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Ferrari: Alonso and Raikkonen will help each other 12 Sep 2013

(L to R): Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1, race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Ferrari General Director and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari celebrate on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 12 May 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 24 August 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 14 April 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has dismissed suggestions that ‘having two cockerels in the same hen house’ could prove problematic next year when Kimi Raikkonen joins Fernando Alonso at the Italian squad.

Raikkonen’s signing gives Ferrari the strongest driver line-up on the 2014 grid and marks the first time the team have fielded two world champions since 1953. It also means Alonso will no longer enjoy being the Scuderia’s de facto number-one driver - but Domenicali insists this will not be an issue.

“The combination of Fernando and Kimi is the best one could have today in Formula One, in terms of talent, experience, competitive spirit and the ability to move car development forward,” he told the Ferrari website. “As for the ‘poultry’ question, 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.”

Regarding driver status, Domenicali confirmed that - as with any new pairing at Ferrari - Raikkonen and Alonso will start off on an equal footing, but that they will be expected to assist the other’s championship campaign should one driver become a clear title favourite in the latter part 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 Fangio and Collins and more recently with Salo and Irvine, when the Finn gave up on his only chance of a win in Formula One to help his team mate, as Raikkonen was helped by Felipe (Massa), before repaying the compliment and again with Felipe and Fernando.”

Domenicali also gave short shrift to those questioning Raikkonen’s taciturn nature and his ability to contribute to the team’s technical development, especially in light of the recent arrival of the Finn’s former Lotus colleague James Allison, Ferrari’s new chassis technical director.

“Some cliches refuse to die!” said Domenicali. “We worked with Kimi for three years from 2007 to 2009 and we never had a problem. Sure, everyone has their own ways and you can’t expect a Finn to start telling jokes in Italian or playing the clown! Honestly, I think the combination of Fernando’s expressive and passionate latin character and the cool style, to call it that, of someone like Kimi, seems to appeal to many, including the youngsters and our partners are also in agreement with this.

“As for the technical side of things, not only do we know full well how much Kimi can contribute at an important time like this, when the technical framework is changing so significantly, but we also have first-hand information from James Allison, as to how much the Finn has also progressed in this area over the past two years.”

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