Ferrari: Vettel and Alonso could coexist
Team boss Domenicali refuses to rule out World Champ partnering 'fastest driver in F1'
Last Updated: October 15, 2012 10:49am
Stefano Domenicali has poured fuel on speculation linking Sebastian Vettel with Ferrari by insisting the reigning World Champion could "easily coexist" alongside Fernando Alonso.
In a wide-ranging joint interview with Bernie Ecclestone conducted at the Canadian GP but only published this week on Ferrari's website, the subject of the team's future driver line-up was naturally thrust to the forefront and, perhaps tellingly, neither Domenicali nor Ecclestone shied away from discussing the possibility that Vettel could transfer to Maranello in the near future.
"In life one should never say never!" a 'smiling' Domenicali is reported to have replied when presented with 'a rather provocative photo-montage, with Vettel made to look as though he's wearing a Ferrari red race suit'.
Asked if Vettel could partner Alonso, whose solitary year at McLaren alongside Lewis Hamilton ended in their mutual destruction, Domenicali's reply was even more intriguing:
"I think they are both intelligent guys and they could easily coexist together."
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Both Ferrari and Vettel have scoffed at recent reports claiming the Red Bull driver has signed a pre-contract agreement that would see him join the Italian outfit for the 2014 campaign.
Nonetheless, Vettel continues to be linked with Ferrari, as does his current team-mate Mark Webber as a potential replacement for Felipe Massa, whose contract with Ferrari expires at the end of this season.
Asked about Massa's position in the team, Domenicali commented: "There is a lot of pressure, but I remember well in 2008, when Felipe had problems in the first two races and then fought right to the end for the title.
"This year, it's not that different: after Felipe drove a great race in Monaco, the same journalists who had been criticising him, began to ask me why he did not yet have a contract for next year. One thing is certain: as Team Principal, I have always encouraged and protected him."
Another certainty is that Ferrari's faith in the talents of Alonso has never been stronger. Seemingly driving at the peak of his powers, the Spaniard has successfully managed to tame the misbehaving F2012 this season to stand within two points of Hamilton at the summit of the Drivers' Championship.
"Alonso is the fastest driver of all, I'm sure of that and it's been like that since testing at the start of the year, despite the fact our car was definitely not very quick," enthused his Team Principal.
"Now we have improved it, even if we are not yet at the level we want to be. The cars are very close and we are witnessing a really incredible championship which for the fans is a real spectacle."
Meanwhile, and in sharp contrast to the incessant chatter about who might replace Massa if the team opt to dispense with the Brazilian's services at the end of the year, there appears to be little chance that Ferrari may opt out of F1.
"It's fundamental, because Formula 1 is part of our DNA," declared Stefano. "We have raced from the very first season and I can't begin to imagine Formula 1 without Ferrari. Therefore, we work together with Bernie for the future."