Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali played down speculation about future changes in the team’s driver line-up and said they were concentrating on improving their car.
“We have spelt it out many times before: the driver topic is definitely not a priority,” said Domenicali, addressing staff in Maranello. Rumors linked Kimi Raikkonen to a return to the team he drove for between 2007 and 2009. There are also question marks over Felipe Massa’s future at Ferrari as his 2013 campaign continues to disappoint.
Domenicali wants his team’s focus to be on the car, not its drivers. “What counts is to give them the best possible chance of finishing ahead of everyone and, in order to succeed, each and every one of us must do our job to the best of our ability on all levels,” he said.
“If they have a winning car in their hands, then I am convinced they will know how to win with it. If we all believe, then we can do it!”
Domenicali urged his employees to keep the faith in their cause: “I don’t want to see any of you not believing in our fightback: each one of you must be the link in a chain of positivity that must drive the team along in what is a key moment in the season.”
“We are Ferrari and history teaches us that we must never accept we are beaten. There is much talk outside the company regarding the future, but we must concentrate only on the present, on the fight for the championship.
“The words of our president before the summer break must serve as a stimulus, because they were meant as the words of a good family father, who, first and foremost really roots for our team: keep those words in mind and let’s all pull together, starting in Spa.”
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.