Berny Ecclestone: "Fernando has a different character. He will not achieve at Ferrari what Michael did."
That will be a great relief to the Williams drivers - they will feel much safer!
I'd top that and claim that without Räikönnen being put into the shade by Massa in 2008 it wouldn't have happened.
Ferrari know precisley what they've got in Felipe baby. They've seen him stack up against MS and then against Kimi. An then they decided instead of paying ridicolous money to someone who barely matches Massa, why not try another guy that costs less, brings a good deal of sponsorship and might actually perform distinctively better than Felipe. And so far, that's precisley what happens.
But the main point is, had Räikönnen gone on and outperform Massa in 2008 and 2009 the same way Alonso does this year, he would still sit in that Ferrari. But for whatever reason he couldn't achieve that. That's the root of it all, the Santander cash was just a nice bonus.
I'm not sure that one can say that Massa is a known quantity anymore. I'd like to think that Ferrari have kept him out of loyalty as much as pragmatism, because they must surely have wondered whether he is the same driver that he was before Hungary '09.
I think your main point is probably correct. The Alonso to Ferrari situation was, like many issues debated on this forum, one where a number of factors all pulled in the same direction. I doubt if anyone on this board is in a position to say authoritatively what the relative weights of those factors were. Suffice to say that signing Alonso suited Ferrari and
Santander (and, I would guess, most of Alonso's fans. Although I suspect Ferrari only care about them when they are buying merchandise and/or petitioning the FIA. I'm such a cynic at times!)