Alonso discussing Ferrari future
PARIS (AP) — Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is holding talks over his future with Ferrari, and the Italian manufacturer’s outgoing president, Luca Di Montezemolo, hopes a suitable decision can be reached.
With Ferrari failing to match either Mercedes or Red Bull for speed this season and last, the Spanish driver has grown frustrated at not being able to challenge for a third title.
“Alonso is in Japan discussing his future at Ferrari,” Montezemolo told reporters at the Paris Motor Show on Thursday. “If he will stay, yes we will be pleased.”
He added that “if we share with him the decision” for him to leave, then it would be done “in the best way” for both parties.
Ferrari finished third last year in the constructors’ championship and is now fourth behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams with five races remaining, starting with this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.
Alonso is fourth overall, but more than 100 behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who leads teammate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
The F1 champion in 2005 and 2006, Alonso has managed only two podium finishes this season and has not won a race since the Spanish GP in May last year.
Ferrari has added 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen to its team this season, but the Finnish driver has struggled and is down in 11th place.
The 67-year-old Montezemolo spent 23 years as Ferrari president, overseeing Michael Schumacher winning five F1 titles and Raikkonen another.
But a recent decline, culminating at last month’s Italian Grand Prix where Ferrari failed to put a car on the podium in its home race for the first time since 2008, led to his departure.
He will officially leave on Oct. 13, about the same time as the stock listing of merged parent company Fiat-Chrysler, and will be replaced by that company’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne. Fiat has a 90 percent controlling stake in Ferrari.
Associated Press writer Angela Charlton contributed to this report.