Ferrari has singled out Sebastian Vettel over Lewis Hamilton as its future lead driver for when Fernando Alonso finally decides to retire from the sport.
Vettel has already been strongly linked to a move to Ferrari, and the company's president Luca di Montezemolo has not shied away from his praise of the German - who he thinks would be the perfect man for his team.
"Between all the drivers Vettel and Hamilton could be perfect for the Ferrari of the future with one difference - Vettel is younger," di Montezemolo was quoted as saying by the Independent.
"First of all, I think of all the drivers at the moment we have the best in Formula 1, in terms of speed, in terms of intelligence in the race and capability to work with the team. When you have the best driver you have to put him in the best condition to succeed, to win and have a good environment without peer troubles.
"But if Alonso decided tomorrow to go to live in Hawaii with the girlfriend I have no doubt that for human and professional reasons [I would choose] Vettel. He would be very good for us.
"Vettel I like because he is not presumptuous. He wants to win but he is not arrogant. Michael [Schumacher] told me many years ago that coming from karts Vettel had the most potential of any young driver and he was right."
Di Montezemolo ruled out the possibility of Vettel being lined up alongside Alonso, and made it clear that his current driver was still the star of the show.
Reflecting on the Spaniard's strengths, he suggested Alonso had the best qualities of both Niki Lauda and Schumacher.
"Niki was very intelligent in the race and the first driver to be closer to the team, details, working even in the night," he said. "Michael was for me a war machine in the race because he was in condition to do 60 laps like qualifying.
"Fernando is a good mix between the two. He is very intelligent. He knows when to push, how to save the tyres, when to attack, super intelligent and super quick, too.
"It is difficult to make comparisons [across different eras] but he is right at the top. I'm very happy with Fernando. He is a key member of the team."
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing
- Sebastian Vettel
- Fernando Alonso
- Luca di Montezemolo