Fernando Alonso has been instantly accepted by his new Ferrari colleagues, it appears – with one quipping that 'in two days he has seen more of the Maranello factory than others in two years', believed to be a thinly-veiled reference to his predecessor Kimi Raikkonen – but he acknowledges that he still has to 'earn their trust'.
Alonso was speaking following his second trip to the legendary Italian marque's Modena headquarters since agreeing terms to join the squad from 2010 onwards, during which he met with the workforce and enthusiastically drove a brace of Ferrari road cars – the 458 Italy and 599 – around the Fiorano test track.
“I have to earn the trust and gain the confidence of the team and begin a good relationship with the engineers and mechanics,” the 28-year-old is quoted as having said by Spanish sports newspaper Marca
. “That is what I am trying to do in these months, in order to arrive at the first race with a good understanding with the team so that we all feel comfortable together.”
Alonso added that he has not taken with him to the Scuderia
any of the engineers he worked with during his seven-year F1 stint at Renault, admitting that whilst 'I get along very well with many of them and they are very good...I assume that the ones with Ferrari are the best in the world'.
It seems the Oviedo native certainly made a strong first impression on his new team, speaking in fluent Italian and causing one engineer to make the aforementioned quip, alluding to the fact that 2007 F1 World Champion Raikkonen scarcely bothered to visit Maranello at all during his time spent at Ferrari, as his motivation and commitment were increasingly called into question.
“It's a matter of personality,” concurred the Prancing Horse's President Luca di Montezemolo, “because Kimi is the type of person that shows little emotion – he keeps everything inside. These things don't help with the exchange of information inside the team.”
What's more, new team-mate Felipe Massa opined that he and Alonso can combine to be a force to be reckoned with in 2010 indeed, and dismissed notions that he will be cast into a supporting role by the arrival of the double F1 World Champion – the driver who many hold to be the best in the world.
“Alonso is a great driver – everyone knows that – and I think we will have a good relationship off the track,” underlined Massa. “I think we can form the strongest partnership in the championship. I think his arrival will change nothing in my career or within Ferrari; we are two great drivers, and his recruitment is good for the team.”