September 7, 2013 / 5:33 PM / 6 years ago

Motor racing-Ferrari ready to make driver decision

MONZA, Italy, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Ferrari are ready to decide who will partner Fernando Alonso at their Formula One team next season, president Luca di Montezemolo said on Saturday without ruling out their 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen.

“We will think of this immediately after Monza because we wanted to arrive at this weekend without any strange pressure,” he told reporters after qualifying at Ferrari’s home Italian Grand Prix.

“We will take any decision in the next days and we haven’t taken any kind of a decision yet,” Montezemolo added. “We haven’t signed any contract with anybody, we will talk with (Felipe) Massa and then we have our opinion and then we will decide.”

Brazilian Massa is out of contract at the end of the season and paddock speculation is swirling around his future at the team after a season in which he has again been eclipsed by Alonso.

Raikkonen is also out of contract at Lotus, who want to keep him but need to provide the Finn with guarantees that they can pay his wages.

Sauber’s German Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified third and ahead of both Ferrari drivers on Saturday, has also been mentioned.

Raikkonen is Ferrari’s most recent world champion, leaving at the end of 2009 to make way for double world champion Alonso and spending two years in the world rally championship before making a comeback last year with Lotus.

Asked whether Ferrari could take Raikkonen back, Montezemolo replied: “Also we can take somebody else.

“What happened in the past with Kimi? We won a world championship. First of all, Kimi is a good driver. For us it was a big satisfaction to win with him the first championship with the new team without Michael (Schumacher), without Ross (Brawn),” he added.

“I think there are also the possibilities of some other drivers but there is also the possibility as last year that we decide to continue with Felipe. We haven’t taken any kind of decision yet at all.

“In every decision, you have to be very careful because you have plus and minus. Now is time to take a decision. Before it was too early. And we will take it.”

Montezomolo said relations with Alonso were good, despite a very public reprimand on his birthday in July after the Spaniard criticised his car and was then linked to a possible switch to champions Red Bull.

“The truth is that he was trying to go to Marussia,” joked Montezemolo, saluting the Spaniard as he walked past with a cheeky grin.

“He is a very important member of the family and I share sometimes his attitude that he would love to have a better car...everything is OK.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)

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