Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has dismissed suggestions that he may be facing a challenge to his authority from lead driver Fernando Alonso.
As the Scuderia struggles to keep pace with Red Bull
– and, latterly, Mercedes – in the 2013 F1 world championship, Alonso has not been slow to express his views, to the point where he was publicly rebuked by chairman Luca di Montezemolo after suggesting that his ideal birthday present would have been 'someone else's car'. Domenicali, however, insists that the Spaniard is not getting above himself amid speculation that there is a 'power struggle' in progress at Maranello.
“No, no, this is something that I totally reject,” he told the official F1 website, “This is a team sport. If you are alone in the business, you can win or lose alone, but that's not the concept of F1.
“It is a super-competitive environment where you are a hero when you win and a zero when you lose - there is not really something in between for us. Be sure that we are united to win - because that's what we are here for.”
With just the 2008 constructors' crown to show for his time in charge, Domenicali says he understands di Montezemolo's recent call to arms for the whole team.
“He is our chairman and he is very passionate about this part of his job, this side of the business,” he reasoned, “It is normal that he is very pushy with us because we had a really difficult July. It was a sign of attention from him - we know we need to be focused and he reminded us that we have to be united to pass this difficult moment.”
Dismissing suggestions that he is too soft to be in charge of the F1 focal point that is Ferrari, Domenicali admits that being team principal of the most storied team in the sport is not an easy task.
“I've heard that story now for 30 years, so I don't care,” he said of those passing judgement on his ability, “I am not interested in these things. It is part of the game.
“There are so many Monday morning quarterbacks out there who, one day after the game, know exactly how it should have gone, but that is not enough. You have to be conscious of the position, of the responsibility and the weight. Take it or leave it, but what we have and everything that happens or doesn't happen here is multiplied by a magnitude that is incredible. So it's not easy handling this pressure.
“At the end of the day, there is one thing that is amazing: despite what you can sometimes read in certain sections of the media, the passion - the positive passion - around Ferrari
is incredible. This is something that makes you proud of being here to fight. That is unique. I can assure you that there are a million people who would like to sit in this chair. At the moment, it's me, and I try to do the maximum for the benefit of this fantastic team.”