No concerns for Mattiacci about Raikkonen and Alonso

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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.

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.