Fernando Alonso was kept fully informed of Ferrari’s plans to sign Kimi Raikkonen and he and the team will benefit from the Finn’s return to Maranello next season, Luca di Montezemolo said on Tuesday.
The Ferrari chairman compared Raikkonen to retired triple world champion Niki Lauda, who took a two-year break from F1 in 1980/81 and then returned to win another championship.
Raikkonen, world champion in 2007, left Ferrari at the end of 2009 — departing a year early with a hefty payoff to make way for Alonso — and returned with Lotus in 2012 as a title contender again after two years out.
Ferrari announced last week he had signed a two year deal for 2014/15. “We are not so masochistic as to sign a driver without telling Alonso,” Montezemolo, who worked with Lauda when the Austrian won two titles for Ferrari in the 1970s, told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper in a wide-ranging interview. “Fernando was always kept up to date about the choice of Raikkonen...”
The pairing of two champions is a big change for Ferrari but Montezemolo said the alternative of a young driver was too risky in a season like 2014 with major rule changes including a new V6 engine.