di Montezemolo Explains Why Alonso is at Ferrari and Not Raikkonen


What Happens When Ferrari Stakes a Little PR for Itself

12:11am EST — While news today has been dominated by the Michael Schumacher return to F1 competition with Mercedes GP Petrnoas, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has been talking about the man some consider to be a worthy replacement for the German at Ferrari: Fernando Alonso.

Quoted in an ITV story published Wednesday, Montezemolo said “we have been watching him [Alonso] since 2007 and [team principal, Stefano] Domenicali discussed it with me this summer…we realized that our team needed a driver capable of really getting involved with the engineers, a characteristic that was not part of Kimi’s genetic make-up, even though he is an amazingly talented guy…we were aware that something else was needed for the way we operate and therefore, we opted for Alonso.”

Alonso himself feels as though he is at the best moment of his career, which could coincide nicely with a PR push by Ferrari to soften the blow of Schumacher’s return to F1 with Mercedes, as suggested by SJ yesterday, or the Ferrari recognizes that they have much work to do to catch up with some of the other teams, as they lost development time with Raikkonen in and Massa out.

Much has been said about Raikkonen’s ability to drive but unwillingness to, perhaps, work together with the team instead of just showing up and driving fast.  Alonso speaks fluent Italian and is known to be more of a developmental driver.  He has been forced to be, with a poorly performing Renault and always crashing teammates recently.  While there have been some difficulties in the past for Alonso at a team where he felt under-appreciated (and, I have to say, justifiably so: a two-time world champion should be celebrated over a rookie, no matter how fast or long the rookie has been at the team), the situation with Ferrari seems to be one which both driver and team are excited about.  With stiff competition and a dismal season to put behind them, Ferrari is decidedly looking to improve in 2010.

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