. Can you imagine Smedley coming over the radio and asking Seb to let Fernando pass.

      1. MISTER says:

        How about RBR asking MW to maintain possition? How do you think Vettel feld when he found out about that?
        It doesnt matter how X or Y feel about it. If you don’t perform as well as your team mate, move over. It’s been done forever and will continue to be done.

        It may be time for you to move along and stop hanging on the past.

        Cheers!

      2. Nesto says:

        Lets not always focus on Alonso and think hes the only top driver wanting preferential treatment and having the car and team built around him.

        Remember 2010, Webber vs Vettel… Has anyone noticed after the climax of their fued in Turkey, things changing in Vettel’s favor? Through sheer determination Webber was able to grab magnificent victories in Silverstone and Hungary. Then with the championship winding down, he couldn’t get ahead. Always within tenths or hundredths in qual but never “fast enough” to get ahead of his favored teammate. Now here in 2011 with the arrival of new Pirelli tires that coincidentally Vettel makes better use of, Webber is behind the McLarens and sometimes Alonso. The RB7 in his hands is JUST quickt enough for him to score the necessary points to get the WCC but not cause Vettel any trouble. When did they last battle ? Webber’s last win not counting the farce in Brazil ? Regarding that, honestly, RBR has been perfect this year, reliability, strategy, everything. They deserve it. BUT I find it hard to believe they can’t engineer a win for Webber. Vettel’s car has no faults this year bar Abu Dhabi and he still comfortably got 2nd behind Webber. Lets not forget Vettel’s perfect starts and Webber falling back everytime BUT still able to get back into the Top 4. I’m not a conspiracy theorist but its evident to me whats going on. We’ve all heard RBR’s false claims of equality with the drivers. Looking at the results, it was true at one time but very clear when that ended. Vettel’s immense superiority this year is for a reason. Middle 2010 was the last time they truly battled and its sad because it was a fascinating, reminiscent of Alo/Ham 2007. RBR, however, didn’t make the same mistake.

        The same thing goes on at both RBR and Ferrari and rightfully so in some ways, if you want the championship, you back your stud horse who will take you there. Massa and Webber are good but inconsistent. Alonso and Vettel are greats.

      3. Josh says:

        Tin foil hats galore

      4. adi says:

        100% Nesto. When sebastian chewed everyones ear off in his press conferences after his many pole positions this year I really was hoping that some of the facts you mentioned were mentioned to him by some journalists. ….or Mark Webber!!

  3. Paul Lewis says:

    Another great article to end the year. Thank you James for all your pieces in 2011 and may you have a well earned rest for Christmas and continued brilliance in 2012!

    1. Phil says:

      I’ll second that. Thanks James and best wishes for Christmas. Let’s hope we can all have a peaceful, happy and prosperous New Year

  4. TheBestPoint? says:

    Makes sense now doesn’t it: the abrupt house clearing at TR. Vettel’s successor needing to be groomed for RedBull. (I speculated about this in my reply to James’ article at the time).

    In practical terms will Webber get more support to beat Vettel in 2012?

    It’s hotting up nicely. Can’t wait to see new season play out.

  5. madmax says:

    I personally like Vettel a lot more than Hamilton as a person but see Hamilton as the natural heir from Schumacher and Alonso if he would get his act together.

    Hamilton equaled Alonso’s points in his rookie year in the same car. Winning in by far the best car with a team-mate that suddenly from last year to this year lost all competitiveness is nothing compared to what Hamilton done against Alonso.

    Even though I believe Hamilton to be more talented on the track, on the media side Vettel is unbeatable and a great deal more likeable than Hamilton.

    1. Dan says:

      Can’t argue with that, Hamilton is the most natural racer on the grid in my opinion.

    2. Justin Bieber says:

      I disagree with most of your post.

      I think Hamilton could have been the natural successor if it wasn’t for his downward spiral since his first year.

      He had a fantastic year in 2007, with full support of Ron Dennis he was able to equal Alonso on points. Many things happened behind close doors and it will take a few decades and both of them retiring before we know what really happened. Maybe someday James will right a book about it?

      To his credit, he did win the WDC in 2008 but many factors were in his favor. He was now the clear No1 driver inside McLaren and all race strategies were based around him and benefited from team orders during the season.

      I don’t have a problem with that and I don’t think it diminish his accomplishment. However Its fair to say he did not dominate the season and that his biggest rival was Felipe Massa.

      After 5 years in F1, he seems to be Montoya’s natural successor, not Schumacher. Extremely fast in quali, know how to get the job done on sunday but prone to crashing way too often. He could have won the WDC in 2010 if he didn’t crash into other cars in Monza and Singapore. 2011 went from bad to worst and he created a lot of problem for himself outside the car with the liegate and the “its because im black” comment in Monaco.

      Hamilton is still young and with time he might get his act together. Time will tell.

      1. madmax says:

        Ya, good enough point comparing him to Montoya. What I am saying is although Vettel is really talented, taking this year out of the equation because of Webbers tyre problems there was very little between the two last year.

        With how Hamilton done against Alonso, then Kovalein in the same car I just believe he would be the faster driver in the same car as Vettel.

        But like what we both said he needs to get his act together in other areas but that might not matter so much when you have a car at the front all the time like Vettel.

    3. Huh says:

      Vettel beats Webber easily (Webber being highly acclaimed, no matter what the haters say to discredit), you talk about it like it is nothing special.
      Yet you forget to mention Hamilton, the more talented driver according to you, being easily beaten by Button in the same car.

      If Hamilton was more talented on the track as you suggest, he would not have multiple meltdowns in a season and crash into people or spin whenever he had the chance.

      And this isn’t the first season he has done that, he did this in every season. Losing the championship because of it in 2007 with easily the best car on the grid and almost losing it in 2008 against Massa of all drivers in an equal/slightly better car. And now being beaten by Button.

      Comical.

      1. madmax says:

        It’s nothing special because of Webber’s well documented problems adjusting to the new tyres. Look at the differenve between Webber last year and this year?

        Hamilton had the scrappiest year of his life but still showed in raw pace the majority of the time he was easily quicker than Button who I rate higher than Webber.

        Who was called the crash kid the year before? It’s a lot easier when your in clear air at the front in by far the best car.

        Obviously Hamilton is not perfect and that is why I said about IF he got his act together, but on pure speed the evidence is greater for Hamilton to be quicker if he was in the same car as Vettel.

      2. David A says:

        @madmax -

        “Look at the difference between Webber last year and this year?”

        2010: Webber 242 points
        2011: Webber 258 points :)

        I believe “Huh” (the person you replied to) was being heavy-handed and fanboyish in his post. But since the blunder of Spa 2010, I believe Vettel has got his act together, and is currently the heir to Alonso/Schumacher as the best on the grid, regardless of whether Hamilton gets his act together. Vettel showed raw pace in 2010 too (with the 10 poles, 5 wins, plus races like Bahrain and Korea), and not all of the 11 wins SV took in 2011 were because his car was vastly superior. There were times when he made the difference, and there were times where Hamilton and Button should have got closer with their Mclarens.

      3. madmax says:

        I know regarding the points it looks better but taking into account the performance advantage of the car showed by his team mate and even Vergne at the younger driver test, it was a poor season by Webber compared to last year.

        Guess time will tell how good Vettel is or Hamilton also.

    4. Wu says:

      Schumacher was the natural successor to Senna, and even surpassed him by a wide margin. I simply can’t see anyone on the grid that has the same kind of oomph that those two had.

      Hamilton might be the closest, but he is no Senna or Schumi.
      If anyone, I think Kubica is the next big thing, especially if he doesn’t lose any of his fire, determination and raw speed after the crash, and is put in a good car. Things he did in that Renault in 2010 surprised even those who were working with Alonso during his Champ years.

      1. Andrew says:

        Rubbish! Schumi never had a top rate team mate until Rosberg.

        Senna went to Mclaren and beat Prost who was regarded as the best driver. Then when Prost went to Ferrari Senna beat Berger easily and Prost beat Mansell at Ferrari.

        I only hope that Vettel tests himself in the same car against Alonso or Hamilton in the future so we can see how good he is. Button has gone up in everyone’s estimation this season for getting more points than Hamilton more so than when he won the championship.

  6. Horno says:

    Alonso and Vettel, would be a dream team.
    The only problem is, who will be de number 1 driver, because both of them are number 1 quality!

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      It depends who won the last championship ;-)

      I would be happy to see Vettel at Ferrari if he comes with Adrian Newey

  7. granada says:

    Oh please not Vettel, let it be anyone but Vettel.

    1. David A says:

      Vettel alongside Alonso would be the mighty lineup that people would fear exactly like you’ve demonstrated :)

  8. TheBestPoint? says:

    Oh and if I was paranoid would take monty’s comments as a dig against Hamilton but then that is assuming I was paranoid.
    Although a number of his mistakes I attribute to HIS Race team (obviously which he is part of) rather than him individually – he still needs to undo some of the reputation damage he sustained this season.
    The one thing he did prove this season however, is that he can partner anyone without driver conflict. If Monty is ignoring that then it is just for PR purposes.

  9. Kimi Räikkönen says:

    No vettel.
    I’ll be back at Ferrari.

    1. Sebee says:

      Take a number and sit down Kimi.

      The line is long and Ferrari aren’t all that sentimental about you.

      1. Rich C says:

        Hey I’m in that line ahead of Kimi!
        Just as soon as they make one somebody besides a midget can get into, like a big ol’ fat guy, for example!

    2. DB4Tim says:

      If you would have given 100% all the time you would not be gone -

    3. W Bennet says:

      Have you managed to spend all the money?

  10. Dom Jones says:

    Having Alonso and Vettel in the same team is definitely something every F1 fan will hope for. It would be a great opportunity to really rate them both. The only proper comparison we’ve had between two top drivers in recent years is Alonso and Hamilton in 2007 and they came out equal (on points).

    Alonso has already proven himself to be a great. Vettel is undoubtably a candidate as a great but we’ll need to see him either 1) winning races in a car that’s not the fastest or 2) proving himself against a teammate of proven, great ability before he can be confirmed as a great.

    However, although Alonso seems like a nice guy with nothing to prove and all the rest of it, I doubt he’d be too keen on having Vettel in the same team. Not because he’d be scared of the challenge, but because if Ferrari have a title contending car that year, he won’t want a team mate taking victories from him and spoiling his chances of being a Ferrari champion, let alone the team mate taking the title. He could have one his third title in 2007 (which would also have been three in a row) if it hadn’t been for Hamilton being in the same team. Similarly, Hamilton could have been the first rookie champion if Alonso hadn’t been in the same team.

    Alonso and Vettel in the same team sounds great but I’m not too sure it’ll happen.

    1. Liam says:

      I’m not so sure Vettel and Alonso in the same team will happen either but I think Vettel won quite a few races this year in a car that wasn’t the fastest… I’m pretty sure he would do well against Alonso, perhaps too well for Alonso’s liking.

    2. W Bennet says:

      So does this mean that Alonso will be dumped as their No 1 driver in favour of Vettel?

    3. VK says:

      He has done both, yet you are in denial.

      Winning in Monza in 2008 in a Torro Rosso, lauded as one of the greatest wins in F1 by many including Stewart and Stirling Moss. In the rain, you see who the real men are right? And this season he did not have the fastest car in at least 2 races he won.

      And let’s look at Alonso’s teammates before 2007, Fisi and Trulli….how did he prove himself against these average drivers? So Hamilton has not proven himself too then because Alonso before him never had any impressive teammates?

      And now Hamilton has been beaten by Button, so Hamilton is not great too. Button is better than Alonso?

      You see how silly this teammate thing gets that fans of other drivers use against Vettel? Vettel is a great already, like it or not.

      Fangio always was in the fastest car when he won his championships and demanded his teammates to slow down and even hand over their car when his’ broke, so obviously he has not proven himself either.

      1. Liam says:

        LOL! Excellent post.

      2. Bill says:

        I agree

      3. Dom Jones says:

        You seem to be displaying the sort of Vettel partisanship James Allen refers to in another post. Don’t let it cloud your judgement. I am a fan of Hamilton and I like Vettel and Alonso but my comment is not partisan like yours. Try being more neutral.

        The vast majority F1 fans would all rate Alonso as a great. Two World Championships so far; equal wins with Jackie Stewart and only behind Mansell, Senna, Prost and Schumacher for all time wins; wins across several seasons in different cars and teams with differing levels of competitiveness; consistently outperforming teammates.

        Vettel’s win at Monza was great and no one can argue with that. I’m not saying Vettel isn’t a great or won’t be a great, but he has had arguably the best car – or very close indeed – for all of his wins bar one. I merely await seeing him in the second or third best car and still picking up wins or up against a brilliant team mate before making a decision. Webber is a poor comparison to Vettel. To be trounced like that across a season is an embarrassment.

        As I said in my original comment, I’d love to see Vettel v Alonso in the same team but I doubt it will happen. If it does, I’d love to see Vettel do well and confirm his status as a great.

  11. Michael Grievson says:

    I read that as “Bernie has paid us a lot of money to split away from FOTA and be on his side again, Merry Christmas Bernie”

    1. CH says:

      That was Peter Windsor’s take too on his The Flying Lap (excellent site by the way). I was surprised at how matter of factly he stated that, for both Ferrai and Red Bull. May Bernie get his karmic due in time.

      1. CH says:

        Speaking of which, James is on this latest episode which I see is now up.
        http://smibs.tv/the-flying-lap

      2. Liam says:

        Cheers for the link! Had never heard of it… Always good to get more F1 content!

  12. Sebee says:

    We all hope for that perfect present under the tree this time of year, don’t we Luca?

    I still say Red Bull is the perfect F1 business model and team for Vettel.

    Rich. Filthy rich – fully owning the marketing plan in F1.

    No risk to Red Bull drink product image if they push car development and rules pass the edge as car has nothing to do with drink.

    And all the pieces in place to have a nice 5 year champinship domination run like Ferrari did.

    By the time Vettel goes to Ferrari (if he does) he may be riding around with 5 stars on his helmet – at which time I imagine he will look at Ferrari drive as just a bonus. Every force is spent eventually, and to me it feels like this Red Bull team is just getting started.

    1. Sebee says:

      Also, speaking of balance, how happy would Alonso be with Vettel arriving with 4 championships at Ferrari in 2014? A real possibility.

      This is nothing to loose comment from Luca. It gives Vettel a strong hand in negotiations – making Red Bull pay more for Vettel. It may muddy the mind of Vettel about Ferrari dreams. It puts pressure on his currnt drivers to be at their best. Puts pressure on his team to know that they put up or will be replaced from top down. Etc. etc. But I think Red Bull with deep pockets doesn’t care about any of this. They are clearly the big gun in this game and putting the screws to Ferrari like I have not seen another team do for some time.

    2. Justin Bieber says:

      The question is, how long will Red Bull stay in F1? I think that in 10 years, Red Bull will only be a distant memory. They do not compete in F1 for the love of the sport, its for selling drinks.

      1. Garry T says:

        Sorry

        Who competes for the Love of the Sport

        Ferrari they sell fast cars don’t they what does Mclaren do hmmm let me think.

        Dont ever think that the so called icon F1 teams do this if it wasn’t about brand recognition and money.

        I can guarantee you one thing everything is for sale at the right price.

        I just laugh at some comments from the people who must live in a different world.

        Who owns Ferrari it certainly isn’t the people it was founded by, its Fiat.

      2. W Bennet says:

        Lewis was spot on with his Redbull comments about the team being just a drinks company.

        ….but that didn’t stop some F1 fans taking this out of context, not appreciating perhaps that his comments were clearly responding to Christian Horner’s earlier comments about Lewis saying that he “is not going to be happy if he has another barren year”.

  13. Dan Orsino says:

    But Alonso has not won anything yet for Farrari. No drivers title, no constructors … Does anyone other than Ferrari feel there are titles on the way soon?

    I’m tempted to bet that wily Brawn will have something up his sleeve for Mercedes come next march, but I’ve made wrong predictions many times

    1. Sebee says:

      Bingo.

      Alonso is really strong mentally – after that big let down in 2010. I mean, you only get one chance to win a championship for Ferrari in your first season, and he did his best.

      I hope you’re right about Mercedes at least for podiums.

  14. goferet says:

    Ferrari is trying to replicate that now with Schumacher’s natural heir, Alonso.
    ————————————————

    Oh really?

    From what I remember, Schumacher’s natural heir was supposed to be Kimi & we all know that didn’t quite work according to plan.

    Look, a Kaiser & beast like Schumacher really has no heir for what he accomplished, no driver can even dream of accomplishing apart from maybe Vettel (the kid that loves stats)
    who maybe can accomplish about half of Schumi’s stats thanks to his devastating qualifying pace.

    Anyway, Montezemolo is right, having Vettel line up along side Alonso is one sure way to have Ferrari in the headlines for all the wrong reasons as doors get slammed off their hinges & toys get thrown out their pram as soon as Vettel refuses to move over on track.

    For sure, something isn’t quite right at Maranello for what’s with all this panic, it’s like Montezemolo doesn’t trust his designers any more and thinks the drivers can make the difference by winning in the 3rd fastest car.

    P.s.

    Exactly what goes on behind closed doors at Maranello? It’s like they do more eating & talking than working

    1. zombie says:

      Schumacher was ruthless par none! But he was way way mature even in his 20s. He knew he had to build a “family” within the team before he could get support. It is said that he remembered the names of even Scuderia’s janitors and instilled such loyalty that they could run through brick walls for him!

      Alonso is good, very good infact, but he is impatient and does not come across as a teamplayer. Despite everything Renault did for him, the moment he stopped winning, he started bad-mouthing the team saying they are giving Fisi a better car than him! Then there was the Mclaren fiasco, and his role in the crashgate..the list goes on.

      Vettel could well prove to be a natural heir to Schumacher, but if he comes in after winning so much at such a young age will he have the hunger to toil 5 yrs for another title the way Schumi did? I doubt it.

      1. JK says:

        Arrrgh… as an Alonso fan I have to agree with you. I don’t think he’ll start a Schumacher-esque run of domination at Ferrari for the points you mention although I really, really wish he could. But who knows… 2012 might be a very different season to last (at least on a personal level) for Alonso so we might see better results yet.

        One unrelated question I have is, why do Hamilton fans always feel the need to reaffirm his driving ability? It’s a if each race passes and suddenly his fans forget how dominant he was… errr… some time ago and have to remind everyone he’s better than Hamilton. Let the results speak for themselves. If he was such a master at F1 he would be doing a lot better than he is now, in and out of the car.

      2. JK says:

        “Better than Button” I meant to say.

    2. Sebee says:

      The whole Schumacher era was different. Engine played a much bigger part, and put that with good car design and you had 5 years of domination. That won’t happen again for some time.

      Don’t doubt it for a second, this is all talk to at least try to put some things in mind of Vettel or Red Bull. Meanwhile, I have little doubt that we’ll have a Deja Vu experience in 2012.

    3. KAlan says:

      What JA meant was, Alonso being the natural heir to Schumacher in terms of the best driver in the field, best of his generation, after Schumacher had left and the same applies to Vettel according to JA.
      No need for Schumacher fans to get carried away. JA was not making a comparison between the two drivers.

      1. James Allen says:

        I mean as a type of driver

    4. StallionGP F1 says:

      Vettel to move over for Alonso you probably don’t realize how fast Vettel is we are not talking about Massa here.

    5. Joe says:

      You are right. And also Alonso refusing to move over for Vettel (ala Webber) It just won’t happen.

      1. Liam in Sydney says:

        Not saying the FA and SV at Ferrari would ever happen. But if it did, I bet they would have written into their contracts that they could not be asked to move over if the other proved faster. Conspiracy theory? :)

  15. ACB says:

    As good as Vettel is, they ought to take another run at hiring Adrian Newey.

    1. Sebee says:

      And have him be forced to travel to Italy or live in Italy? Newey has a dream gig!

      He’s based in the UK – his home.

      He can push it nearly as far as he wants – because as I keep saying if he even goes too far it’s not like a little bending of F1 car desing rules paints Red Bull GT550 Coupe in bad light. Such car doesn’t exist, and an agressive F1 car design that pushes the limits can only be good for marketing of Red Bull the beverage quality of which has nothing to do with how the F1 car is blown or flexing.

      Finally, he is paid handsomely for his skill.

      Honestly, what does Ferrari have that would pull him away? In fact I say to you it would make Ferrari as a brand look bad and would be an admission that Ferrari can’t get it done and there actually are better designers out there.

      1. Iwan says:

        AND it looks a lot more fun working at and for RB. Yeah it gets tense just like anywhere else, but the team’s image is more playful / less serious and I don’t think Luca is the most diplomatic fella. They had Brawn remember. Who chose not to come back to Fer. They had Schu who chose not to come back to Fer. Something’s up on the inside we don’t know about and my money would be on Luca trying to control and run the whole show.

        A relaxed working environment with a bunch of team players will always yield better results.

      1. Doobs says:

        Newey has had some good designs but some real howlers too. Lack of testing is what is hurting Ferrari, not lack of designers.

      2. Iwan says:

        RB test just as little. Doesn’t seem to hurt them that much.

        09 Brawn tested least of all and they did okay with a driver who up to that point didn’t live up to all the hype and another going backwards career wise.

      3. Doobs says:

        The difference is that a car that’s good straight away now has a massive advantage. Teams that are traditionally able to develop their cars better during the season – Ferrari, Maclaren – can’t “test” their way out of trouble so quickly. They can only drip feed developments.

        Brawn were lucky in 2009. They already had the DDD developed and were lucky that it wasn’t banned, and so caught all the other teams on the back foot – except Toyota and Williams who also had versions. The Brawn however already had +/-six months of development as a Honda, when it became obvious their 08 car was (another) dud.

        Before everyone else got their DDDs working midway through the season it was all about Brawn. After that, Button felt the pressure and had a bit of a wobble, but by then he’d done enough and held on.

        The RB in 2009 was not a bad car but without the DDD was (relatively) nowhere near the Brawn either.

  16. Steve says:

    Nobody on the grid who has won a WDC would be in their right mind to go to Ferrari while they have Alonso on the books, which is effectively forever in F1 silly season terms. Even more so if they can’t buck the trend and build a car that is vaguely competitive.

  17. RA109 says:

    Not sure about Montezemolo putting aside his political ambitions… seems to me he is working to improve his diplomacy and image – important for his aspirations.

  18. Rich C says:

    Well, every team on the grid would like to have Vettel when his contract runs out.

    But they don’t want someone who is going to “upset the balance” and beat their star, which he would do. So its a tough call.

    And ofc we *all know what “respect for the role and importance of Ferrari” means: give me more money. Give me special rules. Give me wins. Gimme gimme gimme.

  19. terryshep says:

    Yesterday, I read that Luca d. had told his party that he intended to run for President of Italy at the next elections, in 2013. He signed the message ‘Next President of Italy’ This doesn’t sound like a man who has given up his political ambitions.

    Anyway, these things are above us mere mortals, what we care about is our racing and one thing we can all unite in is thanking James for this blogsite and wishing him a Happy Xmas & an interesting 2012.

  20. CH says:

    Somehow I don’t see Vettel going there til Ferrari clearly have the better car, and that may never happen. I don’t think any extra money or the mystique of Ferrari would otherwise be enough to tempt such a down-to-earth person.

  21. Tex says:

    Strange…he doesn’t mention Kubica as a contender for the role of leader.

    1. O.S says:

      Why would he? We’re not at all certain Kubica will ever race again, let alone be competitive.

      IMO the idea that Kubica can be expected to have 2 years out of F1 and replace Massa in 2013 and be a challenger is wishful thinking.

  22. Larry Perkins says:

    My bet is that Ferrari will scoop up Alonso’s good mate and in my opinion the man who developed this red bull into the beast that it is Mark Webber. He comes cheap, brings the redbull intellectual property without it being photocopied by his wife, but more importantly will be available when Massa contact expires.

    1. Haha says:

      Yeah, Webber was much more of an influence on the design of the car than Newey…

      1. galletto says:

        Well,lately everybody seems to forget that Newey designed a long series of lemons while he was at McLaren….

      2. Liam in Sydney says:

        Mark didn’t need to have designed it, or helped engineer it. He simply needs to know what it is, how it works, and be able to describe that to a designer/engineer.

    2. JackFlash says:

      I’ll place a side bet on that as well!
      2013: Alonsa/Webber at SF.

    3. David A says:

      If the car suited Vettel, Webber wouldn’t have developed it more than SV, let alone Newey/the rest of the design team.

      1. Paul says:

        So why did Vettel take Marks settings more times than not???

      2. David A says:

        You’re mistaken there. On a few occasions, Vettel would take Mark’s setup when he couldn’t find his own (and go quite a good deal faster), but Webber would take Vettel’s setup just as often.

    4. Doobs says:

      Webber would also bridge the year or two gap between Massa’s contract end and Vettel becoming available.

  23. Joseba says:

    “I don’t want drivers who’ll have a problem with each other”

    Yes of course, Alonso and Massa, greatest friends ever. Where was this guy in 2007 and 2008? I believe that he will be a great politician.

  24. chris green says:

    Due to the economy there is no guarantee that that F1 will still exist in 2014.
    But by then Alonso will be burnt out so I don’t think he will be able to dictate anything to Ferrari re Vettel.
    Maybe Montezemolo’s idea of running 3 cars isn’t so bad. The 3rd car could run out of the same garage but with different sponsor etc. Then we would have a full field of competitive cars and then we would really see which driver is the best.

  25. mo kahn says:

    So… The there is a mutual admiration between Vettel and Ferrari… It would be wonderful Endeavor :)

  26. W Bennet says:

    LdM is temporarily lifting the needle on a stuck record to play a little mood music as a prelude to doing another exclusive Ferrari deal that leaves F1 and the teams back in the doo dah, divided and conquered by Bernie….same old same, old and fOR LdM, back to his favourite track, stuck on the same lyrics…. “lack of testing”, “Third cars”, “Too much aero”…..F1 will never change with Bernie and LdM pulling the strings!

    1. MISTER says:

      That’s exactly what LDM wants to do..change the actual F1..which is not perfect if you ask me.

      Lack of testing – LDM is right. How can you have a major sport like F1 where inovative technology and aero plays a huge part..without testing. That’s plain stupid. F1 needs limited testing.

      Third cars – I don’t rly see this happening and don’t think will be good for the sport. But in the same time, there is no point for teams like Virgin and Hispania which are couple of seconds a lap slower. I believe testing might help these teams to catch up, but by how much…I don’t know.

      Too much aero – Ofc there is too much dependence of aero in F1 at this stage. In my view, the heart of the car is the engine. This should play the most in the performance of a car. I find it ridiculous that cars with same engine can be separated by such a big margin “thanks” to the aero.

      Happy New Year everybody.

      1. W Bennet says:

        LdM may want to change F1 but NOT if Ferrari do their own commercial deal with Bernie at the expense of all F1 teams.

        So do we really have to hear LdM’s perpectual moans when he could work with the other teams to fix F1 before thinking about his own team’s pay off ahead of everything else?

  27. Mobeen Shafaat says:

    Merry Christmas James Allen. I Love your website and appreciate the fact that we can read articles by the best pundit in F1 free of charge. Have great holidays :)

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks. Merry Christmas to you and all the readers

      1. Born Racer says:

        Merry Christmas James and thank you for all your hard work.

        Merry Christmas everyone.

  28. Baart says:

    Well… Merry Christmas James :)

  29. Rach says:

    Ferrari will never hire Vettel. He’ll end up at Mercedes if he ever leaves Red Bull.

  30. Dxs says:

    Ferrari to obtain vettel would be a smart move.

    Not because vettel is a better or faster driver than say anyone else.

    But because he is a good driver, that has the best dynamic with his team than any other driver.

    RBR brought him in just as the team was about to peak. There was no expectation that he was being brought in to be a champion, but rather just as a solid driver. A season after he came into the team, the car was the best on the grid, they were winning, and he barely won the 2010 WDC, then dominated 2011. Basically everyone at RBR is more than happy with how it ended up, and it is a big love fest. Vettel was rather lucky to get into RBR when he did, but the dynamic that resulted is currently unmatched.

    Webber on the other hand, was brought in when the team was developing. They brought him in as a development driver. He was a known talent, but after being broken at williams due to a horrid car he wasnt as hot of a commodity than in his early days. Eventhough he is talented, and could have won 2010 WDC with better support from RBR, he is dynamic with the team still has that foundation of him just being a driver brought in for development.

    Alonso on the other hand was brought into ferrari as a driver to win WDCs in the future. Hamilton is the same, after his rookie year he was set as number 1 at Mcl and paid the big bucks. Both of them are there to win WDC, anything less is dissapointment.

    Vettel doesnt have the same expectation from the team, the team wasnt capable and had no winning history before his era. So it is all one big happy family, and even if he does poorly next year there will be no real dissapointment from the team, there is a heap of mutual respect.

    So from my perspective, it isnt that vettel is a great god of a driver, it is more the dynamic vettel and rbr have because of various factors that fell into place that has created the relationship that they now have. No other team has that, and you cant really buy that.

    Ferrari buying vettel would be a wise move, not because he is a god driver, but to destroy rbr. The vettel rbr relation is the key. But ofcourse there could be other things to disrupt it, ie having a dog car, with vettel subsequently becoming dissapointed with the team (like what killed the dynamic with mcl and hami a few years back). I look forward to that day.

    1. Paul says:

      Finally……sense prevails…….

  31. MarkF1 says:

    James, you are a Ayrton Senna fan. Will Viviane and Bruno Senna sellout the family name for a Friday, third driver role at Williams? I’m worried they will. The Senna family will lose a lot of respect if Bruno ever sits in a Williams.

    Thank you,
    Mark

  32. Lynn says:

    I would love to see Kimi partner Alonso (Ferrari) or Kimi partner Vettel(Red Bull)in 2013!

    Happy Christmas everyone!

    1. SP says:

      Likewise, I’d love to see him in any of the top teams car in future. Providing he proves hes still got it… which I’m sure he has :)

  33. Spencer says:

    I mentioned another scenario a few weeks back that SV could go to Mercedes as heir to Schumi. Hence the panic for Torro Rosso to change their two drivers to quickly groom one for RBR ( as an Aussie I’d love to see Webber and Ricciardo as teammates one only wish!)

    As for Ferrari why not chase Rosberg with may be Di Resta to backfill?

  34. JohnBt says:

    Webber, Kimi and Alonso. Any combination will be fine. That’s how I see it.

  35. SP says:

    After Seb’s victory in Monza, I couldnt help but notice that he seemed totally awestruck by the crowds, the emotion and atmosphere as a whole. His smile and demeanor was different to that of other victories in 2011. And as the post race conference went by, the writing was on the wall – Seb wants Ferrari, its like his dream! Schumacher was/is who he looks upto, he reigned in his Ferrari days and I guess Seb is hoping to do the same. But being a dream, I’m sure one title for SV with Ferrari would more than suffice.

    Having said that, I’m sure he’ll want to stick around with RBR whilst theyre still leading to squeeze out as many stats as possible.

    Also a side note, if Kimi proves himself during his 2 year contract with LR, he may have chance with a top running team.

    I think we’re in for a few cracking years of F1! :D

  36. Thomas11 says:

    Its Newey they want, Ferrari already have the best driver in the sport.

    1. David A says:

      Newey won’t go to Ferrari, and Vettel still has more time on his side than Alonso, who is slowly being deposed as the best driver in the sport.

  37. kevin green says:

    I think if ferrari want to lure Vettel there easiest plan of attack would be to lure newey in there first? and also is it not only a matter of time before newey lands there anyway? he has been at Redbull for a while now has nothing else really to prove given what they were and what they are now after his key input. About time for the most attractive challenge of all in his field of the game nothing left to prove on the technical ability side of things good time to polish off the CV :)

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