#890 2013 Italian Grand Prix

2023-01-13 23:00

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#2013, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Siria Famulari,

#890 2013 Italian Grand Prix

He hasn't received his salary for a few months, so he decided to change team. Even if Kimi Raikkonen does have some money, given that he has always ma


He hasn't received his salary for a few months, so he decided to change team. Even if Kimi Raikkonen does have some money, given that he has always managed to sign seven-figure contracts (plus bonuses for each point he scores), the relationship with Lotus is compromised. To announce it, and here is the strangeness, was Martin Whitmarsh, the boss of McLaren:


"Kimi is looking for a new accommodation. Already last year we had talks with him, then nothing came of it for various reasons".


The hypothesis that he could return to the English team where he had been from 2002 to 2007 is probable, but now Ferrari has launched the Finnish driver. There have been contacts, there is even talk of a pre-contract. The first choice to replace Felipe Massa is him. Various options were considered in Maranello: Felipe's reappointment would have been the simplest and most painless, but the disappointing results (zero wins and zero poles in the last four years) make it impracticable. A stronger rider will have to take his place, this is the condition. Middle choices like Nico Hulkenberg or Paul Di Resta are therefore automatically excluded. Two candidates are eligible right now: Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, both out of contract and with a world title on their curriculum. Kimi, who will turn 34 in October, is the last driver to have won a World Championship driving a Ferrari. It was 2007, the last year of Todt management. In 2008 he contributed to the victory of the Constructors' World Championship, at the end of 2009 he was sent away a year early to make way for Fernando Alonso.


"He is not a team man, he contributes little to the development of the car".


He emigrated to the Rally but had the Maranello team pay his due. He is popular today because he is regular and fast: since 2012, the season of his return to F1 with Lotus, he has only failed to score in the points twice. In addition, he already knows the team and its dynamics. And, above all, he would give Alonso a little more stimulus, taking away from him some of the exaggerated centrality that he has carved out over time within the team. Here is the critical point: how would the Spaniard take it, who has always supported Felipe Massa's solution? His professional relationship with Kimi Raikkonen is good, there have never been disagreements even after the clash in Japan which in fact cost Ferrari the World Championship. Fernando respects him and is convinced that he can beat him in a match on equal terms, but he will certainly find him sometimes and get a liver ache as happened to him in McLaren during his tormented coexistence with Lewis Hamilton. The alternative is Jenson Button, 33, an intelligent and mature driver, with good manners that the sponsors like. McLaren is ready to reconfirm him, but if they lose him they would fall back on Kimi Raikkonen. The two negotiations are intertwined, while Red Bull Racing should have resolved Mark Webber's legacy by signing Daniel Ricciardo, the 24-year-old Australian who grew up in Scuderia Toro Rosso. Ferrari will make a decision after the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday 8 September 2013. Once Kimi Raikkonen's OK has been received, team principal Stefano Domenicali will have to assess the risks of living together with Alonso, then he will report to president Montezemolo, who has the decision. The announcement is expected for the Singapore Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso takes up cycling. But he will not abandon Formula 1.


"I have important news coming. Stay connected on twitter…".


A mysterious and intriguing twitter from the Spanish, posted around 10.00 p.m. on Sunday, September 1, 2013, makes many people nervous. None from Ferrari, because the driver had not failed to warn the team of his non-automotive intentions. But the message had certainly disturbed all those interested in the market-drivers. The teams, namely Lotus, Red Bull Racing and McLaren. And with them the drivers, from Kimi Raikkonen to Jenson Button, from Nico Hulkenberg, Paul Di Resta to Jules Bianchi, all possibly involved if Felipe Massa is not confirmed for 2014, or in the clamorous hypothesis that the Spanish champion has decided to leave Maranello before the three years stipulated in his contract. The announced news was another. 


Alonso bought the Euskaltel Euskadi team, in economic crisis, which without a lender would have had to leave the business. Since the bicycle is his second great sporting passion, after engines, Fernando has decided to become the owner of a team, he has also obtained the World Tour license which obliges the eighteen formations (the elite of world cycling) who make it part, to run all the most important races on the international UCI calendar. A real rescue from bankruptcy, which has aroused great appreciation throughout the sporting environment. Euskadi had already made it known a month ago that at the end of the season it would be forced to leave the world of two wheels. The team had two backers: a telephone company and a second sponsor who defaulted on its commitments. Alonso, fan, practitioner and friend of champions such as Indurain, Contador (with whom he had already planned to set up a professional training in the past) and Sastre, training partners for the love of the bike and for the desire to prepare physically as best as possible, he wanted to lend a hand to the kids who could have become unemployed. There was a long negotiation, carried out with the Basque Cycling Pro Team, the current shareholder of the company. Fernando has guaranteed the 6.000.000 euros needed for a racing season, a sum that will in any case be covered by some of the driver's sponsors in Formula 1. The general agreement was reached yesterday, even if some details are still missing, to be perfected. Alonso, who covered 6,855 kilometers by bicycle in the first six months of the year, to reach over 10.000 at the end of 2013, said he will expect enthusiasm, seriousness, sacrifice and transparency from his team. On his website, the Ferrari driver specifies that there will be zero tolerance in the team, to distance himself from any illegal practice. The Basque team will move to Asturias, Fernando's region, and will once again be captained by Samuel Sànchez, Olympic road champion in Beijing 2008. Some of the best-known riders will also be confirmed, such as Igor Anton, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve and the Izaguirre brothers. To these will be added several promising young Asturians. Alberto Contador also sent a tweet:


"The world of cycling wishes good luck to Alonso, patron of a team".


Niki Lauda had a passion for flying and had founded an airline. Kimi Raikkonen who loves risk, after having also raced in Rally, owns a motocross team. Now Fernando Alonso has also crowned one of his dreams. Speaking, however, of the next Italian Grand Prix, on Wednesday 4 September 2013 Luca Montezemolo says:


"This eve reminds me of 2000. Michael Schumacher was there, we talked: the goal was to win four races in a row".


The president of Ferrari lands in Maranello by helicopter at 11:00 a.m. and go to the Ferrari sports management departments to understand the team's intentions a few days before the Italian Grand Prix. It's not just the home race: Fernando Alonso is 46 points behind Sebastian Vettel, and part of the World Championship will be played on Sunday.


"They are all very excited, there are conditions for winning, or in any case for beating what is our only opponent so far: Vettel".


However, if Sebastian Vettel repeats what he showed in free practice in the race, two things will happen at Monza: he will be virtually World Champion and the public will boo him.


"It already happened in 2011. I got a lot of buuu, but here it's normal if you're not from Ferrari or another Italian team".


The first time he won the Italian Grand Prix, things went better for him: he was a kid just starting out, he drove a made in Italy car, the Toro Rosso ex Minardi, and his feat didn't affect the challenge between Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton.


It was September 14, 2008, a rainy day that he has never forgotten.


"In the years that followed, my victory ended up in all the Grand Prix highlights. And on the Thursday before the race, when I walk the track, many good memories come back to me: for me it is a special place, full of history. An emotion that repeats itself".


Sebastian Vettel has come a long way after that 2008: he ended up at Red Bull Racing and inaugurated an extraordinary cycle of successes, but - it will seem strange - he shone relatively little at Monza: apart from the two triumphs, he never got on the podium. This time the stakes are very high. His closest rival, Fernando Alonso, has given himself a couple of races to figure out if it's possible to recover, after which Ferrari will concentrate energy and resources on the 2014 project. But already on Saturday, in qualifying, and above all on Sunday, in the race, it will be clear if the comeback of the Spanish rider is possible. In free practice Sebastian Vettel was impregnable: he trimmed 0.6 seconds to his teammate, Mark Webber, and 0.8 seconds to Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. He only braked when it came to commenting on Red Bull's performance:


"Let's keep our feet on the ground. Sure, it was a good day, we went fast, maybe some of our rivals had problems, but there are still some details to improve and you'll see that we'll all be very close in qualifying".


Then he jokes about:


"Who knows, maybe I took a shortcut".


The German doesn't trust his rivals: there is the possibility that Ferrari ran with a greater load of petrol and intends to make only one pit stop. Says the team principal of the Maranello team, Stefano Domenicali:


"We have good race pace, and in my opinion our rivals were lighter".


Mercedes also seems to have good pace and Lewis Hamilton could enter the sprint. And then there is the unknown rain.


"Nothing is taken for granted".


The German insists that at the age of 26 he already has three world titles on his bulletin board. According to him, even Kimi Raikkonen still has some chance of becoming World Champion.


"I've never been a phenomenon in mathematics, and maybe tomorrow my professor will call and tell me that I should have studied more, but the calculation seems simple to me: Kimi is 63 points behind and there are more than 63 points up for grabs".


For the same reason he does not feel impregnable:


"We don't have enough advantage. The championship is going well, but we know how short the lead is in Formula 1".


Speaking of Kimi Raikkonen: he almost ended up at Red Bull Racing in 2014. Sebastian Vettel opposed it and won. In place of Mark Webber, who has decided to end the season and go racing at Le Mans, the more submissive and malleable Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian driver of Scuderia Toro Rosso, will arrive.


"I congratulate him, I can't wait for him, he has an extraordinary opportunity and he is smart to exploit it well. I'm also happy because, like me, he comes from the Red Bull junior programme. 2014 will be an interesting season: new car, new rules and a new teammate".


The only detail remains the number of his car: winning the championship would allow him to have one for the fourth time in a row. Sebastian Vettel plays on the downside and, like Fernando Alonso, argues that Friday practice doesn't count. But the 0.6 seconds on the lap given to everyone, including his team-mate, Mark Webber, and the 0.8 seconds to the Spaniard of Ferrari (fifth) speak volumes about the competitiveness of Red Bull.


"Everything can change. It will be a tight qualifying. We have to work hard on setting up the car".


Alonso did 22 laps on Medium tyres. He could aim for just one stop in the race. Felipe Massa had a gearbox problem and resulted in a €10.000 fine for the team for trying to go on track with the lights on the pit line red. Sebastian Vettel also confirmed himself in the third session, being the fastest on both Medium and Hard tyres. The German driver preceded Fernando Alonso and his Red Bull Racing team-mate, Mark Webber, who set the best times at the last attempt. In Ferrari they try to create a slipstream effect between the drivers, with Fernando Alonso closely following Felipe Massa on the long straights. In the meantime, the track marshals are threatening a strike to protest against the non-payment of the total reimbursement of expenses foreseen for the 2012 edition of the race. The decision would have matured after a communication from ACI that the payment of the part of the refunds still due would be postponed in the future. Fortunately, however, the situation is regularized on Friday. The threat of a strike had been made public earlier this week. The crux of the matter concerned the non-payment of reimbursements relating to 2012, with only two tenders out of eleven paid. The solution, however, already seemed close after the route marshals had made their project and their situation public, so much so that on their Facebook profile they had commented ironically:


"Without any warning, we were told several times that by Sunday they would have paid us a large part of the 2012 refunds and within a few days the entire 2012 balance. Finally, for the next tenders, we will try to pay within about a month. What made the ACI top management change their minds in less than a day?"


On Saturday 8 September 2013, in the first phase of the qualifying session, the drivers of Caterham and Marussia were eliminated, together with Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutiérrez. The fight to avoid elimination is very close, so much so that some riders are forced to mount Medium tyres, including Kimi Räikkönen. The best time is by Sebastian Vettel, who only takes advantage of the last minutes of the session. Q2 is characterized by some surprises: the two Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, and Lewis Hamilton are excluded. The Briton did not miss access to Q3 from the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix, which was followed by 66 races with qualification for the decisive phase. Lewis Hamilton made a small off the track at the Parabolica in the first attempt, while in the second attempt he was slowed down by Adrian Sutil. The Force India driver was penalized three places on the starting grid for this manoeuvre, even if the stewards highlighted the unintentional nature of the manoeuvre. Hamilton himself, at the end of qualifying, underlined how he was responsible for the failure to qualify for Q3. Mercedes will say the flat underbody of the Briton's car was damaged. Also eliminated in this stage are the two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, and Pastor Maldonado. In the decisive phase Sebastian Vettel immediately takes the lead in the rankings.


The two Ferrari drivers again tried to get Fernando Alonso to take advantage of Felipe Massa's slipstream: but the excessive distance between the two prevented this expedient from having the desired effect, so much so that Fernando Alonso protested over the radio with the team.


"You are really stupid, my mom".


In the last attempt, the possibility for Mark Webber to overtake Sebastian Vettel is mortified by a parabolic excursion by Jean-Éric Vergne, who by raising a cloud of dust slows the Australian. For Sebastian Vettel it is the fortieth pole in the World Championship, the fiftieth for Red Bull Racing. And, of course, controversy broke out in Ferrari on the day when Sebastian Vettel also took pole at Monza and Fernando Alonso didn't go beyond fifth place on the grid. It all happens in the opening minutes of the last qualifying heat. Ferrari immediately sends the two drivers onto the track with Felipe Massa ahead of Fernando Alonso, to allow the Spaniard to catch up in the slipstream and gain speed. However, something in Ferrari's strategy goes wrong and Alonso blurts out on the radio - and on live TV - practically sending the Ferrari technicians to hell:


"So there is to let it pass. So you are really stupid... my goodness guys".


These are the unequivocal words of the Spaniard, listened to by viewers but above all by Montezemolo and John Elkann who witness the horrified act in the pits. Fernando Alonso then tries to tone things down (''Fools? No, I said geniuses'') but the damage is already done. Alonso's words infuriate Massa:


"Alonso should complain less about me, because he's always been behind me so he's had more slipstream".


The president of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, tries to soften the tone.


"Alonso's accusations over the radio? I don't know and I don't care, the problem is going well tomorrow. The team must be united and fight with a knife between its teeth".


And on qualifying, in what Ferrari has always considered its home Grand Prix, he doesn't hide his disappointment:


"I was hoping for better. Given the results this morning and also those of the first two qualifying heats, I was hoping for something better. It was strange qualifying, I think that tomorrow we still have the advantage of being close to the Red Bulls and Hamilton, Rosberg and the two Lotuses I'm behind. I hope we can make a pressure race, but I hoped to be ahead of the Red Bulls and not behind. I thought it was possible to have a car on the front row. If we don't finish in front of Vettel, it's a defeat: from a World Championship perspective , he's the problem. I think it's still possible to make Sebastian not have an easy life".


Fernando Alonso, however, had already tempered the controversy in his first statements after qualifying:


"The slipstreaming strategy was planned, we've always done it here. I went a tenth faster thanks to Felipe who waited for me and was very kind. We went better than other times, we're more competitive than in other races. such as at Spa where we did well in Q1 and Q2 and then finished ninth and tenth in Q3. Now we have more guarantees for tomorrow".


Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo also talks about the driver market, with Felipe Massa's position still to be established and Kimi Raikkonen considered his most popular successor:


"Say hello to Raikkonen? I have plenty of opportunities to greet him like Hamilton. Actually I know why you ask me this question, now there's the catchphrase. We came to Monza focused on things to do here. During the week we'll tackle the issue of the drivers and We will make the right decisions".


And about Felipe Massa, he says:


"Today he went fast, but he always did it at Monza. We hope to finally have a Massa who can fight for the top positions and take points away from Red Bull".


Let's put it this way: if this Italian Grand Prix were to go down in history as the crucial moment of the 2013 season, the key race, the beginning of the comeback, then we must also add that on Friday no one would ever have suspected it. In fact, Saturday was a day of fear, indeed, of panic for the Ferrari fans. Red Bull Racing, which according to the tradition of technical experts would have had to suffer a lot on a fast circuit like that of Monza, found itself perfectly at ease. Sebastian Vettel started the engines in the morning and did everything he had to, fast laps, long runs, short runs, showing incredible ease of driving. Sunday 8 September 2013, for precautionary reasons, Ferrari decided to replace the engine on Felipe Massa's car, before the start of the Italian Grand Prix. Being one of the eight available to the driver for the season, Felipe Massa does not suffer any setbacks on the grid. Jenson Button's McLaren also showed a fuel problem, which however was resolved before the race. At the start Sebastian Vettel maintains the first position, followed by Felipe Massa; behind Fernando Alonso fails to pass Mark Webber. Nico Hülkenberg is fifth, followed by Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo. At the end of the first lap Kimi Räikkönen was forced to replace the front wing, damaged at the first chicane in a contact with Sergio Pérez. Paul di Resta retired due to an accident, who failed to brake at the Variante della Roggia hitting the Lotus of Romain Grosjean and damaging the front left suspension of his car. Few podiums Fernando Alonso moves up to second place, first passing Mark Webber on the outside of the Roggia on lap three, then also Felipe Massa, at the first chicane, on lap 8. At the head of the race, Sebastian Vettel extends his lead with no problems on pace by 0.2/0.3 seconds per lap. During the twelfth lap Lewis Hamilton, who was eleventh, was called to the pits due to a slow puncture. The English driver also suffers from the absence of a radio connection with the pits. 


During lap 23, the two Red Bull Racing drivers made the tire changes. During lap 24, Felipe Massa also changed tires and rejoined the track behind Mark Webber. Fernando Alonso, who made up ground against Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps, extended the first stint to lap 27; after the post-qualifying controversy, the Ferrari engineers indulged the will of its driver but, in this way, the gap from the leader rose from less than 5 to over 10 seconds. Fifth is Kimi Räikkönen, who made the tire change during the opening lap when he replaced the damaged wing at the start. The Finn made his pit stop on lap 31. On lap 32 Lewis Hamilton, who had already passed Nico Rosberg, also passed Nico Hülkenberg on lap 29 and moved up to fifth position. The Briton made his second tire change on lap 38, dropping to fourteenth position behind Kimi Raikkonen. In the upper parts of the standings Sebastian Vettel (whose car has the rear flashing red light always on) remains in the first potion, always with a good margin of advantage over Fernando Alonso, who is starting to be pressed by Mark Webber. In the final laps, Lewis Hamilton made a good comeback, with which Kimi Raikkonen passed and then the two McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, who brought him back to ninth position. Sebastian Vettel wins the Italian Grand Prix, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Felipe Massa is fourth, followed by Nico Hulkenberg, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. From the intensity of the boos Sebastian Vettel understands how important the victory won at Monza is. 


Not that I'm stupid (or genius), but sometimes a driver gets out of the car, goes to the awards ceremony, showers himself with champagne and at the end of his life only remembers the last 300 kilometres. Therefore, Vettel was inundated with buuu by the Italian fans for having won at Ferrari and for having mortified Fernando Alonso's hopes of a comeback. He expected it and got over it. Indeed, a reason to boast:


"It means I beat the boys in red".


The German driver replies from the podium, which in Monza is suspended above the track invaded by the public (those who have had the privilege of riding it describe it as an unforgettable experience). The 2013 World Championship has no more history: seven races are not enough to recover 53 points, and seventy would not be enough if the opponent is stronger. Red Bull Racing is. He confirmed this in the Italian Grand Prix (a race in theory favorable to the Maranello team), the last act of a supremacy that began in mid-2009. It is a cycle that recalls that of Ferrari at the beginning of the 2000s and which the opponents hope end next year with the new rules on turbo engines that will revolutionize Formula 1. But 2014 is far away. The present belongs to Sebastian Vettel, a little boy who, since his debut in 2007 in place of the injured Robert Kubica until today, at the age of 26, has set a series of records to shake the monument of Michael Schumacher. At Monza he won the 32nd race of his career (like Fernando Alonso, but in half of the appearances): if he always finished second from now on, he would arithmetically be champion for the fourth time in a row. The Italian Grand Prix was a formality. Or, at least, he made it that way, resisting Felipe Massa's attack at the first corner and setting a pace that was too high for anyone. Fernando Alonso deserves military honors: he was the last to give up, as in 2010 and 2012, and the only one to give an emotion in an otherwise flat race: overtaking Mark Webber on the third lap. Ferrari attempted a desperate move by delaying the tire change, in order to make more use of the medium compounds, and Webber nearly reclaimed second place. Massa finished a good race in fourth position, sacrificed to help his teammate. Alonso begins to admit that the season is compromised:


"It would take luck, Sebastian would need to retire sometime. Anyway, last year after the Italian Grand Prix I too was 41 points ahead and then due to a series of problems I was unable to complete the job. I have to try to the end".


In Singapore he will make another attempt with the last step of technical innovations foreseen in Maranello for 2013. In the meantime, Luca Montezemolo says:


"It was an extraordinary demonstration of affection, I thank our audience".


Ferrari analyzes the reasons for the defeat: it has now lost a championship that had started well (the F138 was immediately competitive), with regret for not having exploited the initial superiority and anger for having made the wrong development in July, wasting time and precious points. Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali explains:


"We want to win in front of our fans and we are sorry we didn't succeed. Alonso did his best but Vettel was once again quicker. We lost points to the world champion in the drivers' standings, but we gained something in those manufacturers, where we took second place".


The hopes of Lewis Hamilton (ninth) and Kimi Raikkonen (eleventh) definitively evaporated: for them the sprint ends here.


"I think I had a good race. And I hope it helps for my future. But it doesn't mean that this future can only be in the red".


For the first time Felipe Massa, even if he adds that he still doesn't know anything about the decisions Ferrari will make, publicly admits that he is preparing to race in 2014 with another team. The announcement of the Maranello team is imminent, perhaps on Wednesday 11 September 2013, certainly by the Singapore Grand Prix on 22 September 2013. And the radio-paddock on the driver market continues to bet with ever greater conviction on the return of Kimi Raikkonen, despite small chance of any surprises and unexpected twists. In this sense, to change the cards on the table, Lotus could intervene, offering the Finn all the guarantees he asked for: regular payments of the large salary and development of the car at the level of the top teams. Difficult. Felipe Massa says:


"There are only two obvious options, stay or go. We'll see what happens. It is clear that I would very much like to stay at Ferrari. But everyone knows what I've done in my career and what I'm capable of. But at the moment there are no certainties for me".


The Brazilian also talks about his performance at Monza:


"I feel like I made a perfect start. I immediately overtook two opponents. I could have had a podium race. The car was fine, it was acceptable. But I lost a position with Webber in the pit stop. And I also slowed down to let Fernando pass".


The well-informed argue that there could also be a Raikkonen-Massa exchange between Lotus and Ferrari. The British team, with rules and cars that will change completely, could need an experienced driver next year. And there are few available. Faced with a direct question about his preferences for his teammate, Fernando Alonso specifies that he has none:


"No name interests me more or less. It is the team that decides. In any case, Felipe deserves respect. Personally, if he stays I'd just be happy".


While waiting to define the 2014 team behind the wheel, Scuderia Ferrari is carrying out a profound reorganization of the team. The strength of the numerous rivals and the pressing technical commitment with the many new features in the program convinced Stefano Domenicali to reinforce the internal structures. The English James Allison, new technical director, took up service on Sunday 1st September 2013.


"I had fantastic times in Maranello, I can't wait to get back to those levels. I've had a look at the project for the next car and it looks great to me".


Alonso would also like to have Pat Symonds in the team who was with him at Benetton and Renault. Now the character in question is responsible for Williams. But Ferrari cannot run the risk of creating a team with too many heads. Meanwhile, we are also thinking about the season finale: the next race on the Marina Bay street circuit could be the point of no return for Ferrari, a track with maximum aerodynamic pressure. Like Monte-Carlo and Budapest, where the F138s hadn't been competitive. Only a striking result in Singapore, so it would allow us to still hope and continue the development of the car. Fernando Alonso concludes:


"Otherwise, the title could only be lost by Vettel if he doesn't finish the race or we have some stroke of luck".


The best commentary on Raikkonen in Ferrari goes to the fan who displayed the following banner at Monza:


"Kimi, go back to Italy: we have the wine".


The message contains everything: the love for the last World Champion driver with Ferrari, and the mockery of his weak point, oenology. Kimi will probably come back. Ferrari has identified him as the ideal replacement for Felipe Massa (who was preferred to him at the end of 2009) and as the best possible companion of Fernando Alonso (who took away his place in Ferrari, again at the end of 2009). There is no official announcement, which is expected from Wednesday, when the president Luca Montezemolo will return from the Frankfurt Motor Show and speak with Massa. The farewell of the Brazilian after eight seasons with Ferrari is now taken for granted. Felipe himself, frowning despite his excellent fourth place in Monza (he diligently handed over the position to his teammate and in doing so was also passed by Webber), denied it very weakly. There is still a glimmer of light left for Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg, who seems rather destined to take over from Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus. There are at least a couple of good reasons to bring back the Finnish driver. fast and since he returned to Formula 1 after the experience in rallies he has also become constant. With Lotus he set the record for consecutive races in points: 27. Had he been in Felipe Massa's place, Ferrari would be targeting victory in the Constructors' World Championship today. Second reason for signing him: he knows the team and its dynamics. In short, there's no need to explain to him that if his teammate is fighting for the World Championship, he has to help him. However, the opposite problem exists: if Kimi Raikkonen were in front, how would Fernando Alonso take it? And can anyone imagine the Spaniard as a follower? Answer: no. Without confirming the market news, Ferrari rules out that its top driver is anyone's theme. Real. But what happens if the top driver in question flats a tire once, gets rear-ended the next time and is a few points behind in the middle of the season? The rule (of Ferrari) prescribes that he accepts it and makes himself available to the team. What does the interested party think? Here are some responses from Fernando Alonso to the fans who chat with him on twitter. Fernando, who would you choose as a teammate?


"I cannot express a name because I have great respect for Felipe. Whatever the team's decision, it will be fine for me".


Another question: what does Ferrari mean to you?


"It's a way of life, my team, my second family, my friends".


Words of love to defuse the controversies of recent days, his alleged bad moods and tense relations with the team. The championship leaves him very little room for recovery. This season finale will help him regain confidence in the future: from 2014 there will be new rules on engines and cars, hierarchies will change, Red Bull Racing will have to start from scratch. Alonso will turn 33: he will have few left to fulfill his lifelong dream: to become champion with Ferrari. On Tuesday 10 September 2013, one day earlier than expected, Felipe Massa is the first driver to leave Maranello with a tweet.


"From 2014 I will no longer drive for Ferrari".


Press releases were used when it arrived in 2006. Many things happen in eight years: victories, a world title that vanishes at the last corner, a serious accident, the difficult return to the track. The announcement comes at 8:51 pm, after an interview with the president of Ferrari, Luca Montezemolo, who confirmed the non-renewal of the contract. Everything had already been foreseen, even if Felipe had won reconfirmation many other times in extremis. On Wednesday, Ferrari will announce the return of Kimi Raikkonen, who was Felipe Massa's teammate between 2007 and 2009. Appeals and appeals. The history of Massa mixes successes and misfortunes with a clear prevalence for the latter. He arrives in 2006 to replace his compatriot Rubens Barrichello and be Michael Schumacher's squire. He plays the role well:


"I'm in school and I have the best teacher on the face of the earth".


He is a good student and surpasses his master a couple of times, most recently in the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix, the happiest moment of his career which began in 2002 at Sauber. The following year he contributed to Kimi Raikkonen's World Championship victory by being a follower, while in 2008 he became number one. But bad luck took his license plate number and didn't leave him alone: in Singapore he set off again after the pit stop dragging the petrol pipe behind him. Points lost. Decisive. At the grand finale in Brazil he is in extraordinary form: he wins, he rejoices, he is World Champion, or rather not: Lewis Hamilton recovers a position at the last corner and comes out on top. And we get to 2009. Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying: a spring detaches from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP and hits him at over 200 km/h, breaking through his helmet. Felipe Massa loses consciousness, ends up in hospital and is operated on his head. He will return the following year, but will no longer find the magic of certain races. There are two theories about it: the blow has left its mark or it is Fernando Alonso's talent and charisma that overshadows it. Either way, he won't win again. And we come to the end credits. Felipe greets like this:


"I would like to thank the team for all the victories and all the wonderful moments we spent together. I thank my wife and all my family, all my fans and sponsors".


He takes his leave with a promise:


"I want to push hard with Ferrari for these last seven races".


The future: the place left by Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus seems destined for Nico Hulkenberg. Which in turn will free up a seat at Sauber, a client team of Ferrari, the most probable and natural destination. Felipe Massa, 32, continues to dream like eight years ago when he arrived in Maranello and said:


"One day I want to become World Champion".


In Ferrari he no longer had space. On Sunday afternoon, after the Italian Grand Prix, they asked him:


"Would you like to stay at Ferrari as second driver?"


And he said yes, admitting for the first time that he was a follower. Ferrari left him the scene. Before speaking to him, Luca Montezemolo had joked on the subject:


"Tonight I will meet a driver and I will try to convince him: it is Michael Schumacher".


In reality the games have been made for some time. Kimi Raikkonen has already signed, there is talk of a two-year deal. And Ferrari in 2014, for the first time in the modern era, will field two World Champions.


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