F1 Trio Back Ferrari's 'Fire And Ice' 2014 Team, Lauda Defends Vettel Photo:
TMR Team | Sep, 27 2013 | 0 Comments

Alain Prost, David Coulthard and even Bernie Ecclestone have played down suggestions Ferrari's 2014 driver lineup will blow up in the Italian giant's face.

Many raised their eyebrows at the Maranello based team's decision to pair the fiery Latin 'number 1' Fernando Alonso with the cool but often controversial Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who was Ferrari's last world champion in 2007.

An all-star lineup like that blew up spectacularly at McLaren in the late 90s, when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost went to war as teammates.

"Everybody thinks about the reality between me and Senna but it has also worked well," Frenchman Prost, comparing the legendary McLaren pairing with the prospect of Alonso-Raikkonen, is quoted by the Mirror.

"It worked very well for the team, we really put the team on top. It is going to be more difficult but it can work," he insisted.

David Coulthard, the former McLaren and Red Bull driver, agrees that Ferrari's decision is not as crazy as some assume.

"It does make sense," he told the German newsmagazine Focus.

"Ferrari had a lot of patience for Felipe Massa but the management also knows it needs the strongest possible driver pair to finally compete again for the titles."

But the fiery Alonso and the impolite Raikkonen? Could that really work?

"Ferrari knows Raikkonen," said Coulthard, "and knows what it's getting with him.

"He's uncomplicated and apolitical.

"And Alonso is also over 30 (years old) these days and mature enough to understand how they need to work together to get the best out of Ferrari.

"They will leave their battles on the track -- as it should be," said the retired Scot.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is yet another significant paddock voice who thinks Ferrari's 2014 pairing could be inspired.

"Kimi has enough common sense to avoid quarrelling," he is quoted by Italy's Autosprint.

And while Alonso "has this reputation of being a troublemaker", Ecclestone acknowledged, "I don't think it's justified".



Raikkonen to be fit for Korea - trainer

Sep.26 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen's trainer has played down rumours the Finn could sit out next weekend's Korean grand prix.

The Lotus driver struggled with pain throughout the recent Singapore weekend, and it emerged afterwards that Raikkonen is suffering an injury where a rib meets his spine.

Subsequently, rumours emerged that the 2007 world champion will have to undergo surgery.

But Raikkonen's trainer Mark Arnall told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat: "Kimi will be back in full running order next week in Korea."



McLaren door still open for Hulkenberg - report

Sep.26 (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg is in the running not only at Lotus for 2014, but also McLaren.

That is the claim of the German magazine Sport Bild, who said even a return to Force India for the German has not been ruled out.

Hulkenberg, 26, admitted in Singapore last weekend that moving from Force India to Sauber last winter might have been a mistake.

"Well, regret is a big word," he told the British broadcaster Sky, "but if you move teams you want to progress, you want to move forward."

Hulkenberg came close to a deal with Ferrari for 2014, until the Italian team secured Kimi Raikkonen's high-profile return.

Sport Bild said Lotus is now the strongest option for Hulkenberg, amid rumours a looming sponsor deal between Arab investors and the Enstone based team ruled Felipe Massa out of the equation.

The report said while Hulkenberg is on the cusp of becoming Raikkonen's successor, the door at McLaren might be slightly ajar.

Sport Bild said there are rumours Sergio Perez's Mexican backer Telmex is behind in its payments to the Woking based team.

The fact Hulkenberg is waiting for McLaren before signing a Lotus contract would tie in with the very latest rumours -- that Lotus is now considering the sponsor millions that Brazilian GP2 driver Felipe Nasr could bring.

Hulkenberg's manager Werner Heinz said: "Nothing is signed, but we are in a good position."

Separately, it is believed Raikkonen's switch to Ferrari sealed Lotus' intention to keep Romain Grosjean on board for another season.

The team's trackside boss Alan Permane thinks the Frenchman is ready to step into a leading role.

"Obviously it depends who he has as his teammate, a strong character or who it is," he said. "But I don't see why not.

"Now's his chance -- and he looks to be taking it, which is really good to see."



Lauda defends Vettel's 'balls in pool' comment

Sep.26 (GMM) Another F1 figure has defended Sebastian Vettel, after the reigning world champion made a crass observation about his rivals.

After getting booed on the podium yet again in Singapore, the Red Bull driver surmised that the detractors are "jealous", and implied that his rivals are not beating him because they are lazy.

"Whilst there's a lot of people hanging their balls in the pool very early on Fridays, we're still here working very hard and pushing very hard," Vettel had said.

His boss, Dr Helmut Marko, said Vettel's comment was "great and pithy, and anyway it's true".

"Seb wants to keep the workload just as high in the team as it has been," said the Austrian.

But even a rival team figure has defended Vettel's crass comment.

"I liked what he said," triple world champion and F1 legend Niki Lauda told Bild newspaper.

"Plain speaking is always good, even if I think that we work just as hard at Mercedes.

"But there is some truth to it; Vettel has a huge ambition and it rubs off on his team," he added.

Lauda also weighed into the debate about Vettel's unpopularity among the fans, recalling that he was also booed during his successful F1 career.

"I was booed brutally in 1977 at Hockenheim," he said, "because the fans saw me as the gravedigger of the Nurburgring because of my accident the year before.

"The fans were outraged even though I couldn't do anything about it (the Nurburgring's fate)," Lauda explained. "But they whistled like crazy anyway."

However, he said the crowd often has a very short memory.

"Then I won the race for Ferrari," said Lauda, "and those who previously booed were cheering just as loudly."


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