The Formula One headlines have been dominated by confirmation that Fernando Alonso
is to join Ferrari next season. Speaking in Japan, team principal Stefano Domenicali was keen to stress that the team focus remains on the final races of the season, ahead of Alonso's arrival next year,
and that the decision to replace Kimi Raikkonen
with Alonso was a hard one to make.
“We are happy as a team to have Fernando joining us, there is no doubt about that,” Domenicali said. “But for the moment, we want to concentrate on the remaining races of this season, so the atmosphere here within the team at the track is one of maximum concentration on what we have to do in order to get the best possible result for the season as a whole. Certainly, this announcement is the first step towards 2010, which will be a very important year for us.”
Domenicali went on to explain that while it was a team decision to recruit Alonso in place of Raikkonen, the decision rests with him as head of the team. He also praised Raikkonen and explained the reasoning behind the decision to replace the under-contract Finn.
“You will never hear me saying anything negative about Kimi, never,” he said. “He is a great champion and he is part of Ferrari’s history, having won the drivers’ world title with us - achieving his ambition with us - so Kimi is part of our team. Kimi is fantastic. After that, one has to consider the future of our team, which is a different matter.
"As always when you have to make this kind of decision, it is not necessarily an easy one, as with Kimi and Fernando you are talking about two great drivers, both of them champions. Looking ahead, we felt this was a decision we had to take. You look at all the options and then go with what you feel is the best one."