• Singapore Grand Prix

Alonso backs Massa's credentials as a Ferrari driver

ESPN Staff
September 20, 2012 « Massa taking hope from Monaco performance | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso at a media event on Thursday © Sutton Images
Related Links

Fernando Alonso believes any driver hoping to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari next year must have a stronger track record than the Brazilian and be ready to work for the good of the team.

After a disappointing start to the season there has been widespread speculation that Massa will be replaced for 2013. Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta and even Kimi Raikkonen have been linked to the seat, but Ferrari has maintained that it is in no rush to make a decision.

Alonso, who admitted earlier this year that he would have some say in the identity of his team-mate for 2013, said any driver who replaces Massa must be a team player and have a past record to rival the Brazilian's 11 career wins and 33 podiums.

"I think we need to respect that the team will make a decision," he said in Singapore. "In my opinion we need a driver that will respect Ferrari and respect the tradition that here we work for the team and for the red cars. This is the first priority.

"Second, I have been working with Felipe for three years now with a very good relationship and if the team decides to change Felipe the person that arrives has to be better than Felipe. All the names and all the things written ... I don't know if they are written with the head or with the heart because all the names you hear, I don't know if you can compare [them] what Felipe did in Formula One and what these little names did in Formula One."

Alonso is currently leading the drivers' championship by 37 points from Lewis Hamilton and he said Ferrari would treat the McLaren driver as the main threat at this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

"We have always said since February that Lewis is the one I respect more because I know what he can do with good cars and bad cars. He's second so for sure if at any part of the race we cannot cover five drivers, because it is impossible to cover five with pit stops and so on, in that case we always need to cover the closest one and at the moment that is Lewis. At the past three races McLaren have won and it is again the favourite for this one. We need to stop that dominant position and we will bring some new parts to the car and are optimistic we can do well here and at the next two or three grands prix."

Alonso added that his objective this weekend is to race for victory.

"We need to wait and see tomorrow how the performance is, but our aim is to fight for pole and the win at this race. We have been competitive at Monaco, we've been competitive at Canada which are other street circuits so we will try to do our best again. We know how important pole position is so Saturday will be an important day."