• No big reshuffle this winter, promises Ferrari president
• Di Montezemolo criticises failure to win world championship
Heads will not roll at the Scuderia Ferrari as a result of Fernando Alonso’s last-ditch failure to clinch the world championship in Abu Dhabi last month, the company’s president, Luca di Montezemolo, has said.
Montezemolo expressed sympathy with Stefano Domenicali, the current team principal and the man in charge when a strategic error allowed Sebastian Vettel to snatch the title from Alonso’s grasp.
He noted, however, that since all Alonso had to do was to finish fourth in the last race of the season, the task had been “like taking a penalty without a goalkeeper”. The Spaniard, he said, could have “driven like a taxi driver” and won the title, but was thwarted by a track that made overtaking impossible once he found himself behind slower cars.
Changes within the team will be minor, he continued, adding that internal stability had been one of his chief goals since returning to Maranello as president in 1993, when the team’s fortunes were at a low ebb. “At that time Ferrari was all about polemics between engineers, team managers and drivers. Now we’re consistently competitive. So don’t expect major or important changes to the team.”
Commenting on the FIA’s decision last week to rescind the ban on team orders, Montezemolo said that he expected the team to start the 2011 season with its two drivers, Alonso and Felipe Massa, on an equal footing, with parity restored after the furore caused when the Brazilian was ordered to hand victory in the German grand prix to his team mate.
“Fernando did very well this season, on and off the track. He is a driver who is really in touch with the team. Felipe had a strange season, in the first couple of races he was very good but it could have been his brother driving for the last part of the season. But I’m confident that we’ll see a strong Felipe next year, with good motivation.
“I always say to my drivers: ‘You drive for the team. I don’t care who wins as long as it’s a Ferrari.’ In the second half of the season, if one of the drivers cannot win, then as long as it doesn’t affect the other teams, why shouldn’t I use my two drivers to put Ferrari in the best condition to win? I have to tell you, this is our spirit.”