Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has laughed off suggestions that the signing of Kimi Raikkonen is a public snub to current star driver Fernando Alonso, insisting that the Spaniard has a long future with the team.
Speculation surrounding Alonso’s future emerged at the Hungarian Grand Prix after he publicly criticized the design team of the F138 car following a difficult weekend. His manager was also pictured speaking with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, sparking rumors that he could be angling a move to the defending world champions. Further to that, Alonso has history of preferring a subservient teammate, leaving McLaren after just one year in 2007 due to then-rookie Lewis Hamilton’s pace. However, Domenicali does not envisage such problems.
“For anyone thinking that the choice of Kimi is somehow an anti-Alonso choice, I can put their minds at rest: at Ferrari, everyone knows the interests of the team come first and only then those of the individual,” he said on the team website. “Fernando is a key asset for this team and he will be for a long time.”
Domenicali is also sure that Alonso will welcome a teammate who is stronger than Felipe Massa, with Ferrari failing to seriously challenge for the constructors’ championship since 2008.
“I’m sure he [Alonso] is the first to be happy with a choice made to strengthen the group, because he is too intelligent not to realise that a stronger team can only be an advantage,” Domenicali explained.
Raikkonen’s move appears to give Ferrari the strongest driver pairing for 2014, with the team’s line-up boasting three world championships and fifty-two wins.