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Ferrari driver situation ‘has changed’
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Ferrari driver situation ‘has changed’
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Sep 2009   |  11:13 pm GMT  |  101 comments

Things are moving quickly now in the one key move in the driver market which will unlock the others. Today Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said “In the last couple of days the situation has changed, so we will keep you updated as soon as we can say something. At the moment nothing to add on that.”

Photo: Ferrari

Photo: Ferrari


What did he mean?

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was in Madrid on Thursday and took part in a question and answer session with the readers of Marca, the leading daily sports paper. He was collecting one of their awards. He allowed himself to get a bit carried away, as he does sometimes, and said the following,

” I’m happy with the five year deal with Bank Santander. I’m happy to have a Spanish sponsor and I’m pleased with my team with Alonso.”

He was toying with them because he then said, “Next year we will have Massa, Raikkonen and a Spanish sponsor.”

It’s almost as if he is enjoying the moment, the speculation and is feeding it. However he did say get serious and lay out the plan, “Up to now the priority was to confirm Massa was okay in himself. Then we needed to get some certainty he would be okay as a driver. We’ve got that and Felipe will be with us. In these last few days we have cleared up a few things and when Domenicali returns from Singapore we can decide some important things. All the great driver have passed through Ferrari apart from Clark, Stewart and Senna. I consider Alonso a great driver.”

So it seems we are possibly a week or so away from knowing whether the Alonso Ferrari move is on or not, nine months after it was first mooted in Gazzetta dello Sport.

What has changed? Perhaps on his visit to Spain, Montezemolo got some kind of assurance from Santander that they would be willing to put up the extra funds needed to make the early transfer of Alonso to Ferrari in place of Raikkonen.

Perhaps Alonso is more keen to distance himself from Renault and the cheating scandal, just as Michael Schumacher was in 1995, with the same team when it was Benetton. The parallels between Alonso’s career and Schumacher’s are amazing, both had early opportunities with Flavio Briatore’s team, both won back to back titles then had a fallow period. Maybe the pattern continues with the move to Ferrari.

Raikkonen said on Thursday, “I believe that they want to speak to me about this. But it hasn’t happened yet.” Indeed, Italian colleagues tell me that Raikkonen has been seeking a meeting with Montezemolo but has yet to get a date from him. His name continues to be linked with McLaren but the team denied that there was a pre-contract in place.

As for Massa, Domenicali gave an update on his condition today, “Felipe makes steady progress: he started a programme of physical exercise and preparations to drive. The next step will be the simulator and then he can drive a kart. When he can get back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 single-seater, we’ll decide when the next steps have been completed.”

A final note on Montezemolo, he was asked whether he felt he was ‘Mosley’s next victim’, to which he replied, ” In life you must have a clear conscience and fear nothing.”

This weekend looks like being a tough one for Ferrari, with many of their rivals having brought upgrades. Ferrari stopped development of the car over a month ago to focus on 2010, “Clearly, when evaluating today’s free practice times, one has to consider the various unknown factors, but it is equally clear that our situation looks pretty difficult,” said Domenicali.

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101comments

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1

Kimi’s championship is one of my favorite. I don’t have favorite drivers or teams. Just years to look back on. And Formula One will never see a come from behind like that one again. It was accomlished by a Ferrari driver from Finland. So, an end to an era. And I expect Kimi to push right to the end of season.

2

“And I expect Kimi to push right to the end of season.”

NOT going to happen he is done and no desire, the only way he does have desire….he only drive quick when he wants too.

3

You obviously haven’t been watching the races right after massa was out of the way. Your bias awfully obvious.

4

I have just seen a poor copy of an email or document of sorts that suggest Brawn will be letting go of Button to have Nico and Kimi Raikkonen on board should Kimi will inded accept leaving Ferrari.

Mercedes has the say in the matter as I understand it, they are not very keen on button or Rubens, they feel this year’s car would have given even more results if it were two divers drivers like Nico Or Kimi for that matter. Ofcourse we all know Rubens has not a lot of years left in him and Button while being solid is not title material or a great prospect for the long term.

Cant say much about Renault of Ferrari line ups, but from what I have seen I can say this pretty confidently about Brawn’s plans for next year. I do believe the document/email I have seen is truly genuine.

5
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

JPM will not come back to F1 unfortunately. He can’t keep off the hamburgers.

6

McLaren-Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

Felipe Massa

Fernando Alonso

Renault

Robert Kubica

Lucas Di Grassi

Williams

Nico Hülkenberg

Rubens Barrichello

Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel

Mark Webber

Brawn GP

Jenson Button

Nico Rosberg

Campos Meta Team

Bruno Senna

Jaime Alguersuari

Force India

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Karun Chandhok

Toro Rosso

Jarno Trulli

Sebastian Buemi

US F1

Juan Pablo Montoya

Scott Speed

Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen

Timo Glock

Manor GP

Nick Heidfeld

Kazuki Nakajima

Toyota are off this list because they’re clearly not going to arrive in Sakhir for the first race, but if they do expect it to be Adrian Sutil and Timo Glock doing the driving.

7

I never supported Ferrari until Kimi came on board. It is bcoz of many unprofessionalism of them handling any situation. For example they way they handle team order of Schumacher and Rubens. The way when they wanted to bring Kimi to the team and how they force Schumacher off (even he is so called the VIP to the family). Now, when they wanted Alonso, they did the same to Kimi.

F1 is not about hooha when you win, jump up punching the sky like nobody biz (Ferrari culture likes this), and its also not about showing how many races you have won with your fingers……I just hate this show off gestures that fits into Ferrari culture. Kimi dont do that, I think that is the reason he is labelled as not part of the family.

Shame on you Ferrari, Kimi – you should just move on (after they pay you back salary). There are other great teams that deserve you more than Ferrari

8

Luca has been a big proponent in what the fans want to see and filling up those seats at Monza. And with all the bad publicity this year, a marketable persona is very important to Ferrari. Does Massa fill those seats on his own?

Kimi is a bullet proof, fast driver, but I think there are more people wanting to Alonso in red. To me that, and Satander money, is what seals the deal.

9

I guess the $40 million dollar question is how Massa and Alonso fair at Ferrari. No doubt Massa is loved, but Alonso can be very Schumacherish and I think he will beat Massa at the mind games. We all saw how Massa over reacted at the Euro GP two years ago when Alonso passed him in the rain. His emotions were all over his sleeve as he chased Alonso around the back room yelling and Alonso just smiled.

I can’t see Hamilton or Kimi letting Alonso know how they felt even if they were mad. Massa has got to learn to control his emotions a bit and soon.

10
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I mean did exactly the same to MS.

11
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Surely given the way he is being treated, Kimi should have a case for constructive dismissal.

LDM is not giving him the respect that he deserves while focusing on luring Alonso.

Funny….given that he did exactly the same in 2006 when he was luring Kimi.

12

Oops. Delete KM, add KR. Sorry.

13

FM & KM. Thanks but no FredEx please.

14

From the picture, it looks like what’s changed is that the Spaniards have given Luca a gold brick to take on that dirty cheat Alonso.

I wish Kimi would land at Brawn, but McLaren will do, I guess.

15

wewillsee.

16

Kimi is upset about performance, maybe he is moving on. Or maybe he is pushing team for improvement because he’s staying there for next year.

17
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Will be very interesting to see how the team atmosphere develops at Ferrari should the Alonso move take place.

Massa is heavily supported by Schumacher. Kimi managed to ignore Schumacher’s ever looming shadow. Is Alonso cool enough to do the same?

18

Alonso and Massa in Ferrari against Kimi and Lewis in McLaren would be a killer.

19

F1 used to be about the fastest cars with the fastest drivers. Now it is just about the Primadonna Team leaders and F1 bosses. They are more in the headlines than the races.

20

A friend who works for a marketing company that has connections with Ferrari says Kimi’s reaction (lack of a reaction) to Massa’a accident has put Kimi firmly “outside” of the Ferrari family. He’s just not seen as a Ferrari man.

21

All this family stuff is very heart warming. Is this a racing team, or shall we get mummy and daddy and lovable uncle michael and the rest and turn the whole thing into a tv sitcom instead?

22

That’s been going on for some time, in fairness.

23

I’m told it was the last straw.

24

I am so put off by Luca’s game and play of words. I think decision is already made that Ferrari will bring in Alonso in 2010. So be it and please pay Kimi then everybody can move on.

Hopefully Kimi will go back to McLaren in a good car next year!

James, can you please shed some light how’s a driver’s “performance clause” like? It is relative to one’s team mate, or by setting a target of certain number of points? Thanks.

25

It is funny… 2 years ago Alonso’s stock was rock bottom. He had lost out to a rookie(yes Hamilton is great but he was a rookie that year) and worse he acted like a spoiled brat.

Flavio takes him back and gives him a horrible teammate to make him look all the faster, rigs a race for him, and the next thing you know the press is a buzz with….. “Alonso needs a top drive, he is great”

Hamilton and Kimi at Macca would be the buzz of the off season for sure

26

Don’t agree it was rock bottom. Hamilton gave him a wake up call, but he still drove very well that year, on the whole and would have won the title if McLaren had cut him some slack. He lost some cred over the emails business with the spy scandal, but there was never any feeling that he wasn’t top drawer as a driver.

27

My thoughts exactly James – and let’s remember he didn’t lose out to a rookie. They scored exactly the same number of points, in spite of the team being focussed on Hamilton. Also, let’s also remember that Alonso lost out on the championship because Massa moved over for Kimi at Brazil. Fair enough, in my book, but many people come up with this “Alonso got spanked by a rookie” stuff and it’s simply not true.

I was disappointed that Alonso’s spell at McLaren didn’t work out; what might have been? Hopefully his move to Ferrari will provide us with 2 closely matched drivers who will push each other.

28

“The Scuderia is bailing on him.” The Scuderia are bailing on him, poor chap.

29

This was going to be Massa’s year, so I thought. What class he had shown, in his home race no less! On to 2009 and………..it’s Jenson and Rubens! Such are the fortunes of Formula One. I remember my skull fracture. When passing from heat into cold or vice versa, you sense that the bone is contracting at different rates, an odd sensation for the first year. You are sensative to reinjuring it, we are talking your head here. Ferrari wants to give Felipe his due, then release him and hire Fernando Alonso. Maybe Massa can get that crown one day, wouldn’t that be something? But right now he is damaged goods, and cannot possibly drive well enough to deserve that seat. I hope he proves me wrong. The Scuderia is bailing on him, Alonso is available. And this delay is out of respect for Massa-who deserves a lot of it.

30

Robert,

Too much detail about your head. It was like nails on a balckboard.

31

A shame if they loose Kimi. Alonso is good, however Kimi has proved to be an excellent driver. I agree that his attitude is not always the best (the popsicle and Cola incident).

Anyway, for me it’s a shame that F1 is now more about politics than what happens on track. If Ferrari wants Alonso, then make Santander pay for Kimi’s money and everybody happy. Even Montezemolo said that Kimi is a loyal driver, then show some respect and if you’re going to fire him, do it but with class.

Hope Kimi lands a seat in a good team so he can show (like in the past races) what he can do. For me, as a Ferrari fan, I will support Massa and Kimi wherever he goes.

32

James, I miss your commentating….

I think its really terrible the way Ferrari is treating KM. What if they release him to Mclaren or somethor team and next year he wins the WDC?

33

How bout how KR treats them…keeps the money and does not drive until he feels like he has to…..

34

Tim… Who has scored the most Ferrari points this season with a really lousy Ferrari?

I think he has done the best he can given the performance of the car!!!!

35

Right and he gives it all ….all the time….and of course we know how it would have turned out because FM got to finish the season …so yes you are correct KR did get the most points

36

Well so be it.

37

F60 is a twitchy car and for Kimi to have done so well in the last 4 races is not the car… Ferrari should have more focused on him, they cant offer same treatment for two drivers. (After that famous call on the Melbourne podium in 2007 lot of things have gone wrong). Schumacher is one who was always turning team in a direction of Massa. Now, what ever they do with Kimi it would more speak about Ferrari and how they do things. To loose such a driver is silly. And to drowe comparison between Kimi, Alonso and Schumacher, if he was half as greedy and conditional, like those two, he would have at list half the score of Schumacher titles.

38

How about over 40 millions a year greedy?

39

Its not about money… they make more than enough. Its about team preferential treatment. As you are aware I’m sure…

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