Fernando Alonso appeared to be distinctly underwhelmed with this week’s management change at Ferrari when speaking about it for the first time.
Alonso said he had not yet spoken to Marco Mattiacci, the erstwhile Ferrari North America boss who has replaced Stefano Domenicali. Surprisingly he seemed not to know whether or not his new boss would be present this weekend, despite it being part of the team’s PR announcement.
“No, I haven’t had the chance.” he said when asked if they had spoken. “I don’t know if he’s coming here, I guess so, so it would be a good time to welcome him. I don’t really have much to say. I drive the car. He will be good enough to recognise what are the weak areas of the team, what are the strong areas of the team and hopefully improve them. I think that as drivers, we will try to drive as fast as we can, Kimi and I, and try to help him in whatever field our help is required.
“I think we need to give him time and try to see how he settles down. It’s too early to say if it will be a very good thing or very bad. I think we need to make sure he has all the facilities ready, all the technical stuff ready, all the team behind him, try to help him settle down as fast as possible. And, yes, try to put him in a condition to feel comfortable from day one. We are really hoping it will be a successful managing of the team and everyone is looking forward.”
Regarding Domenicali’s decision to leave the team, he said: “I think we need to assess what Stefano decided. He was probably not any more in the mood to continue and with the feeling of taking the weight on his shoulders. He made a very responsible move. It’s not easy, when you have a very privileged position in one Formula One team to be able to step back and to say ‘maybe it’s better to move’. But he did it, just for Ferrari’s interest and improvement so that’s something that we cannot forget and now we have to respect that decision.
“From that point, for sure, it’s not that in this race we will improve one second, because I don’t think Stefano was doing the front wing or the rear wing or whatever by his hands, so probably we need to wait a little bit of time and see what we can improve and try to help all the team with the new people coming to make us a little bit stronger and try to get back some of the success from the past.”
Alonso made it clear that he regards Domenicali as a friend.
“I think that Stefano was a great man, first of all. I’m a close friend of his, not just on the circuit. We ski together every January 1st in Italy in the mountains. We still have a close relationship. We’ve been talking all the week long. I think that will continue, because we have known each for many years and we have worked very closely for this couple of years, so that’s important, to separate work from friendship.
“Then, as a team principal, I think he made good choices, good things. Obviously we missed opportunities in 2010, in 2012. They missed opportunities in 2008 with Felipe. If not, he could probably have three championships in his pocket. I think he brought in Pat Fry, he brought James Allison, Raikkonen, so I think all the things that people ask from him he was giving to them, probably, as I said, the results in the sports are important and the pressure at Ferrari is also quite big, so he made his decision which we respect and we will try to move forward in different directions but try to move forward. I’m happy with the time that we passed together.”