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Both drivers start equal - Domenicali

ESPN Staff
September 12, 2013 « Alonso thanks Massa and welcomes Raikkonen | Boullier not bitter at Raikkonen exit »
Stefano Domenicali: "Since the world began, our drivers have always started on equal terms" © Sutton Images
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Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will start on an equal footing and have to earn number one status at the team next season.

Raikkonen was confirmed as Felipe Massa's replacement at Ferrari on Wednesday, with the move marking the first time the team has run two world champions together since 1953. Having traditionally had a clear number one and number two driver, Domenicali said each driver has always started the season with equal opportunities and that next year it would be up to Alonso or Raikkonen to support the other once a clear title challenger emerged.

"Nothing will change in the way the team is run," Domenicali told the official Ferrari website. "Since the world began, our drivers have always started on equal terms. It's always been that way and always will. Then, during the course of the season, if the situation is such that one driver can help the other based on the points table, it's logical and right that it should happen. It's happened in the past and will happen in the future, as all drivers who have driven a Ferrari have demonstrated.

"It occurred at the time of [Juan Manuel] Fangio and [Mike] Collins and more recently with [Mika] Salo and [Eddie] Irvine, when the Finn gave up on his only chance of a win in Formula 1 to help his team-mate, as Raikkonen was helped by Felipe, before repaying the compliment and again with Felipe and Fernando.

Break from the norm

  • The real unknown now is what happens to Alonso. He moved to Ferrari amid much fanfare in search of more world titles, having failed to add to his back-to-back successes at Renault. However, having been Ferrari's undisputed leader since 2010, suddenly there is a threat. Normally you would expect anyone coming in alongside Alonso to have a hard time getting the same backing from team, but there's a special affiliation with Raikkonen as he has achieved what Alonso hasn't: won the world championship in a Ferrari.

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"As for the Dream Team, I'm not in the habit of dreaming with my eyes open, as it's not in my nature to do so. I would only say that the combination of Fernando and Kimi is the best one could have today in Formula 1, in terms of talent, experience, competitive spirit and the ability to move car development forward."

Despite having been the team leader over the last four seasons, Domenicali said Alonso would be happy the driver line-up had been strengthened. Asked about Luca di Montezemolo's previous comments that he didn't want "two roosters in the same hen house", Domenicali replied: "It brings to mind football fans who are scared of rival teams because they have so many strong forwards and so they hope they will fight each other for the ball…

"For anyone thinking that the choice of Kimi is somehow an anti-Alonso choice, I can put their minds at rest: at Ferrari, everyone knows the interests of the team come first and only then those of the individual. Fernando is a key asset for this team and he will be for a long time. I'm sure he is the first to be happy with a choice made to strengthen the group, because he is too intelligent not to realise that a stronger team can only be an advantage."

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