Ferrari in spotlight ahead of Singapore GP
By Chris Lines ,APSINGAPORE -- Formula One arrives in Singapore this week for the annual night race with Sebastian Vettel careering toward a fourth-straight championship and with attention turning toward the combustible situation at Ferrari.
September 19, 2013, 12:25 am TWN
Vettel's win in the previous two races at Belgium and Italy has put the Red Bull driver 53 points clear atop the standings and it only appears a matter of when, rather than if, the German will secure the 2013 title.
The biggest news since the race in Monza has been Ferrari's signing of Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen to a two-year contract starting next season. The return of the Finn to Maranello, where he was ousted after 2009 to make way for the arrival of Fernando Alonso, has set up a potentially fractious rivalry with the Spaniard and has pushed Felipe Massa to the exit.
Raikkonen will not accept the secondary role which Massa had played to Alonso for the past four years, and many are already predicting trouble as Alonso is not accustomed to having a genuinely challenging teammate, aside from his one year at McLaren which ended abruptly and unhappily.
The man in the best position to make a judgment is Massa, who has been a teammate to both at Ferrari, and he is expecting friction.
“I know Fernando and Kimi well, both on and off the track. They are excellent drivers but I fear, as a team, there will be conflict,” Massa said in an interview in Brazil this week.
“I have told (Ferrari's management) to breathe deeply now, because breathing will be much more difficult next season.”
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, however, has dismissed such forecasts of doom, saying Alonso was kept in the loop about the team's desire to sign Raikkonen and was happy with the choice.
“We are not masochistic enough to take on a driver without informing Alonso,” di Montezemolo said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.