Aug.30 (GMM) Ferrari will field the same driver lineup in 2009, the Italian marque's president Luca di Montezemolo said on Friday while visiting the final day of the Monza test.
He was responding to the latest rumours that Spaniard Fernando Alonso could be drafted in to replace the struggling Kimi Raikkonen.When asked if Raikkonen will still be Felipe Massa's teammate next year, Montezemolo is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Assolutamente si (absolutely yes).""I have heard the criticisms of Kimi but a few bad races does not mean you are in crisis," he insisted.Raikkonen, 28, testing at Monza on Friday, appeared unsurprised by Montezemolo's vote of confidence."For me, nothing has changed. I have always had a contract (for 2009)," the Finn said, adding that "nothing in particular" was discussed in his meeting with the Ferrari president.Montezemolo met not only with Raikkonen at the Italian circuit, he also stopped in the paddock to warmly greet Alonso, and even said hello to Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren area.But the Italian was keen to dispel the latest theories that Alonso is honing in on a Ferrari contract."I feel bad to see a great champion like him not among the top ten at Valencia. But as for Ferarri, he can relax."Montezemolo agreed that Massa's form indicates he is "ripe for the title", but refuses to write of the most highly paid Ferrari driver."No-one should forget who is the world champion, after he (Raikkonen) did what not many predicted, triumph in his first year (2007) with Ferrari."Kimi is motivated and we must work hard to help him qualify higher, especially on all these new circuits that I do not like, and that are bad for F1: you cannot overtake, and nine times out of ten the winner is he who gets pole."He also played down talk that Massa can rely on 'number one' treatment at least for the balance of his 2008 assault."This is a theme from the old days of Lauda and Regazzoni," Montezemolo said. "The lap times determine the hierarchy, not the president. Schumacher, Barrichello, Raikkonen or Massa: they were all racing for Ferrari."