The Ferrari rumour mill running at full tilt, and reports in the Barcelona paddock, during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, thus kicking off the notorious ‘silly season’ earlier than normal.
The first report claims that Ross Brawn, the team’s ultra-successful technical director during the Michael Schumacher years, could be on the way back to Maranello full-time following a recent visit during his retirement.
But Luca di Montezemolo, the Ferrari team president who is stepping up his presence in the wake of Team Principal Stefano Domenicali’s exit, shook his head disapprovingly when asked on Friday about the Brawn speculation.
“I am sure that [Marco] Mattiacci will do a good job, even though he has just arrived,” said the Italian, referring to Domenicali’s inexperienced successor. But I don’t believe in a one-man show.”
Indeed, Montezemolo did little to quell the Brawn reports when he suggested that Mattiacci was only selected to replace Domenicali because, “There [were] no other alternatives. To be honest I didn’t have time to think of anybody else as I didn’t want to leave an open position.
The Brawn report is not the only one swirling around the Circuit de Catalunya. L’Equipe reports that Fernando Alonso is looking for a way out of his 2016 Ferrari contract in order to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next year.
The publication cited “Spanish sources”, but it may also have been fueled by Toto Wolff’s recent description of Alonso as a 2014 title contender and “race monster”.
“Absolute nonsense!” Mercedes Team Chairman Niki Lauda retorted when asked about the Alonso connection. “Both of our drivers, Nico [Rosberg] and Lewis [Hamilton], have long-term contracts and we will hold to them. We see no reason to replace either of our drivers.”
Montezemolo, however, at least acknowledged that Alonso is currently frustrated, “When we give him a very competitive car again, he will be extremely happy.”
“My problem is not my drivers, it is making the team competitive again,” El Mundo quotes Montezemolo.
The third Ferrari report, meanwhile, is linking Red Bull’s technical boss Adrian Newey – the highest paid and most highly rated engineer in Formula 1 – with Maranello.
The report has been repeated by numerous Italian sources including La Repubblica, but also the respected correspondent for Auto Motor und Sport, Michael Schmidt, “Newey is said to have received an offer. It would not be the first.” (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.