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Kimi to match Lauda's comeback?

2013-09-18 08:50

COMEBACK KINGS: Ferrari's Luca Montezemolo hopes history will repeat itself with Kimi Raikkonen's (left) return to Ferrari, just like Niki Lauda (inset) did when the former F1 racer returned to the sport to win another championship. Image:

Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo has compared Kimi Raikkonen to retired triple World champion Niki Lauda. He took a two-year break from F1 over 1980/81 then returned for title.

MARANELLO, Italy - 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 in 2014.

So said Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo on Tuesday while comparing Raikkonen to retired triple World champion Niki Lauda, who took a two-year break from F1 over 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 pay-off to make way for Alonso - and returned with Lotus in 2012 as a title contender again after two years out in WRC.

Ferrari announced last week in early September 2013 that he had signed a two-year deal for 2014/15.

Montezemolo, who worked with Lauda when the Austrian won two titles for Ferrari in the 1970's, told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper: "We are not so masochistic as to sign a driver without telling Alonso. 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, who has spoken in the past about not wanting "two roosters in the same hen house", said the alternative of a young driver was too risky in a season such as 2014 when major rule changes, including a new V6 engine, will apply.

"Raikkonen is the strongest of all, with Alonso, (Sebastian) Vettel and (Lewis) Hamilton," Montezemolo added, "and Alonso is the first to be satisfied with his arrival."

Alonso made clear before Raikkonen's return to Ferrari was announced that he would be happy for Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa to stay on. The Spaniard's relations with the team had gone through a rough patch in recent months but Montezemolo compared Alonso to a soccer player angry at being substituted during a match and making his views clear.

Montezemolo said talks with Raikkonen began 10 days before the Italian GP at Monza on September 8.

"Raikkonen's is the same case as Lauda's," Montezemolo said, although Lauda won his third title with McLaren and not Ferrari in 1984. "Niki also at a certain point said 'enough' because he could not go on... the break has done him good, he's returned on top form, he's won, and finished so many races.

"I wanted a driver who would not make me regret Massa (leaving). I'm asking Kimi for wins, consistency, podiums. Alonso will be the first to benefit."

Massa has been quoted recently in the Brazilian news media as saying he would put himself first, rather than supporting Alonso, for the remaining seven races but Montezemolo doubted that.

Montezemolo added: "Felipe is a great lad and a splendid person. They say he won't help Fernando? Nonsense! Of course he will, lending a hand to us for the Constructors' title and to Alonso for the Drivers'."

Alonso is second overall, 53 points behind Red Bull's triple champion Vettel, going into Sunday's Singapore GP. Massa is 143 adrift of the German.

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