Ferrari’s failure to win any championships in the last five seasons combined with the pressure of leading the team led Stefano Domenicali to resign as Ferrari team principal, Fernando Alonso believes.
Speaking in today’s press conference for the Chinese Grand Prix Alonso praised Domenicali, whose resignation was announced on Monday.
“I think Stefano is a great man, first of all,” said the Ferrari driver.
“I’m close friend of him, this is no secret, we ski together every first of January in Italy in the mountains and we still have a close relationship and we’ve been talking all the week long.
“I think that will continue because we know each other for many years and we work very close for this couple of years. That’s important to separate the work from the friendship.”
Alonso said his former team principal “did good choices, good things” as team principal but his two championship near-misses plus Felipe Massa’s in 2008 put the Ferrari team principal under pressure.
“Obviously we miss opportunities in 2010, in 2012,” said Alonso. “They miss opportunity in 2008 with Felipe. If not probably he could have three championships in the pocket.”
“So I think he brought Pat Fry, he brought James Allison, [Kimi] Raikkonen.
“So I think all the things people ask from him he was giving to them, probably as I said the results in the sport are important and the pressure in Ferrari is also quite big so he made his decision which we respect and we try to move forward in different directions, but try to move forward and I’m happy with the time that we passed together.”
“We need to accept what Stefano decided,” Alonso added. “He was probably not any more with the mood to continue with the feeling of taking on the weight in the shoulders and he made a very responsible move.”
Alonso said Domenicali had acted in the best interests of the team by choosing to step down:
“It’s not easy you know when you have a very privileged position in one Formula One team to be able to step back and to say ‘maybe it’s better to move’.
“He did it, just for the Ferrari improve, for the Ferrari interest so that’s something that we cannot forget. And we have to respect that decision.”
He also pointed out Ferrari should not be expected to improve immediately following Domenicali’s resignation:
“From that point for sure in this race it is not that we will improve one second because I don’t think that Stefano was doing the front wing or the rear wing or whatever by his hands.
“So probably we need to wait a little bit of time and see what we can improve and try to help all the team. With the new people coming to make us a little bit stronger and try to get back some of the success from the past.”
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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo