Ferrari eyes Vettel and makes peace with Ecclestone
Scuderia Ferrari
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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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 🙂


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


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.


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! 😀


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


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?


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

Happy Christmas everyone!


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 🙂


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,



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.


Finally……sense prevails…….


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


Well… Merry Christmas James 🙂


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 🙂


Thanks. Merry Christmas to you and all the readers


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

Merry Christmas everyone.


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!


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.


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?


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


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.


“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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


I’ll place a side bet on that as well!

2013: Alonsa/Webber at SF.


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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? 🙂


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


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.


I mean as a type of driver


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.


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.


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.


“Better than Button” I meant to say.


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



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.

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