Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, who will be team mates at Ferrari next season, have spoken in the Singapore paddock about the prospect, playing down speculation that the relationship will be fiery.
Alonso spoke first, alongside Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali and his current team mate Felipe Massa.
“I was always informed of the team movements,” said Alonso. “Until the last moment the team didn’t make a decision and when they decided to change Felipe they asked my opinion and it was that Kimi was the best choice there in the market, especially for a championship with many changes for next year, in terms of developing the car in January and February. Having a driver who has been in F1 for many years was important. They chose Kimi so I am happy.
“No one will push me more than I push now.”
“(Having) Two world champions doesn’t make any difference. It’s not like one title will make a difference in terms of pushing,” Alonso added.
Raikkonen appeared later in the FIA press conference and made it clear that his decision to leave Lotus was motivated by financial considerations, while he played down suggestions that his arrival will lead to fiery moments with Alonso. He also dismissed suggestions that his sacking from Ferrari in 2009 had left a bad taste in his mouth.
“I never had a bad feeling with them, ” he said “I knew my contract (with Lotus) would end at the end of this year so I needed to make a decision
“There were a lot of things (Lotus could have done to keep him) and they know what it is. It’s hard to say what would have happened if they had done them
“I know the team (Ferrari) and the people, mostly the same. So it won’t be too difficult to go there. The cars will be very different so getting the cars sorted and getting them reliable.
Raikkonen said that he doesn’t think he will have any problems with Alonso within Ferrari. Although acknowledging that two champions are likely to have some moments where things get stressful or difficult he feels that their maturity will mean that they should be able to sort things out between them,
“I don’t see why it wouldn’t work we are old enough to know what we are doing,” he said. “If there is something I’m sure we can talk it through. It’s not like we are 20 year olds. For sure there will be hard fights on the circuit.”
Domenicali said that having two champions in the team would not change his approach to management,
“I will not change my style I will not change the way that we handle situations from a team perspective,” he said.
Asked directly whether Lotus owing him money was a prime motivator for him to leave the team Raikkonen confirmed that he left because of the money side and the non-payment of his salary.