Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has said he expects to see Fernando Alonso
benefit from the challenge of being partnered with Kimi Raikkonen
for the 2014 F1 season.
The pair will join forces next year after Raikkonen re-signed for the team on a two-year deal, having previously been replaced by Alonso when he was released from his previous deal a year early at the end of 2009.
The battle between the two is expected to be one of the main talking points next year and di Montezemolo said he was looking forward to seeing how the pair do against each other – comparing Raikkonen to former Ferrari
man Niki Lauda for the way in which his career has panned out.
“Raikkonen is a case almost identical to that of Lauda,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport
. “Niki also said 'enough' at one point because he was sick with Formula One. I speak of the twin brother of Kimi [in 2009], because the driver we had was not the same one we had hired.
"The break has been good for him, he has returned to greatness, he's won races, he's finished lots of races. I wanted a driver who wouldn't make me look back on Massa with regret and I've got one. I want more victories, consistency, podiums from Raikkonen.
“Alonso will be the first to benefit and I'm happy he [Raikkonen] is back among us; the Ferrari
employees have welcomed the news because he left good memories. Returning to Lauda, when he returned with renewed energy he beat Prost to the title… ”
Alonso had expressed his desire to see Ferrari
keep hold of Felipe Massa
for the 2014 season but di Montezemolo said the Spaniard had been kept on the loop throughout the decision making process and was pleased with the new signing.
"Fernando has always been aware of the choice of Raikkonen," he said. "Today Raikkonen is the strongest of everyone, along with Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. Alonso is the first to be happy with his arrival."