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di Montezemolo explains why Ferrari chose Alonso

NEWS STORY
18/12/2009

Speaking at his team's Christmas lunch, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo explained to the assembled guests why the Maranello outfit opted to sign Fernando Alonso.

"We have been watching him since 2007," he admitted, "and Domenicali discussed it with me this summer. He is an extremely talented driver, quick and good at working with a team, while being totally focussed on winning. I think he is coming to Ferrari at just the right time in his career.

"We had already reached an agreement for 2011, when both our drivers' contracts would have expired," he continued. "Then, we realised that our team needed a driver capable of really getting involved with the engineers, a characteristic that was not part of Kimi's genetic make-up, even though he is an amazingly talented guy.

Then came Felipe's unexpected accident and, before taking a decision, we needed to know what his prospects were. Once we were certain he was fine, and in light of what was going on at Renault, we decided to try and bring Alonso on board a year ahead of schedule.

"Let's make one thing clear, we were very happy with everything Kimi did for Ferrari during his time at Maranello," di Montezemolo continued. "He won the world championship in his first year and played a vital part in our taking the constructors' title in his second year, while in this difficult season he at least managed to secure us one victory. However, we were aware that something else was needed for the way we operate and therefore, we opted for Alonso.

Referring to claims that it was new sponsor, the Spanish banking giant Santander that wanted Alonso on board, di Montezemolo said: "The role of Santander? Certainly, they are happy, but it is not the sponsors that choose the drivers: we have never operated like that and we never will."

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