Stefano Domenicali has denied Fernando Alonso pushed for the hiring of fellow Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa as Ferrari’s new simulator driver.
With his 2012 race employer HRT now folded, it is rumoured de la Rosa had to start looking around for a new job because McLaren – where he served as the British team’s highly respected and long-time test driver – was unimpressed with the 41-year-old’s continual departures.
And his arrival at Ferrari may have been helped by the ‘Alonso factor’, as they are both Spaniards and – ironically – were friends at McLaren during the notorious ‘spygate’ scandal.
Indeed, de la Rosa’s new Ferrari role has triggered suggestions Alonso is having an increasing influence on the shape of the fabled Maranello team.
‘We took the decision as a team,’ team boss Domenicali insisted, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
‘We needed to make a jump in quality in that (simulator) area, and Pedro met our requirements perfectly.
‘Then, if he does get on with both Fernando and Massa, that’s even better! We can therefore avoid confusion (in the team)!’ he smiled.