When rumours abounded from Luca di Montezemolo’s casual aside without any real depth that one day Ferrari would consider recruiting wonderboy Sebastian Vettel, the issue quickly gathered dark momentum. And not the least in the Ferrari camp and more especially in team boss Stefano Domenicali’s domain.
His affection and admiration, and that of the entire team, for Fernando Alonso, his No. 1, and signed safely for another five years is unbounded.
Dream Team was the inevitable description that erupted in the wake of Montezemolo’s almost casual remark: “Vettel is a potential Ferrari driver for the future.” Nightmare more likes.
Not that anybody within Montezemolo’s range of revenge dare say it even if they fear a partnership of Alonso and Vettel had the remotest possibility.
I would venture that the highly respected and powerful Alonso, no great chum of Vettel’s, would veto any move to partner him with the record-breaking youngest-ever champion, three times the world-beater. Two massively talented drivers of vastly different personalities and ego-levels vying for the No. 1 spot in an outfit as desperate for overdue success as Ferrari is a recipe for disaster.
Domenicali, perhaps not taking his president’s words too seriously, was moved to comment: “You have to be very careful, not just in Formula One, but in sport in general, because sometimes putting together the No.1s can lead to more negatives than positives.”
Spaniard Alonso, 32, twice the champion with 30 career wins, has the form for finding the exit when he feels he is not the centre of attention. He fled from McLaren after just one season when it was only too obvious he was not being regarded or treated to quite the level he felt he deserved and was stranded in the shadow of team favourite Lewis Hamilton.
It was a graphic demonstration of his determination not to play second-fiddle — and he would battle any moves to stave off the same situation arising at Ferrari should Vettel leave Red Bull for the Italian legends as he has indicated one day he would like to do.
Montezemelo, maybe having second thoughts and mindful of the importance of keeping Alonso sweet and switched on, wiped out any conjecture that Vettel had been earmarked to join in 2014 by saying: “It would not be wise to have two roosters in the same hen house....”
The author is an expert on motorsport based in England