Madonna di Campiglio, 16 January –“Wrooom!” The Scuderia Ferrari race season got underway officially today with a Stefano Domenicali press conference. The meeting with media from across the globe, held in the Dolomite mountains, saw the Maranello Team Principal undergo a cross-examination featuring all the classic pre-season themes. Naturally, these included how things were looking for the two drivers, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso and what was motivating them right now.
“I think the toughest part of Felipe’s career is now behind him,” said Domenicali. “After last summer, his approach turned about and as a result, his performance on track changed and he managed to show just how talented he is. I’m sure his problem was not linked to his contractual situation. Personally, there was a lot of pressure on me regarding possible changes, but in the interests of the team, I preferred to wait and today, I’m convinced that keeping Felipe in the Ferrari family was the right decision. His performance in the second half of the season contributed significantly to our second place in the Constructors’ classification: for the team that is a strong point and for Fernando, it provides further impetus to try even harder.”
“Fernando had an amazing season,” continued Domenicali – “and we’ve been saying that for three years now, while he continues to astonish everyone. His strength as a champion and his great fighting spirit is a guarantee for himself and for the team: our responsibility is to give him a car with which he can make the most of his abilities and his killer instinct. Could Vettel and Alonso one day be part of a dream team? I think our President has already commented on this subject several times: a dream team is fantastic if it is correctly managed, but at the moment we are not looking at that, because we want to ensure the team is as well balanced as possible. You have to be very careful, not just in Formula 1, but in sport in general, because sometimes, putting together all the Number Ones can lead to more negatives than positives.
”Finally, in answer to questions relating to criticism aimed at Alonso in recent weeks, Domenicali had this to say: “As usual, there are people who try and stir up the politics, believing they will provoke a reaction, but I am deaf to these things and I believe Fernando is totally focused on his performance, while I can assure you that the team will give its answer on the track, with deeds not words.”