Arrivabene: Alonso not to blame for Ferrari’s 2014 woes

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Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene does not believe that Fernando Alonso was to blame for the internal issues that blighted the Italian marque’s 2014 campaign.

Last year saw Ferrari endure its worst season in over 20 years as neither Alonso nor teammate Kimi Raikkonen managed to win a race.

Across the course of 2014, a gradual revolution took place at Maranello as the old regime was ushered out.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, team principals Stefano Domenicali and Marco Mattiacci and a number of other top personnel lost their jobs across the course of the year, with Alonso leaving in December to join McLaren.

Ferrari is now under the presidency of Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, with Maurizio Arrivabene taking up the role of team principal as he hopes to lead the team into a new era.

However, he does not believe that Alonso was to blame for the internal divisions that warranted such drastic changes at Maranello.

“I don’t think it’s fair to point the finger at Fernando,” Arrivabene said. “It was the overall situation. When people are under pressure they are going to be divided. This creates a kind of mess in the team.

“Accusing Fernando is not my intention. I have a lot of respect for Fernando. We have a good relationship. I’m not putting the finger on him.”

Despite wanting to leave, Alonso was Ferrari’s leading points scorer as Kimi Raikkonen embarked on the toughest season of his F1 career. The Finn finished 12th in the standings, but Arrivabene is not concerned about these problems continuing in 2015.

“Kimi had a simple problem: he was not feeling the car,” Arrivabene said. “It was not the right car for Kimi. It was not the right car for Fernando either, actually. Kimi suffered a bit more than Fernando, but now he’s feeling the car better.

“He said to us that the [2015] car is an improvement. Kimi is very motivated and is getting on very well with Seb. I think this is great. But it was the overall situation that was a big mess.”

Ahead of winter testing, Arrivabene set Ferrari the target of winning two races in 2015. Despite the team finishing inside the top two on every single day of pre-season so far, the team principal is unwilling to revise his goals.

“I’m not so crazy to change the objective now,” Arrivabene said. “The objective stays the same. Ferrari wants to win two races, that’s more than fine. Three would be perfect. For four races I will run without shoes for 100km up the hill to Maranello!

“The objective is still the same. The drivers are looking to win every race of course. This is their job and what they are paid for. I want to keep our feet on the ground and be realistic. This is still our objective. We will see during the season.”