Stefano Domenicali has played down Red Bull’s claim that Mark Webber chose the energy drink-owned team for 2013 despite the lure of Ferrari.
Unusually for an official press release, Red Bull recently quoted Webber as saying he had “discussions with Ferrari” this year but ultimately decided to extend his current contract for another season.
“I don’t like to speak of others,” Ferrari team boss Domenicali told the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo at Hockenheim. “But some people love to say these things to put on psychological pressure and also to raise themselves us, which is part of the racing world,” said the Italian.
Domenicali suggested the Webber talks were never serious.
“The contacts that Ferrari has with other drivers are normal and part of Formula One, but it’s contacts, and nothing else. Some drivers use these contacts for different purposes.
“I think this year the only candidate for a Ferrari drive not mentioned is Zorro,” he added. “We had already said before the Webber statement that Ferrari is not in a hurry to decide our other driver. And that remains true,” said Domenicali.
He is referring to the race seat currently occupied by Felipe Massa, whose form has improved markedly in the last few races. Domenicali denied Ferrari has to actively search out a potential replacement.
“The drivers come to talk to us. The strength of Ferrari is that we are Ferrari even in difficult times.”
And he hinted that all the talks will be called off if Massa continues to improve his form.
“If he can get rid of the difficulties he has been having, as seems to be the case now, I see him as one of the best Formula One drivers,” said Domenicali. “My hope was that Felipe would develop along with the F2012. In Barcelona, when I realised that our car had taken a leap forward, I thought to myself ‘now Felipe can return to what he was’.
“So I was very happy to see his pace in Monaco.”