Alonso plays down talk of clash with new teammate Raikkonen

"My opinion was that Kimi was the best out there in the market," says Ferrari driver

Raikkonen (l) and Alonso at the Belgian Grand Prix in August.
Raikkonen (l) and Alonso at the Belgian Grand Prix in August.James Moy (James Moy Photography/Press Association Images / Cordon Press)

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso sought on Thursday to play down predictions that he will clash with his new teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, during the upcoming season. Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix, the Spaniard told the press that the team had warned him in advance that they were going to drop Felipe Massa, and asked him what he thought about Raikkonen as a replacement.

“My opinion was that Kimi was the best out there in the market and especially with a championship with many changes for next year, so a teammate with many years of F1 was important,” Alonso said. “The team chose him so I’m happy.”

Massa has served as a support driver for Alonso over the last four seasons, but Raikkonen — who raced for Ferrari from 2007 to 2009, winning a world championship at the team — is expected to be highly competitive back at the Italian outfit.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali dismissed talk of a clash as nothing more than psychological warfare.

“Maybe they have fear because we are strong,” Domenicali said on Thursday. “It’s part of the psychological war that is part of this game. It’s not really interesting for me because I don’t listen. Everyone can say what they want, but that’s it.”

Meanwhile, Raikkonen revealed on Thursday that his move to Ferrari from his current team, Lotus, was down to money. According to UK website Autosport, the Finnish driver has been paid his basic salary, but not performance-related bonuses.

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