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Stefano Domenicali says his drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are fully fired up for the new season, the Italian also taking time out to take a swipe at Red Bull's Helmut Marko.
While Alonso appears to be the 'Peoples' Champion' of 2012, courtesy of his spirited fight in a car that for much of the season wasn't up to the job, it was a year of two halves for his Brazilian teammate. A dismal start to the season had many fearing Massa might be dropped early far less retained for another year however, a strong finish to the season, including a couple of races in which he was clearly faster than his illustrious teammate, has convinced Domenicali that he has the right pairing for 2013.
"I think the toughest part of Felipe's career is now behind him," Domenicali told the assembled media at Madonna di Campiglio. "After last summer, his approach turned about and as a result, his performance on track changed and he managed to show just how talented he is.
"I'm sure his problem was not linked to his contractual situation," he continued. "Personally, there was a lot of pressure on me regarding possible changes, but in the interests of the team, I preferred to wait and today, I'm convinced that keeping Felipe in the Ferrari family was the right decision. His performance in the second half of the season contributed significantly to our second place in the Constructors' classification: for the team that is a strong point and for Fernando, it provides further impetus to try even harder."
"Fernando had an amazing season," the Italian continued, "and we've been saying that for three years now, while he continues to astonish everyone. His strength as a champion and his great fighting spirit is a guarantee for himself and for the team: our responsibility is to give him a car with which he can make the most of his abilities and his killer instinct.
"Could Vettel and Alonso one day be part of a dream team?" he continued, referring to a topic done to death by sections of the media. "I think our President has already commented on this subject several times: a dream team is fantastic if it is correctly managed, but at the moment we are not looking at that, because we want to ensure the team is as well balanced as possible. You have to be very careful, not just in Formula One, but in sport in general, because sometimes, putting together all the Number Ones can lead to more negatives than positives."
Finally, Domenicali took a well aimed swipe at Red Bull racing advisor Helmut Marko who last week suggested that Alonso spends too much of his time focussing on things other than the racing, namely politics.
"As usual, there are people who try and stir up the politics, believing they will provoke a reaction, but I am deaf to these things and I believe Fernando is totally focused on his performance, while I can assure you that the team will give its answer on the track, with deeds not words."
Check out our Madonna di Campiglio gallery, here.
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