Ferrari has finally confirmed the worst-kept secret in the F1 paddock in the build-up to this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix
at Suzuka, by announcing that double world champion Fernando Alonso
will replace fellow former title-winner Kimi Raikkonen
alongside the recovering Felipe Massa
The question is, did the Scuderia
get it right? In recent years, Alonso has developed something of an unenviable reputation for throwing his toys out of the pram should things not go his way – just ask the Spaniard's old McLaren-Mercedes team principal Ron Dennis – and for demanding unequivocal number one status inside a team, something that would doubtless not go down well with Massa.
The Brazilian, for his part, is continuing to convalesce at home from the high-speed knock to the head he received from an errant Brawn GP
suspension spring during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix
at the Hungaroring
back in July. Whilst Ferrari
is confident that the São Paulista will be fighting fit again in time for the start of the 2009 F1 campaign, whether the 28-year-old will still be the same driver who ran Lewis Hamilton
to within a single point of the laurels last year remains to be seen.
One positive aspect for Massa is the retention of record-breaking seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher at Maranello as a key advisor, with the German treating his ex team-mate as something of a protégé. 'Schumi' never had the same relationship with the departing Raikkonen, but the Finn – who clinched the crown at the end of his maiden campaign with Ferrari
in 2007 – has recently redisplayed the kind of form that carried him to that title, leading some observers to muse that the team has been too hasty in dispensing with the 29-year-old's services off the back of a poor 2008, particularly given the ongoing uncertainty about whether or not Massa really will ultimately be able to return.
Should Felipe not be capable of doing so, that would leave his temporary replacement and new Ferrari
reserve driver Giancarlo Fisichella
in pole position to rejoin his former Renault
team-mate Alonso in the race-driving line-up in 2010, though the experienced Italian has struggled to adapt to the notoriously difficult F60 in his two races for the Prancing Horse so far in Italy and Singapore.
So now's your chance to share your views – who should Ferrari's race drivers have been in 2010?
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