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Alonso better for Ferrari than Raikkonen, says Domencali

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali explains the reasons behind the Scuderia's decision to replace Kimi Raikkonen with Fernando Alonso for F1 2010 - and why he believes the Spaniard can be as good as Michael Schumacher...
It appears there have been few tears shed at Ferrari following 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen's departure to make way for Fernando Alonso next year, with Stefano Domenicali contending that the Spaniard is 'better' at development and motivating the team than the no-nonsense Finn, and has the potential to be 'similar to [Michael] Schumacher'.

Raikkonen claimed the crown in his first season with the Scuderia two years ago, but in 2008 his form dropped off dramatically, amidst accusations that his commitment had gone and his heart was no longer in it. Despite a brief resurgence after team-mate Felipe Massa's Hungaroring accident thrust him into the role of de facto team leader over the second half of 2009, the writing had long since been on the wall for the man from Espoo and rallying beckoned.

Following Alonso's first two visits to Ferrari's Italian headquarters, an engineer remarked that 'in two days he has seen more of the Maranello factory than others in two years' – understood to have been a scarcely-veiled reference to the Oviedo native's predecessor [see separate story – click here] – and now team principal Domenicali seems to corroborate such sentiments.

“Ferrari needs someone for the team similar to Schumi,” he told German publication Auto Bild, explaining the need for a more natural leader. “[Raikkonen is] very fast, but also very closed. In a car that is capable of winning, he was and is perfect – but if the car needs to be developed and the team fired up, Alonso is better.”

Prior to arriving at McLaren-Mercedes for his ill-fated single-year sojourn at Woking back in 2007, Alonso had boasted that his development skills could produce as much as an extra second's worth of lap time from a car. However, that season saw the 28-year-old fall out spectacularly with team-mate Lewis Hamilton and more particularly the McLaren management and team principal Ron Dennis, with whom he rarely saw eye-to-eye. There are fears that the presence of two Latin characters at Ferrari in 2010 in the political Alonso and apolitical Massa might lead to similar friction – but Domenicali is swift to dismiss such notions.

“I've spoken to Fernando about [what happened at] McLaren,” the Italian revealed. “He felt betrayed, and also that his relationship with Lewis was not always correct. At Maranello that will not happen – I can guarantee that.”

In Raikkonen's defence, it has been noted by former ITV-F1 commentator James Allen that one of the reasons the 18-time grand prix-winner was hired in the first place was that his predilection for doing his talking on the track was regarded by then Ferrari team principal Jean Todt as a strength rather than a weakness. However, his friend Tony Wilander's comments when it was first announced that Raikkonen would be joining the Prancing Horse were perhaps the most telling of all.

“How will the Ferrari team be with Kimi?” he mused. “Very different from Schumacher's. Let's not forget that Michael arrived at Ferrari together with people who had already worked with him at Benetton. Kimi, by contrast, doesn't know anyone. On top of that, Kimi's less of a perfectionist, and he will not visit the factory as often. However, I'm sure it will be enough to win the championship.”

It has also been reported that the 2010 Ferrari F1 challenger will feature distinctive nose bumps, like those seen on Red Bull Racing's RB5 this year.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Team Principal Ferrari, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 24-26th, April, 2009
Peter Gethin sat in his BRM at the 1972 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch
Lotus E22 with Hisense sponsorship
Sebatian Vettel and David Coulthard at the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi - Pic credit: Infiniti
24.08.2014- Race, Start of the race
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
24.08.2014- Race, Andre Lotterer (GER), Caterham F1 Team
24.08.2014- Race, Peter Sauber (SUI), Sauber F1 Team motorhome
24.08.2014- Race, Press conference, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10
24.08.2014- Race, Celebration, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10 race winner
24.08.2014- Race, 1st position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10, 2nd position Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and 3rd position Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 with Adrian Newey (GBR), Red Bull Racing , Technical Operations Director
24.08.2014- Race, Celebration, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10 race winner
24.08.2014- Race, Press conference, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
24.08.2014- Race, 1st position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10, 2nd position Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and 3rd position Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 with Adrian Newey (GBR), Red Bull Racing , Technical Operations Director
24.08.2014- Race, Chequered flag for Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10 race winner
24.08.2014- Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07 and Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
24.08.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05

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Racing Lover - Unregistered

December 08, 2009 1:05 PM

What I can see is the way of Ferrari going back to mediocre team, just like before Schumacher era in Ferrari. They will not be able to manage this team better. 2009 campaign has demonstrated that! When McLaren was clearly have sorted out their problem at second stage of 2009 season, Ferrari was no where!! They luckily won in Belgium just because Raikkonen's effort!! But Hamilton won two races easily in 2009 in superior car on track! Ferrari has changed a lot! The team is supposed to be managed by non italian people!



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