Montezemolo: Putting together Alonso and Raikkonen could be dangerous

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will be teammates

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will be teammates

Kimi Raikkonen is no more a fan of Formula 1 simulators than Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo but the Finn can expect to be spending a lot of time in one now that he is back at Maranello.

The start of a new year marks both a new phase and a return for the ‘Iceman’, the 2007 World Champion who is back in the red overalls of the Italian team he left in 2009 to make way for Fernando Alonso.

The 34-year-old has moved from Lotus to team up with Spaniard Alonso in the sport’s only current line-up of Champions. He has plenty of work to do with the first pre-season test in Jerez now only weeks away.

“Kimi will be extremely busy [from] the beginning of January to work in this strange machine that I don’t like at all, the simulator,” Montezemolo told reporters over a pre-Christmas lunch in Italy last month.

Luca di Montezemolo

Luca di Montezemolo

“It’s a joke. We have been forced to invest a huge amount of money in this terrible, artificial, machine instead of being allowed to test here [at Fiorano] and at Mugello.”

Montezemolo has long pushed for a return to in-season track testing, something which has been heavily limited as part of cost-saving measures, rather than relying on virtual technology.

Four two-day post-race tests in Europe are allowed this year but they replace an annual three-day young driver test and each team’s current allowance of eight days promotional track time.

Teams, who have had to reduce significantly the amount of wind tunnel testing they do before a cost cap is introduced next year, are working flat out on their new cars with the sport going through a rule change revolution.

Ferrari V6 turbo engine 059/3

Ferrari V6 turbo engine 059/3

The old 2.4-litre V8 engines have been ditched, with a new and less thirsty 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged power unit with energy recovery systems introduced in its place.

All drivers will have to come to terms with the new technology, and different ways of racing, and have already been putting in the laps around familiar circuits in their team simulators to get a taste of how the cars will handle.

Raikkonen, who underwent back surgery in November and missed the last two races of the 2013 season, is not big on them. This time last year, the Finn was widely quoted as saying he felt he could learn nothing in such a machine.

In 2012, ahead of his first Indian Grand Prix in his comeback season, he told reporters: “I’m not like other drivers, so I haven’t driven the simulator to learn it.”

Luca di Montezemolo with Kimi Raikkonen in 2007

Luca di Montezemolo with Kimi Raikkonen in 2007

Raikkonen is expected to be first to try out the new car at Jerez, with last year’s Championship runner-up Alonso joining the test later. Their their partnership will be closely watched for signs of strain between the two.

Montezemolo, who once warned against having “two roosters in the same henhouse”, said he wanted two team players and assured reporters that he was not worried.

“Putting together Alonso and Raikkonen could be dangerous. But in Formula 1…everything is potential danger,” he said.

“I think that Fernando knows that he drives not for himself but for Ferrari. And Raikkonen knows that he is in the second half of his career, two very important years for him, with experience and responsibilities.”

Describing Raikkonen as a “very correct guy” who was fully motivated and concentrated, the Italian said that the Finn’s talents would mean that Alonso was no longer fighting a lone battle up front against his rivals and would have someone pushing him hard.

Kimi Raikkonen with Stefano Domenicali

Kimi Raikkonen with Stefano Domenicali

“[Team principal Stefano] Domenicali has spoken very clearly to both of them,” added Montezemolo.

“They have the honour and the responsibility to drive for Ferrari and every driver knows that he has to drive not for himself but for the team.

“If a driver wants to drive for himself, there are many possibilities. They can do their own team, they can go in a different team but in Ferrari these are the rules.”

Raikkonen remains Ferrari’s most recent World Champion, with the sport’s most successful outfit finishing third overall last season behind Champions Red Bull and runners-up Mercedes.

Alonso, Champion with Renault in 2005 and 2006, has been runner-up to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in three of the last four years. (Reuters)

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  • Butterfly

    I’m starting to think Ferrari were sure Fernando would leave the team for 2014 and that’s why they brought Raikkonen in. I also get the feeling they’re starting to regret the move.

    It’s kind of awkward to bring Kimi to do the same as Felipe but at a much higher salary.

    A bit of knee-jerk reaction there from Ferrari.

  • Tamburello_1994

    I think they regret letting Kimi go and looks like they’re rectifying that by bringing him back.

    Why else bring him back? If they wanted Massa they just would have kept him.

    Start of the season there is no #1 at Ferrari and they’ll will have to fight for that status. They’ve already stated that on the record.

  • Stewy33

    Respectfully when you sign to drive for Ferrari, you sign to drive for the team and not yourself. Bringing in Kimi will help Ferrari secure more championship points that goes towards the constructor championship that pays out to the teams.

    The situation is this from a boss point a view: I got a contreversal employee that is very talented but may shake up a few other employees. At the end of the day the talent I got justifies the numbers I need to make an increased high profit. I’ll risk a few employees been less happy to bank an extra cuple million.

  • sebolonso

    Ferrari gave Fernando two options last summer, by sacking Massa and signing Kimi. Fernando tried to utilise the other option visiting competing teams offering his services. No competitor however found needed finance for that. Other option was to stay at Ferrari with equal status besides Kimi. Tough one for Fernando, to be down graded amongst other humans:).

    Luca finally found out what most off us people knew for last couple off seasons. Ferrari needed to change. And without pain, there was no gain. Luca choose the pain, because he had too. That’s why he signed Kimi, by swallowing some off his pride. Wise guy.

  • SteveisGreat

    Dangerous for Alonso’s ego and #1 status in the team, that much is certain, lol.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    Alonso never had a problem with being equal. At McLaren he was upset that the team favored Lewis. He said that people treated him as if he didn’t even speak English. I believe that Alonso will dominate Kimi, and won’t need an official status as #1 driver.

  • Shin

    At McLaren Alonso was upset because, as a two-time WC, he was brought into the team with a firm agreement/promise by Ron Dennis himself that he would be the number one driver.

    Once the season started the team, again specifically Dennis, went out of its way to let Lewis and the media know that in actual fact Lewis would have the same status as Alonso from the get-go. They simply lied to Alonso to get him to sign and then ‘changed’ their minds because Lewis van Dennis’ prodigy.

    It cost Alonso and Mclaren their titles that year, and it makes you unreliable as a team. The same this year with sacrificing Checo for Magnussen, their 2nd prodigy. Now, Checo isn’t Alonso material, but McLaren always do this after the have a bad year. They sack a driver instead of saying mea-culpa that they build a crapy car, and once they found out in winter testing after the big update package not to chance back to the 2012 car..

  • Red Horizon

    It could be dangerous, but I’m convinced that in the end it will not be. Putting them together was a good idea, this will increase the level of competition within the team and the results will improve too. I don’t expect it to end like Mansell-Piquet, Prost-Senna, Prost-Mansell, Alonso-Hamilton…although anything is possible. Fernando and Kimi should simply act as a team. The two champions will enjoy the same treatment within the team. If Ferrari will be running for the titles the scores will tell who will be, eventually, considered the first drive. Anyhow, more than in the recent past, the results will depend not only from the pure performance of the driver but also from the reliability of the car. The main thing for Ferrari is to have a competitive and reliable car, then we’ll see.

  • sebolonso

    Fernando is a guy who tries to win intrateam battle before first race is driven, by conditions in his driver agreement. That is very poor and moraly low tactics.

    Ferrari has discovered same thing Ron Dennis found out much faster. Fernando is the ultimate master on the grid, what comes to mind gaming and BS-talking.

    If Fernando beats Kimi under given circumstances off equal treatment at Ferrari, I promise to consider my view on him as racing driver. Until that happens he solely represents a lot of values I dislike in F1.

  • O’Ferrari

    isn’t it past your bedtime, sebolonso?

  • gmtF2

    Ferrari wants to maximize its points in every race. That’s why they have Alonso and Kimi. Pretty simple when you strip away the bullshit. Two fast guys who won’t throw away a good place for the wrong reasons.

  • Stoner

    Another debate,
    most of the quotes in this article were published here weeks before, why again???????

  • captain tortuga

    I think Kimi/Freddy is the best river line-up Ferrari could have chosen. My best guess is that Ferrari will be the 3rd engine next year. And two very consistent and fast drivers, who know how to stay out of trouble will be a huge aid to at least attempt to steal the WCC- trophy

  • don sweeney

    Ferrari has paired two very skilled & crafty drivers. The REAL question is, can they field a championship quality car. If the performance isn’t there, Ferrari is again, all for not. Period.

  • the fan

    luca just wants to win something, thats his whole point of bringing in kimi back. if he’s saying ferrari is bigger than alonso then it just proves he’s not afraid to let go of alonso to another team w/c in my view is true. he let kimi go years ago knowing that he’s clearly a better driver than massa. besides, everyone knows that waiting in the wings for ferrari is vettel so losing alonso to another team might not be an issue for LDM.

    come next season, id pick alonso to rule over kimi especially on sundays though i wont be surprised if its the other way around. ive watched these two guys since they were rookies and as fast as kimi goes, alonso’s race craft on sundays is on a different level. thats whats got him on par on points with lewis on their mclaren days and was left to fight with kimi on that brazil 2007 gp. kimi is fast, bloody fast but there’s no way that he could monster a slow car the same way alonso can. if ferrari have a fast car in 2014, then kimi will be over alonso but if they produce another ice cream van, it will be alonso.

  • sebolonso

    Kimi has excellent relationship with Sebastian. Kimi is partly signed to support Sebastian`s implementation to Ferrari 2015, after Fernando has left the team and Sebastian coming in. That is what I think will happen.

    If this is the case, then Ferrari is probably backing up Kimi this season, so he will have an/a (un-) fair chance to beat Fernando. If Fernando leaves Ferrari on own initiative after 2014, Santander has no right to terminate sponsorship deal with Ferrari. Other way around, Ferrari sacking Fernando, Santander has termination option. That is not in the interest of Ferrari. Easy as that. That would also explain Luca’s latest statements in a logical way.

    Ron Dennis has discovered the smell of blood. Now he is eager to welcome Santander account and Fernando back to McLaren by taking a more active role on operative level. Martin Whitmarsh is terrified, but changes in ownership favoring Ron Dennis might take place, which would leave Martin probably around an empty and food less table. Interesting times…Money is after all the spinning force in F1.

  • Tinto

    @Shin: McLaren and Alonso relations became very difficult to manage, the relations were quite bad between them that impaired good judgement for the team. Alonso finally became the trojan horse in McLaren team, see what papers said about that “… The new evidence consisted largely of email traffic between Alonso and test driver Pedro de la Rosa. The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council report following the hearing stated that Alonso and de la Rosa had obtained and used confidential Ferrari technical data and sporting strategy information from senior McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan via Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney, including during test sessions. Both drivers were spared sanctions in exchange for providing evidence…”

  • matthew

    So now that kimis getting paid, he actually has to do some work!

  • Troy F Collins

    Luca was forced into hiring Kimi after Fernando lipped off to the media…..Luca had no choice but to show his hand…I dont think Fernando meant any harm…but he had given his best only to see the team go backward……much to his surprise he did worse with a car that wasnt a bad car to start with…unlike the year before where he worked magic with a difficult car and came close

    Kimi has re integrated himself well back to F1…has alot of experience….and Ferrari experience at that…world champion…experience with James Alison

    Kimi will drive well if the car is capable….Fernando will drive the wheels off it even if its not quite capable….

    Good combination(best) of talent……one calm…one driven….totally different cars….not sure how much effect James Alison will have on the short term as he arrived in Sept…..but he will give good development direction so as to avoid the mistakes of the 2013 season with updates…and hes worked with Rory before……..

    as for Kimi and Fernando….they have to be careful during starts not to hobble each-others cars and try to keep the communication open…..for it will be dark days if they stop talking…..

    The car will be by far the biggest factor I fear…..

  • Kamote

    Hate to watch vettel always won. I’m hoping for a lot of twist in 2014 season. the mission is to beat seb seb, let’s eat seb seb.

  • Jules

    Both Alonso and Kimi are great drivers and racers on Sunday and I think both are better than Vettel on raceday if they all had the same equipment.

    However, I do think Alonso will have an edge over Kimi. Although Kimi did win the WDC in a Ferrari over Alonso/Hamilton, he only won it by 1 point . It could have gone to Alonso if McL did not favour Hamilton in his rookie year….I don’t think Kimi was a better driver than Alonso prior to taking his break, and I don’t think Kim is a better driver than Alonso since his comeback in Lotus. He has done some superb racing and an admirable come back story, but Alonso has outdriven Kimi most of the time in the past 2 years..

  • Badman Jose

    The post for me at times out shines the article. Makes for
    a good read. Some very good and informative, others
    Dog biscuits,, no nothing noise.

    Alonzo now has formidable teammate for the first time
    sense Lewis Hamilton. This partnership will only
    work if both drivers are treated equally. cockamamie team
    orders can and will foster miss truss, this must be avoided
    at all cost. Warning Ferrari, Kimi is not Massa

    How this ‘Soap’ will play out we just have to wait and see.
    I’ll say the same for Lewis and neco, the Hulk and
    Maldonado, McLearn a repeat of 2013.

    Old Jose