Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has attempted to put a lid on speculation linking triple F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel
with a move to Maranello.
The German has been mooted as a potential Ferrari
driver since claiming his first world title three seasons ago, and it has even been suggested that he has signed a deal to take him to Italy for the 2014 season. While Red Bull
Racing refutes that such an agreement exists, it is understood that Vettel has performance-related clauses built into his current RBR contract, but the biggest obstacle to a move could already lie in Maranello.
Fernando Alonso has worked hard to mould the Scuderia in his image, and is the clear number one whatever the team may say about equality. As a result, it is unlikely that he would welcome the threat from Vettel being brought in-house, even if the team considers the German an improvement over Felipe Massa.
Domenicali, speaking on the opening day of the annual Wroom
media event in the ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio, admitted that, while the thought of pairing five world titles in scarlet was obviously an enticing one, it was not something he could envisage happening any time soon.
“Could Vettel and Alonso one day be part of a dream team?” he mused, “I think our president has already commented on this subject several times: a dream team is fantastic if it is correctly managed but, at the moment, we are not looking at that, because we want to ensure the team is as well balanced as possible.
“You have to be very careful, not just in F1, but in sport in general, because, sometimes, putting together all the number ones can lead to more negatives than positives.”
Alonso's form in 2012, particularly given the fact that his Ferrari
was far from the best machine on the grid, earned the Spaniard plaudits from every corner, but Domenicali wasn't about to shy away from the fact that the team was culpable when it came to Vettel becoming the first to reach three titles.
“Fernando had an amazing season,” he continued, “We've been saying that for three years now, but he continues to astonish everyone. His strength as a champion and his great fighting spirit is a guarantee for himself and for the team, [but] our responsibility is to give him a car with which he can make the most of his abilities and his killer instinct.”
Alonso came up three points short of denying Vettel the championship in 2012, but his way of doing business attracted criticism from the more out-spoken sections of Red Bull, which claimed that he was too adept at playing a psychological and political game in order to get what he wanted [ see separate story
“As usual, there are people who try and stir up the politics, believing they will provoke a reaction, but I am deaf to these things and I believe Fernando is totally focused on his performance,” Domenicali concluded, “I can assure you that the team will give its answer on the track, with deeds not words.”