1978 Formula 1 world champion and American racing legend Mario Andretti has praised Fernando Alonso for “keeping Ferrari alive” in 2014 as the team continues to struggle to fight at the front of the field.
The Italian marque has not won a grand prix in over a year, and this drought shows few signs of ending soon thanks to the troublesome F14 T car. Kimi Raikkonen has not enjoyed a happy return to Ferrari in 2014, scoring just 27 points from the first eleven races.
However, star driver Fernando Alonso continues to fight at the front. The Spaniard has picked up two podium finishes so far this season and came close to winning the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break.
In an interview with Formula1.com, Andretti was full of praise for the Spaniard and his efforts in 2014, but said that Raikkonen needs to up his game in the second half of the season.
“Obviously he’s moved away from Lotus, where I think it worked quite well for him, and gone back to Ferrari where he thought things would be peachy,” Andretti said with reference to Raikkonen. “But the fact that Ferrari struggled to begin with and that he’s ‘come in from the cold’, so to speak, means he’s having a tougher time than Fernando for sure.
“Fernando is one of those brilliant talents who will maximize everything you throw at him. He’s keeping Ferrari alive very well.
“He’s an enormous talent and he’s shown that all along. He just knows how to get 100% of everything he’s driving and that’s all you can ask.
“Kimi has a little bit of work to do I think.”
Until Ferrari does produce a car that could take Alonso to a third world championship, speculation about his future will continue to circulate. Currently, he is being linked with a move to McLaren for either 2015 or 2016, leaving the Spaniard with much to consider ahead of F1’s return at Spa-Francorchamps next weekend.