, 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". (GMM)