Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has again put the spotlight on Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s expectation of him that he will work for the team and not for himself.
The driver of whom Ron Dennis once said, “Competitive animals know no limits” and Martin Whitmarsh said, “As long as they can keep him winning I’m sure he will be happy,” comes to Maranello with a bit of baggage and Montezemolo has chosen to confront this head on. He said today that he had spoken with Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali “1,000s of times” about this subject while assessing the risks of hiring Alonso in light of the wreckage which happened at McLaren in 2007,
“I spoke with him (Alonso) and I told him that if you come to drive for us, it’s because we want you, you drive for a team, you drive for a group, you don’t drive for yourself,” said the Ferrari president. “In Ferrari we want to put you in the best condition to win. If not, we will never hire you. We know that you can win the championship — we will do our best — but you are part of it.”
This is the second time Montezemolo has made comments along these lines. This does not happen by accident because he’s had too much Christmas sherry, the comments are made for a reason and expectations are being managed on all sides here.
The dynamic with Alonso’s Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa will be one of the main talking points of the 2010 season. Massa has said that he will not be standing aside and giving Alonso a clear path to victory.
Meanhile Autosport is reporting this evening that the FOTA joint launch has again hit problems. Many teams are unhappy about the coverage they might get in the shadow of an event in Valencia headlined by Alonso and Ferrari in one corner, Schumacher and Mercedes in another with Hamilton and Button at McLaren in the supporting cast. How much air time would Force India or Toro Rosso get on a day like that?
The FOTA joint launch has been plagued with problems since the outset with PR companies invited to pitch for the work but vexed by the demands being made of them and a confused picture of what everybody wanted to achieve. At the time of the F1 commission meeting in Monaco last Thursday it seemed to have been agreed that the joint launch would go ahead as a public event with a budget of €2.4 million. But now it looks like it might be in danger of falling over.