Massa Tips Brainy Alonso to Beat Raikkonen In Ferrari Battle – Well You Should Know…

From GrandPrix 247

Ex-Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has tipped his former teammate Fernando Alonso to dominate Kimi Raikkonen at the great Italian team in 2014.

Maranello marque Ferrari replaced the long-serving Brazilian with Finn Raikkonen, its 2007 world champion, over the winter, with Massa having to move to the once-great British team Williams.

Ferrari justified the move on the basis that Massa couldn’t support teammate Fernando Alonso’s title-charging points hauls on a regular enough basis, but the 32-year-old thinks Raikkonen will also struggle alongside the Spaniard.

Having tipped Alonso to beat Raikkonen while talking to the Italian press at Jerez, Massa explained: “Because he’s very intelligent and has already grasped the new rules.

“He (Alonso) knows what he needs to do to be fast from the beginning,” he is quoted by Speed Week. “He combines talent with brains. He really is clever, and that is what you need for rule changes as drastic as these.”

However, Massa said Raikkonen cannot be completely ruled out, ”Maybe the new Ferrari will be better suited to Kimi’s driving style. We’ll find out.”

There have also been doubts about whether Alonso, formerly the clear number 1 alongside Massa, will be able to work harmoniously alongside Raikkonen, the last Ferrari champion.

But team boss Stefano Domenicali said he was “very pleased to see” how harmoniously the pair had worked together at the Jerez test last week.

Alonso also revealed that he spent some days at Maranello with Ferrari’s returnee recently.

“We had some fun evenings,” he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport. ”There will be a total sharing of data between us, which is what we are used to at Ferrari.”

“Every day I had every lap of telemetry from Kimi, and he will also have mine. And what I’m trying here at Jerez, he will try in Bahrain,” he added last week. (GMM)

MyTake

I have so far not taken the bait. “Who is going to be faster at Ferrari this coming season, Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen?” I have also not jumped on the “Alonso won’t like the fact that he is not the number one driver” bandwagon as so many F1 fans are claiming.  In a two-part post, Well Well Well, Kimi Is Going To Ferrari, I wrote about this match up at Marranello and why I think it is good for everyone involved.  As stated back in September when the news broke, I have nothing but confidence that both drivers are going to get on just fine. The wheel to wheel racing between the two will be intense, but fair. Both are world champions, both have not enjoyed that title for some time, and I assume both want nothing more than to displace Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull from their four year stranglehold on both Championships. That will be the primary focus and concern of both drivers.

That being said, I am more than willing to comment on what Felipe Massa, who has partnered both drivers while at Ferrari, has to say in the matter. Notice Massa refrained from using terms such as “Alonso is quicker than Raikkonen”, or “Alonso is more proficient at set-up”, instead the first word Massa uses to make his point is “intelligent”. This has been a hallmark of Alonso from the early days at Renault. I have never really heard “brilliantly fast” associated with Fernando Alonso per se, although you don’t win two WDC’s by being slow either. It is more an issue of extrapolating the most from the car, and from what I have seen in the last five or six years,  and I think most of the pit wall agrees, Alonso has this trait in spades. I think he has it more than any other driver currently, and that is why I would agree with Massa’s assessment and give the edge to Alonso. Even if I wasn’t already a big Alonso disciple.

With Raikkonen partnering Alonso we will see more of a battle between equals this season at Ferrari. As I said last year I don’t expect it all to go Alonso’s way. Raikkonen will surely get the better of the Spaniard over the course of the season not just once but several times. However, I also expect that when we arrive at the final race in Abu Dhabi, Alonso’s points tally will be higher, if only by a small margin.

-jp-

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