Ferrari: Drivers will have equal status

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali says there is no question of Fernando Alonso being given priority over Felipe Massa in the squad unless only one of them is in title contention

Ferrari: Drivers will have equal status

Alonso enjoyed number one status while at Renault, and had a fractious relationship with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren when it allowed its drivers to go head to head for the 2007 title.

Ferrari has adopted the same policy with Massa and Kimi Raikkonen in recent years, and Domenicali said Alonso's arrival would not change this situation.

When asked how the team would deal with having two strong drivers, he replied: "The same way we controlled Felipe and Kimi for the last two years. This is the way we manage the team. This is the way that drivers coming to our team have to respect the rules.

"So, that has happened to Felipe helping Kimi when Kimi won the title, and it has happened to Kimi when Felipe was unfortunately not able to win the title. And this will happen in case it is needed in the next couple of years, because this is the team spirit and the way our team is working."

Domenicali is confident that there will be no repeat of the tensions that McLaren and Alonso experienced during their season together.

"I don't have the elements to speak about his previous experience in McLaren," he said. "It would be wrong if I would say something on that, because I was not involved and I don't know the details.

"But the way that it is, the charisma he is, and he is world champion, and the personality he has will fit perfectly with the way the team will operate. I don't see it to be a problem at all, to be honest."

He said Massa was quite happy to have Alonso in the team provided the contractual situation did not change.

"Of course, I spoke to him," said Domenicali. "But now he is mainly focused on the recovery, and for him it is important because it hasn't changed the philosophy and approach on our side because things will be the same, but it is natural I would say in our team now. He is happy and he is looking forward to coming back. That is the first priority."

Domenicali also declined to comment on suggestions that Alonso was replacing Raikkonen because Ferrari thought the Spaniard would make a bigger contribution to the team.

"I don't want to speak about [Raikkonen] in this way, because it is not correct," he said. "And you will never hear me speak in the negative about Kimi - never. I feel he is a great talent and a great champion and he is in the history of Ferrari. Don't forget it.

"He won the world title, and that was one of his objectives with us. Kimi is part of our team, but you have to make decisions for the future and you have to consider a lot of things, but Kimi is fantastic."

But he acknowledged that Alonso would bring a different dynamic to the Ferrari garage.

"I think all the drivers have different characteristics," said Domenicali. "For sure Fernando is more Latin because he is Latin, there is no doubt about it. Kimi is Finnish and he has a different and pragmatic approach to the team.

"But, I would say that with regard to Kimi, he is part of the team and he has worked very well with the team. That is what I know. We know one of the characteristics of Fernando, looking ahead to the future, is someone who is very charismatic with the people working around him, but this is not a way of relating with the people.

"For me it is important, as a team principal, to keep the values and the principles with which the people are respected the same."

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