No concerns for Mattiacci about Raikkonen and Alonso

Leave a comment

Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci has no concerns about drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen despite a difficult season at Maranello for the Italian team.

Alonso has led the team’s charge in spite of the problematic F14 T car, and currently sits fourth in the drivers’ championship. However, McLaren is known to be chasing the Spaniard for a 2015 seat, prompting speculation about his future with Ferrari.

However, in an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Mattiacci said that he has no concerns about either of his drivers, despite some accusing Alonso of practically running the team.

“We have to work very hard and will find many tough days along the way, but we will get back to the top,” Mattiacci said, reflecting on Ferrari’s six year title drought. “I like to deliver rather than overpromise.

“It’s true, everybody is a leader at Ferrari. Everybody is running the team, including Fernando, in the way that everybody has to bring ideas. Yes, we have a very clear organization structure – and at the moment I am at the top of that organisation.”

Raikkonen’s form has been patchy in 2014, making his much-fanfared return to Ferrari rather underwhelming. He has already said that he will be retiring from F1 upon the expiration of his contract with the team at the end of next season, leading to some suggestions that the team could cut its losses at the end of the year and force the Finn out.

However, Mattiacci had nothing but praise for the 2007 world champion.

“I love Kimi,” he said. “He is one of the most talented drivers. We have had a bit of an issue delivering an outstanding car, but the team is all behind him and we have seen from his races in Hungary and Belgium that he has arrived.”

The Finn certainly showed signs of his old self by finishing fourth at Spa for Ferrari, helping the team to stay ahead of Williams in the constructors’ championship.

Mattiacci has made clear that he plans to keep both drivers on for 2015, but if the paddock chatter about Alonso’s movements is indeed true, the Italian may be forced to switch to ‘Plan B’ for his line-up.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.