Fernando Alonso announced on Wednesday that he intends to retire as a Ferrari driver, while the Maranello team principal Stefano Domenicali appraised the form of Felipe Massa and once failed to deny that Sebastian Vettel has a future in red.
The double world champion, and former Minardi, Renault and McLaren driver, is now comfortably Ferrari’s ‘number 1′ and regarded as perhaps the very best driver on the grid.
And already with a long contract, the Spaniard said during a Twitter interview on the Maranello team’s website that Ferrari will be his final team.
“Yes, that’s what I’m going to do,” Alonso answered when asked if he will end his career in red. “It’s the best team in the world, there’s nothing above Ferrari.”
The only problem for the 31-year-old at the moment is that, right now, he is not necessarily the fastest Ferrari driver.
Felipe Massa is right back on top form, raising the possibility that it will be the once-beleaguered Brazilian who leads the famous team’s title charge in 2013.
“It’s too early to say,” team boss Domenicali told Sport Bild on Wednesday. “But, first of all, I am happy that Felipe is in good shape, and I’m sure Fernando will be strong when it counts.”
But even with Alonso undoubtedly the lead Ferrari driver, and Massa in top form, rumours Sebastian Vettel could have a future in red overalls will not go away.
Told that he once hinted that Alonso is better than Formula 1’s reigning world champion, Domenicali insisted: “I have never said that. You know that I think very, very, very highly of Sebastian. I take my hat off to him.”
“Even thought his critics say he had the best car and most of the luck, you only need to look at his statistics. His successes are simply facts,” the Italian said.
Domenicali even suggested that Alonso and Vettel could co-exist at Ferrari, “If both drivers are smart and the team manages the situation with clear rules”.
“Never say never,” concluded the Ferrari F1 boss. (GMM)