Alonso yet to meet new Ferrari F1 boss

Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:45am EDT
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By Abhishek Takle

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso spoke warmly of Stefano Domenicali on Thursday and revealed he had yet to speak to new Ferrari Formula One team boss Marco Mattiacci ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.

Domenicali, who had been with the Italian team for 23 years, quit this week after taking responsibility for a poor start to the season for the sport's oldest and most successful constructor.

Mattiacci, a Ferrari executive with no Formula One experience, has taken charge of the team after previously heading the company's North America operations.

"I think that Stefano was a great man, first of all," Alonso, who has been at Ferrari since 2010, told reporters at the Shanghai International Circuit where he won last year.

"I'm a close friend of his, not just on the circuit. We ski together every January in Italy in the mountains. We still have a close relationship," added the Spaniard, who won his two championships with Renault.

"I think that will continue, because we have known each for many years and we have worked very closely for these couple of years, so that's important, to separate work from friendship."

Neither Alonso nor team mate Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, has met the new boss yet, and the Spaniard said Ferrari needed to give him time.

"No, I haven't had the chance...I don't know if he's coming here. I guess so, so it would be a good time to welcome him," Alonso said when asked if he had spoken to Mattiacci about the changes he would like to see in the team.   Continued...

Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain arrives for a news conference ahead of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit April 17, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria