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Alonso waves away Montezemolo criticism as “a misunderstanding”
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Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Aug 2013   |  5:38 pm GMT  |  174 comments

A defiant Fernando Alonso spoke today for the first time about the unprecedented public criticism of him by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ferrari published an article days after the Hungarian race, with Montezemolo calling for the team to fight together, with a knife between the teeth and noting “the latest comments from Fernando Alonso, which did not go down well with Montezemolo, nor with anyone in the team. So, when Montezemolo called the Spaniard this morning to wish him a happy birthday, he also tweaked his ear, reminding him that, “all the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own. This is the moment to stay calm, avoid polemics and show humility and determination in making one’s own contribution, standing alongside the team and its people both at the track and outside it.”

While the Italian media believes that it was his comment, “What would I like for my birthday? The same car as the others,” Alonso said that he and his management had been through all the comments he had made in that weekend and others and could not find anything that directly criticised the team and the car, as had been claimed.

“I think it was wrong information coming to the president,” Alonso said during his packed press briefing in the Ferrari motorhome at Spa.

“We looked back to all the press conferences – these days with recorders etc it’s easy to check exactly what you say – and it was nothing different to any other grand prix and I tried to push for the best for the team and for our performance.”

Asked by this website what lessons he and Montezemolo had learned from this unprecedented attack by a president on his leading driver, Alonso said that the burden of representing Ferrari meant that every statement was scrutinised more than other drivers,

“It was so clear in the young driver test, ” he went on. “I said I was not going to the young driver test because there was nothing to test, there are no tyres to test and there is no setup possibility. [The press said] ‘Alonso creates big polemics against Ferrari, against Pirelli, against the world!’

“But Kimi was not going and its funny…This is the repercussion of being Ferrari and the president and me talked about this as well.

“Also, we learned doing four press conferences in the weekend in three different languages; two of them are not in my mother language and I am from the north, so don’t speak perfect Spanish…it means there can be mistakes and there can be misunderstandings.

“What we need to do is to concentrate on racing because we need to be together, we need to be united and we need to win this championship.

Perhaps the real trigger for Montezemolo’s anger, on top of the team’s waning competitiveness, was the note from Red Bull that Alonso’s manager had approached them for a chat about the future.

Alonso saw that one off in short order: “I think the president is a very intelligent man to separate what is rumour and what can be true,” he said. “We have both been in F1 for many years now and we know what the summer break means in terms of rumours so there were never questions.”

Alonso’s body language was open and defiant. He gave little away emotionally, save for a wipe of the eye when discussing the Montezemolo criticism. Asked point blank whether he would be driving for Ferrari next year he gave a shrug which implied “of course” but he didn’t say it. Some Italian colleagues believe that he may decide to stop or take a sabbatical next year if he does not win the title this year.


In the current context, the idea of Kimi Raikkonen returning to Ferrari seems not so far fetched. He is a world champion and he is on good form. Although the parting in 2009 was fairly bitter, he knows the ropes at Ferrari, knows many of the senior people including Stefano Domenicali, James Allison and Pat Fry well and would provide an insurance policy for the team against anything going wrong with Alonso.

Alonso made reference in the Italian part of the conference to the fact that when Raikkonen and current incumbent Massa were team mates in 2008/9 Raikkonen had not looked particularly good,

“In 2008/9 when they were together Felipe was stronger than Kimi,” said Alonso.

Raikkonen and Ferrari are clearly kicking the tyres on reunion at the moment, looking at the matter from every angle.

Alonso also spoke of the championship situation and observed that the title will be decided in the next four races, as these will show the level of competitiveness of the leading teams with the final raft of developments before the focus moves onto 2014. He said that Lewis Hamilton has to be taken seriously as a title contender and hoped that he and Ferrari would be able to challenge Sebastian Vettel to the end.

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174 Comments
  1. shri says:

    If Ferrari cannot get the deficit down from RB in terms of performance in the next 2-3 races then it would be nearly impossible for Alonso to win the WDC.

    1. blackmamba says:

      It’s nearly 8 years since Alonso won the WDC, that’s a long time in F1. Maybe he is just destined to be a 2 time World Champion.

      1. Sebee says:

        Wow.

        Only Schumi is WDC-less longer. :-)

      2. Joseba Arregui says:

        If Alonso doesn’t have more WDC is because of his bad decisions when choosing teams…

      3. Rich B says:

        what were the choices he got wrong?

      4. Aaron Noronha says:

        He rejected Red Bull for Ferrari lol

      5. Tim says:

        Whilst at McLaren, some of his decisions were not exactly top draw ;-)

      6. Tealeaf says:

        What choices did he make that was wrong? let’s see, shouldn’t have joined McLaren and Ron Dennis, then why go back to Renault when he could have gone to ‘Newey’ and Redbull and been their number 1, then at the end of 2008 another blunder, he was offered the seat at Brawn at Brackley but declined and stayed in that dog of a Renault and then end of that year could have signed for Redbull again but again he declined and went to Ferrari for his image boost and a huge pay check, and now he’s panicking because his legacy is at risk and realising he won’t win another title unless Byrne can make a blinder next year.

      7. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        So RAIKKONEN and HULKENBERG for Ferrari in 2014.

        Maybe.

      8. Totall73 says:

        I agree with you. ALO will take a sabbatical and go to RBR in 2015 when VET leaves for Ferrari. The other more distant option is that ALO will pack Santander with him and go to Lotus for 2014.

      9. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        However, you could argue that his two championships were against arguably the best ever.

      10. justafan says:

        But does it make them worth more than Clark’s Championships? Jimmy never had the chance to drive against the ‘arguably best ever’ as you put it, because he was driving in a different era, long before the ‘arguably best ever’ was even born.

      11. schumerak says:

        2005 was a joke championship with Ferraris juggernaut handicapped by undriveable tyres..

      12. K says:

        With what was considered to be an illegal car.

      13. Tealeaf says:

        Wewll 2005 the competition was not Ferrari as Bridgestone couldn’t get the single set of tyre per race to work, and the McLaren was as reliable Alfa Romeo, in 2006 the illegal mass dampers gave them the title, Schumacher was faster more of the time.

  2. dj says:

    Kimi to Ferrari rumours might be true then as you mentioned Alonso might take a sabbatical next year if he doesn’t win the WDC.

  3. Sarvar says:

    The last paragraph shows how ALO is subconsciously aware that the title is slipping away from him

    1. Sebee says:

      You mean…consciously. And with Mercedes now pushing Ferrari further back, check and mate.

  4. Chromatic says:

    The danger for alonso of raising the topic of Kimi’s previous tenure at Ferrari is surely obvious to all. Kimi won titles for the scuderia, whether or not he had the upper hand over Massa.

    1. Roberto says:

      By that logic, Alonso shouldn’t mention Michael Schumacher either. Having a WDC under one’s belt when driving a Ferrari is history, not a predictor of future success. Alonso, Kimi, and perhaps even Michael Schumacher and Massa have the ability to win a future WDC in a Ferrari, but not until Ferrari comes up with a truly competitive car (make that REALLY competitive car in the case of M.S. and Massa). ;)

      1. dimitris says:

        The question is, how competitive? Anyone of five drivers on the current grid can win the championship if he has the fastest and most reliable car. Alonso raised the stakes by making the rather ourageous claim that he can win with a car slower by three tenths than the fastest car. I do not recall anyone winning a championship with a slower car, unless reliability issues are involved, as in 2005 with Kimi and Maclaren. Even then the Renault was not three tenths slower, and had practically a three race advantage since the Maclarens were not competitive in the first three races. Also, Alonso marketed himself as one who excels in the development of the car. But Ferrari has not shown the development pace of other teams, such as Red Bull, rather the gap is growing as the season progresses. It is certainly not Alonso’s fault since drivers do not design the car, the engineers do. But with his claims he raised expectations and he cannot, and I do not believe any of the other top drivers can, deliver with a car three tenths slower.

      2. marco says:

        If you do not recall a champion on a car slower than others you are young enough not to remember Ayrton Senna with Mc.Laren when Mansell’s Williams was quite faster.I think it was 91, not sure.

      3. dimitris says:

        If my memory does not fail me, Mansell had in 1991 five retirements to Senna’s one. No matter how faster the car is, no way that kind of deficit can be covered. The only driver who almost did it and had one more retirement than the winner, Schumi, was Kimi in 2003.

      4. M.Alboreto says:

        Roberto, you dont know your history son!

        Was the Ferrari of 1998/99 “really” competitive? but schumacher narrowly missed out on 98 and bar breaking a leg in 99′ would have won that.

        Not to mention winning races in a dog of a ferrari in 1996, his championships from 2000-2004 mean the M.S shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath, my friend.

        ***

        F1 fans on J.A (well some of them anyway) are like the press, they sway their opinions from one race to another. Alonso is a true great, 2005/2006 championships were head and shoulders above Kimi/Hamilton/Vettels…

        Alonso is up there with Fangio/Senna/Clark/Schumacher in my humble opinion!

      5. Roberto says:

        I’ve probably been following GP racing longer than you’ve been alive. Perhaps English is not your first language. My reply was to the OP’s opinion that Kimi had won a title in the Ferrari in the past and that should somehow endanger Alonso NEXT year. Yes, MS won in the past in what may not have been the best car, but you’re talking about 15 years ago. This thread is addressing next year. MS can still drive, but not like he used to and he’s way too old now to win a WDC without a dominant car. That was not the case in the past, but it certainly is now. Massa would need a dominant car too. Alonso and Kimi not so much, but they would need something better than what Ferrari has provided for them in 2013, at least so far. Does that clear it up for you?

      6. Elie says:

        What absolute Rubbish Raikkonen won 7 races in 2005 and his Mercedes engined Mclaren blew up 3 times when he was in the lead- he still finished 2nd by 1or 2 points- he would have decimated Fernando. It also failed him twice against Michael in 2003 and several other glitches and he only lost by several points to MS. Raikkonen in his Mclaren years 2002-2006 was fastest driver on the planet – bar none !!( ask any of the greats) there was a reason Ferrari replaced MS with Kimi don’t ever forget that. We know politics and negative influence MS had at Ferrari from 2008

      7. KARTRACE says:

        I agree that Alonso is already in the Hall of the fame of the greatest ever no matter what he achieves till the end of his racing career. The fact that LDM doesn’t have strong team and is trying to divert focus from a poor team work at SF is all together another issue. I do not agree that Ferrari F1 car was a poor one in 1999. Remember that even Edie Irvin narrowly missed the title that season. On the other hand FA showed in 2011 and 2012 that he is a real fighter but there were some other factors which played against him. One was a pretty poor performance of his team mate and the other one a very weak leadership of Domenicali. Doneciali brought Scuderia to its knees.

      8. Tealeaf says:

        Hahahahahaha Alonso joins Fangio and Senna? Yet Schumacher, Prost, Vettel nowhere on your list? the thing is Alonso is scared of a fast driver if you stick Vettel or Hamilton in that Ferrari now Alonso would soon be taking a sabbatical.

  5. dean cassady says:

    The most relevant item in this report is, as follows, “… Asked point blank whether he would be driving for Ferrari next year he gave a shrug… …but he didn’t say…”.

    Shrugging is far from confirmation at the Alonso Media Corporation. This is significant.

    To me, this says, ‘team rosters are in flux, including Ferrari and I’.

    Where would you like to see:
    1. Alonso?
    2. Kimi?

    3. Who would you prefer to see driving at Ferrari next year?

    1. Tim says:

      Here is an extract from the BBC F1 website:

      Asked directly by BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie if he would be at Ferrari next season, Alonso nodded and said “yes”.

      1. 69bhp says:

        bear in mind who writes the BBC articles.

    2. Sebee says:

      I’m putting my money on no changes.

      Kimi stays at Lotus.
      Alonso stays at Ferrari with Santander.

      I’m now officialy checking out – this story has drained me. Yes, it’s possible!

      1. Tim says:

        I think you are correct on the drivers. I can’t See FA leaving/retiring, or whatever, and I also don’t see FA and KR as team mates – too much potential for fireworks. Ferrari need a decent #2 and neither KR or FA are #2 drivers.

      2. Alex Tronnach says:

        For once I agree with you Sebee.
        Plus I raise you that Dan will be in the Red Bull

      3. Sebee says:

        Just once? :-)

        Well, right back at you. I also think Daniel is going to RBR for many logical reasons.

        We have a few more days to place our bets, then we have to wait for the wheel to spin and we will know!

    3. Elie says:

      The most telling thing for me is that Kimi today said that talks had disconnected (discontinued). Which means to me they made him an offer that he didn’t want.
      With Horner blowing his trumpet about endless options- it seems less likely Kimi will end up there- although the next few races will be very telling!Everything is pointing to post Monza – because Ferrari will want to know what their doing then too. On a side note did anyone notice JEV’S FP2 performance today- just a coincidence- I reckon All bets are back on the table! Hold on to your hats the roller coaster is taking off again.

  6. Truth or Lies says:

    Well who’d have thought…

  7. OJ says:

    What I would really love to see is a Button-Alonso dream team at Ferrari or even Mclaren(when they get their act together). These two are head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to delivering results with a sub-par car. I also feel Alonso could benefit from Button’s expertise in set-up and tyre management, while he learns more aggression from Alonso. These two would dominate the field given the chance: hopefully Ferrari will offer Button a second seat so they could have a pairing every bit as potent as Prost/Senna.

    1. Anop says:

      “Alonso could benefit from Button’s expertise in set-up and tyre management” – maybe in tyre management but set-up wise I think Button is the worst out of all world champions on the grid.

      Its always the setup when he is not fast. Either oversteer or understeer. Not to mention his tyre management goes out of the window with set-up issues as the set-up destroys his tyres.

      1. clyde says:

        Ha Ha What a joker !

      2. Elie says:

        The 2 worst qualifiers out of the top 6 guys and is it no coincidence it’s always the cars fault in both Mclaren and Ferrari with these two..whinge & whingier.. Really crazy comment when you consider the options available to both teams

      3. KARTRACE says:

        If your theory could hold the water what about Massa ? Historically Massa is a great qualifier. And why he couldn’t qualify better this year, then what he does ? I’ll tell you. That dog of a car is a poor miscarriage. Only greatness of Alonso and his race craft could keep that design in the contention this year, much the same in 2012.

      4. Elie says:

        @kartrace- I did say out of the top 6 !. But even Massa out qualified him earlier in the year and late year.

      5. James Clayton says:

        Also I thought last season finally put an end to the button the tyre master myth?

    2. Colombia Concalvez says:

      I really hope you are joking hahaha

    3. Cliff says:

      Seriously….

    4. Mr squizzer says:

      Ha ha good one

    5. Andrew says:

      When has Button ever delivered results in a sub par car?
      He can be very good when he’s happy in the car but when it doesn’t suit him he struggles. Barrichello beat him in the last year at Honda but not at Brawn.

    6. Sanky says:

      lol …Button couldn’t even figure out his set-up in some races last year and copied his teammate’s

      1. Grabsplatter says:

        “lol …Button couldn’t even figure out his set-up in some races last year and copied his teammate’s”

        Schumacher copied Barrichello’s set up on several occasions, and he was a bit good.

    7. Tim says:

      Just the smallest of hooks and the thinnest of line – it will be interesting to see what you ‘catch’ with that comment ;-)

    8. Michael Powell says:

      Do you mean Jenson? Jenson Button? The ex-Honda chap? THAT Button? hahahahahahahahaha. Bizarre. Have you ever watched a Grand Prix?

    9. Mike Martin says:

      +0

      “a couple of postings like this a day will make the hardcore F1 fans stay away”

    10. dean cassady says:

      I like Button, but he is just not in the top group, with Alonso, Kimi, Vettel, and Hamilton; he’s the top of the next group with Webber, and Rosberg, and maybe Perez and Grosjean.

  8. dimitris says:

    Very intriguing situation. It is certainly not a rumour that Alonso’s manager contacted Red Bull, so for Alonso to dismiss it as a rumour, rather than stating boutright and with conviction that he is committed to Ferrari for better or worse and that all the rest is a lot of nonsense, makes me think that the jury is still out regarding his stay at Ferrari. The Kimi rumour to Ferrari must then have a solid basis.
    His comment on the Massa/Kimi situation is also intriguing. Is he saying that Kimi will not do any better than Massa is doing now, thus sending a message to Ferrari to the effect that they already have a driver of Kimi’s calibre in Massa? Surely the Massa of 2006,2007 and 2008 has nothing to do with the post-injury Massa.
    If he contemplates leaving or taking a sabbatical if he does not win the championship this year, which is likely given the performance of Seb and Lewis, and perhaps, as a long shot, Kimi, then apparently he has no faith in the team to produce a competitive car for 2014, and that his objective of becoming a three time champion will not be realized. This is perhaps at the root of his disatisfaction with Ferrari.

    1. Galapago555 says:

      Alonso’s manager has other clients within the sport.

      1. Doohan says:

        Da Costa being one of them who recently tested for Red Bull.
        Yet people seem to be forgetting that

    2. monsterFG says:

      and people forget that Kimi left almost suddenly so it wouldnt be surprising seeing Kimi move ot ferrari and Alonso leaving, after all this is f1 and no contract is safe…

  9. fox says:

    I got an idea to watch ‘Lie to me’ again to apply it to the F1 interviews.

    1. Kirk says:

      Agree, just look at this sentence:…. “Also, we learned doing four press conferences in the weekend in three different languages; two of them are not in my mother language and I am from the north, so don’t speak perfect Spanish”

      Well, I’m native Spanish speaker and I’ have heard Alonso a lot in Spanish and he speaks perfect in this language, at this point that was just an excuse.

  10. Mitchel says:

    “kicking the tyres”

    Brilliant metaphor :)

  11. Joel Sciamma says:

    The fates of Ferrari and Alonso are tied together and both parties know it.

    Nevertheless, I get the feeling that Alonso’s arrow fell precisely where he wanted it to. Clever chap.

    Having cleared the air and redefined their common purpose, they can get on with pushing themselves up the order and preparing for the big challenge in 2014.

    1. davis says:

      Is that you Andrew Benson?

      1. Jannto says:

        +1 (davis)

      2. Dutch Johnny says:

        Haha comment of the day!

      3. Sri says:

        May be not as he did not use “Alonso, the most complete driver on the grid” even once in his post.

      4. 69bhp says:

        hahaha good one!!!

      5. Marcelo says:

        +1! That cracked me up.

      6. Cakes says:

        Probably the best comment I have seen on JAonF1. Give him the book James!!

      7. Lars says:

        Agree with Cakes. One of the best comments ever on one of the best F1 sites.

      8. Joel Sciamma says:

        Oh well, maybe the impersonation was too good :-)

        Missing out on the WDC after that big effort in 2012 has done some damage, so this is the fall out. Alonso is making sure everyone understands his position, as if it wasn’t obvious, but it does nothing to help this year, which is probably a bust.

  12. Thread the Needle says:

    I believe Kimi would go back to Ferrari, he may want to stay at Lotus but they don’t have the money

    It would be a real shock if kimi arrived and Alonso took a year out or left

  13. AlexD says:

    Honestly…..there is not much Alonso can do apart from never leaving possible points on the table. Ferrari should deliver the car that can win races and can fight for pole positions. Everything else is absolutely meaningless and has zero value. Give him the car and he will deliver. Period.

    1. luqa says:

      “Give him the car and he will deliver.”
      So true- as will the top dozen or so drivers currently on the grid!

    2. W Johnson says:

      True of most top drivers. Right now, McLaren may close to the race pace performance of Ferrari. We shall soon see if Spa delivers for McLaren.

    3. Kimi4WDC says:

      How many less points you think Vettel or any other Ferrari’s competitor would have if Alonso’s team mate would be scoring at least 70% of his tally?

  14. fia ointment says:

    Alex d spot on fernandos delivered maximum of cars potential when set up competative massa also

  15. Colombia Concalvez says:

    Ferrari should have known a day like this would come with Alonso, look what he has caused at McLaren and Lotus/Renault. Alonso has a record of accusing the hand that feeds him. Alonso is a pretty ungrateful character, it’s never him. To be honest, i never believed that Alonso is/was the best on the grid, it was a campaign by his fans and the media that keep overhyping Alonso.

    1. Tim L says:

      His driving says volumes how good he is, In a RB he would be much faster

      1. ngwe_f1 says:

        Max Chilton would be much faster in a RB. Your point?

    2. H.Guderian says:

      Yes, you are right (AS USUAL). And his *TWO* WDC titles (beating Schummy and that mighty Ferrari) are just media hype… 8-)

    3. Laurence H says:

      I seem to remember that the team principals voted him as best driver on the grid (or something like that). I think they know a bit more than any of us…

    4. Tim says:

      I agree that Alonso is a fairly untrustworthy and somewhat sneaky character. But I don’t agree with you when you say he is not a good driver, he is exceptional. It’s because he is so good, that teams are prepared to offer him a drive – despite the negatives!

    5. clyde says:

      What you believe does not really matter ….Im sure the team principals and drivers know better :-)

    6. KARTRACE says:

      Was Maestro also a sneaky character ? Fangio won all his titles with different teams. It is job of the team to deliver the hard wear and the rest is for the driver. Alonso on the rating scale was 110/10 while team 5/10. That speaks for itself. Also keeping idling Massa on the team for so long was detrimental for SF and Alonso’s results as well. And whose fault was that ? I’d say LDM, the( il padre) “the father” of SF famiglia. He should’ve been sucked by now.

  16. Galapago555 says:

    One thing that I can not understand is that nobody is bringing a link to Fernando’s actual words about his b’day present. I am sure that all the words that an F1 diver says in front of the media are carefully recorded.

    What do you think, James? Who’s lying here? Fernando or Italian media?

    1. Sri says:

      Yes. I’ve seen all kinds of responses being given as Alonso’s: “Someone else’ car”, “some other car”, “Red Bull” etc. Not sure what he actually said. Perhaps lost in translation or may be he gave all of these in different languages.

  17. Quade says:

    When a team boss see’s nothing wrong with handing out gift daggers at a corporate meeting, you know the driver might not be the biggest problem they have.

    ‘Just saying.

    1. H.Guderian says:

      P-E-R-F-E-C-T!!!!

      LdM and Domenicalli must leave NOW.

    2. Chris Chong says:

      Yes, the gifts-procurement dept at Ferrari needs to be sorted out FAST.

    3. Michael says:

      They are in Italy. What makes you think you have any clue what the customs are there? Do you think that every place in the world that has different customs from yours are bad?

    4. +1

      I didn’t go there at the time but that HAS to be one of the most politically incorrect gifts from a leader to their team ever (unless you are a bunch of mercenaries going on a suicidal mission and may need to fight your way out to save YOUR life – not the team’s life).

    5. Elie says:

      Ya Nailed It Quade ! Last Ferrari championships was under Todt/ Raikkonen!. Both of them !!

  18. Rob Newman says:

    Excuse me … there was no misunderstandings … Mr Montezemolo clearly said “Pull your socks up … or else … “.

  19. goferet says:

    It’s true, Alonso didn’t directly criticise the team but by saying he wants a car like the others, he was indirectly saying, the Ferrari wasn’t too good.

    And yes am surprised that Alonso has just got to learn of the fact that when you’re a Ferrari employee then your words and actions will be placed under a microphone.

    Perhaps the true lesson Luca and Alonso learnt from this is that you should be careful what you wish because sometimes dreams don’t come true.

    Regards 2014, am really perturbed by Alonso’s shrugging of the shoulders, the only people that do that are the ones that are living day to day and have no idea what the future might hold.

    On the point of this year’s championship, I don’t think Alonso needs the next 4 races to figure out on which way the trophies are headed. I for one believe the titles were sealed at Silverstone when Pirelli agreed to ship out more durable tyres.

    1. Tim says:

      It’s true, Alonso didn’t directly criticise the team but by saying he wants a car like the others, he was indirectly saying, the Ferrari wasn’t too good…

      If I said that your girlfriend was a salad dodger. Would I be directly or indirectly criticising her?

      1. goferet says:

        @ Tim

        Lol interesting question.

        But definitely that would be a criticism that the missus needs to cut back on the fish and chips.

      2. Elie says:

        Hehehe!!- love it Tim. Brilliant analogy. & yes that would be rather upsetting regardless !! Lol

  20. There is something that doesn’t quite connect in these two quotes from the article above:

    First from Ferrari’s comments: when Montezemolo . . . he also tweaked his ear, reminding him that, “all the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own. This is the moment to stay calm, avoid polemics and show humility and determination in making one’s own contribution, standing alongside the team and its people both at the track and outside it.”

    And subsequently from F.A.: “I think the president is a very intelligent man to separate what is rumour and what can be true,”

    If this was a ‘misunderstanding’ or a translation issue from interviews in other languages, then wouldn’t ya think that Monty would have been more careful to have determined the truth before dressing a driver down?

    Just seems that if F.A.’s “thinking” is correct the “president” would have been pretty sure of the substance before attacking.

    1. KARTRACE says:

      I think he is actually addressing here someone else. That one is supposed to be thinking something like this. “If Monty is prepared to publicly “dress down” his biggest asset, that Ferrari got, what is left for me ? And that could be, in my view, Domenicali. As he is the key of this whole(un)success. We mustn’t forget eider the effect that is called Santander.

  21. Sammy says:

    Well, we from Ferrari don’t need Kimi at all.

    Do you really think Kimi will beat Alonso or would have done better then him in the last few years?
    Kimi was very lucky in his chamionship race in Brazil whereas Alonso was several times very very unlucky.

    We’ll keep Alonso because he’s the best out there but Massa is quite a different story – next year I suspect to see Alonso pairing with Jules Bianchi with Massa retiring.

    1. Jude says:

      Is that you, Luca?

      1. Anant Deboor says:

        +1

        Hahahahahahahhahahah!

      2. No, if it was Luca he would have used the word “polemic” at least once. So it has to be Stefano.

    2. Jannto says:

      Thank you from these insights from the real Ferrari man, which I assume you are. I agree you don’t need Kimi as he does not need you. It just depends on how much you are willing to pay for him to drive (instead not to drive). Simple solution is to offer too little and he has to settle with some other ‘inferior’ team (RB, Lotus).

    3. dean cassady says:

      Alonso would never voluntarily be head-to-head in the same machinery as Kimi.
      If Kimi goes to Ferrari, that would be the only reason for Alonso to take a year off.

      1. How ironic would that be?

      2. KARTRACE says:

        That got nothing to do with Fernando. It is simply Monty’s job to decide who will pair him. I do not see any chance Monty admitting his own mistake when they paid out Kimmi and kept Massa.

    4. dean cassady says:

      I think they are talking to Hulkenberg; I see him as the de facto leader for the Ferrari seat, if indeed Kimi does not go there.

      1. James Allen says:

        Hulkenberg is in pole position for the Lotus seat if Kimi leaves

      2. justafan says:

        I would prefer Kimi staying at Lotus, this way every top team has a World Champion and no team has two Champions, as would be the case should kimi chose RBR or Fer. Hulk to Fer would be interesting, though. Or Hulk to Lotus to partner Kimi would be good as well.

      3. David Goss says:

        What if Kimi stays, though? i.e. Is he in with a chance of replacing Grosjean?

      4. Doohan says:

        He’s moved around that kid

  22. Curro says:

    The language excuse does not work. And to say that being from northern Spain his Spanish is not good is bollocks. I mean, “a car like the others” is not a complicated phrase, he could probably say it in Russian!

  23. Dean says:

    Alonso is a smart guy. He knows that even with Allison, there is something really wrong within the design department if they continuously bring updates that dont work, year in and year out. Also, the problems with the windtunnel seem to persist, for years now.

    With Horner suggesting some big names called to him for Webbers seat, I wouldnt be suprised if Alonso’s was amongst them. The contract issues could be mediated by Ecclestone, as he always does, and Alonso would be in a Newey designed car, with a design team behind it that delivers.

    So even if it was a misunderstanding between Alonso and Montezemolo, im sure it hasnt helped Ferrari’s cause keeping their most important part of the team and if Kimi, the prefered choice of Red Bull, keeps on saying no, I think theres a good chance of seeing Alonso partnering Vettel.

  24. W Johnson says:

    A misunderstanding? Of course it was…those pesky italian journo’s!

    So why come out with this explanation now and not not immediately after the LdM rebuke?

  25. John says:

    I don’t know what is going on but I believe that a lot has been going on at Ferrari before FA said what he said. By now perhaps none of them knows who started it, when and how. It seems to me like a broken marriage. Such marriages can go on for a long time, but, in this case, who knows.

    1. I have employed he same tactic myself when senior management fail to deliver on a contract – stir the pot so that they have no option but to take some action. On the face of it, it’s a high risk strategy but it is not really. If the team responds positively then you get the move forward you were striving for. If they don’t react positively and turn against you then you know where you stand and know it is time to move on. But you can only play that card once and I think, from memory, Alonso has already played it. That’s why LdM reacted so forcefully.

  26. Bart says:

    Alonso just wants to win his 3rd title, it probably matters less to him which car he’s going to do it in. One really can’t blame him for that. It’s what perhaps all top drivers would do.
    It’s been four years for him at Ferrari, and he’s still only 2 times WC, though he’s given it his 100%. And by the looks of things (the new engine, windtunnel issues), the next season is not going to be any better. It must be really frustrating for him.

    Also, if the Vettel in Ferrari from 2015 story that some Italian press has reported is true, then it could be too much for him.

    1. Michael says:

      No matter how you slice it, if Alonso leaves the team at the same time as Kimi arrives, the signal that will be sent is that he was a prima donna who was too scared to ever have a competitive teammate. There even would be a real risk of it ending up being his legacy.

      1. KARTRACE says:

        What about Vettel, Michael, Prost…. for that matter ?

    2. H.Guderian says:

      Do you really think Vettel is stupid to go to Ferrari?

      1. justafan says:

        See Alonso went there. Does this mean he’s stupid? Schumacher went there when they won 2 races in 5 years, yet he won 5 titles with them. Can Alonso do the same?

      2. Bart says:

        I don’t think you can call stupid anyone who’d like to go to Ferrari.
        Afetr winning at Monza in 2008, he said in an interview for the Italian tv that maybe one day he would win the race for Ferrari. He said the same thing on the podium in 2011.

  27. halcyon_digest says:

    note how FA says “the president” instead of saying “Luca”.

    1. Nothing significant there – from many cultures this is actually paying him a complement by recognising his position and seniority. It is only significant if he referred to LdM by his name prior to the incident but changed to using “the President” only AFTER his rebuke. It may just be an act of contrition by FA to affirm LdM’s seniority.

  28. a fan says:

    Alonso manipulates. It is one od his strengthes. He knows card tricks, he probably knows people tricks too. LdM is episodical. Sometimes he says something, then disappears. I would ignore his generic words about the team. It’s a pity Alonso lost few years ago behind Petrov. Maybe it’s a destiny… What can you do? Try everything else that might help. Either to push the team or to find a new team. He wants victories. And he is right.

  29. Erik says:

    James, can I put a theory past you?

    I’m thinking Raikkonen’s negotiations having ended at Red Bull, he went to Ferrari to start talks. Ferrari, being wary of a Hamilton/Rosberg pairing at Mercedes next year (with an atom bomb of an engine apparently) are actually considering a Raikkonen/Alonso pairing next year (despite the history there, and this way a stronger driver lineup than Mercedes will have). Now, Red bull catches wind that the Ferrari lineup next year will be formidable and suddenly poor Ricciardo does not fit the mould, and Red Bull have called back Raikkonen for talks.

    All of this reeks of alpha driver problems next year, but Red Bull and Ferrari are probably both thinking that they will take the gamble of two superstars or face the reality that the Merc package next year will walk away with it. A gamble is better for either of them then certainty. the question now is where will Raikkonen go?

    What do you think? Far off?…

    1. James Allen says:

      I think if they are going for Ricciargo it’s for their internal reasons

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        But because they are rejected by Kimi?

      2. James Allen says:

        I think that the conditions weren’t right for him. But I think Red Bull as a group would prefer to promote another graduate from its programme

      3. Erik says:

        But surely if they were goin for Ricciardo then they would have announced it by now, no? Surely they would think that it does no one any good stringing the guy out like that. Why not just announce him so he can get on with preparations and Red Bull can do the same? Unless they suddenly had a rethink?…

    2. Fireman says:

      Hope it’s not “an atom bomb of an engine”. Mercedes would have hard time keeping below the engine limit.

  30. Marcelo Leal says:

    One bad qualifier by another. Felipe is happy..

  31. dean cassady says:

    I’d enjoy seeing a Vettel-Alonso pairing at either Ferrari, or Red Bull! That would be a good one.
    Vettel doesn’t want to go against Alonso, the same way Alonso doesn’t want to go head-to-head against Kimi.
    Kimi will go head-to-head against anybody, ‘…it doesn’t matter…’.

    1. Sid says:

      He went head to head against Massa and got outscored in 08-09 with no apparent excuse other than MS leading different development direction… what load of nonsense from Kimi fans… !

  32. John Ferdinand says:

    Alonso is the only driver I have seen that can take the all time greatest team and turn them into an underdog! When you are a Ferrari driver you are always number 1 – no excuses. The Ferrari pride, dignity & professionalism has suffered greatly with Alonso on the team. Being a Ferrari driver means that you are always a champion – win or lose!

    1. Warren G says:

      I wonder what your thoughts would have been with another driver similar to Massa’s level these last four years?

      If anything, Alonso has managed to salvage some pride for the Maranello team these last few years. Say what you like about his character, but his racing ability and sheer determination are unquestionable.

    2. John Gibson says:

      You clearly never watched Formula One in the 1980s, then. Ferrari has only ever been the top team for relatively short periods. The Schumacher era was the most sustained period of Ferrari domination the sport has ever seen, but itr is a team that does have a bit of a history of going off the boil for years at a time, irrespective of who happens to be driving for them.

      Lest we forget that much of the mythology of Gilles Villeneuve stems from hauling a poor Ferrari car to 2 race wins in 1981. This was a team that had won 3 divers’ titles in the previous 6 years. I don’t see anyone complaining that Villeneuve turned them into an underdog. Much the same can be said of Alonso in 2012.

    3. Bismarck says:

      +1 John Ferdinand I get what you are saying. The difference between Gilles Villeneuve and FA is that FA has systematically downplayed his title chances and cars that have been WDC contenders three of the last four years. GV would have loved to have a car that he could at least been a championship contender in for more than 1 year. I have to applaud FA though as he has gotten a lot of people to bite on his rhetoric. Let me get this straight I’m not saying FA is a great driver, I’m saying that he is great at creating this underdog persona in the most powerful team in F1. I respect FA’s driving ability but the whole idea that FA is salvaging Ferrari starts to get old after awhile.

      1. KARTRACE says:

        GV retired, or else ? People who died because they didn’t know what they are doing and who overdrove their cars and itself are not worth being mentioned here in this tread. BTW he was destroyed by his own team mate, Jody ” The King”, and still very much alive.

    4. dean cassady says:

      I think you are off base here.
      I don’t think the Ferrari problems are attributable to Alonso.
      He’s got his issues, no doubt, and the irritating Alonso Media Corporation doesn’t help his likability, but if you give him a car that can win, I think he’d win more than 50% of them against Vettel, for example.
      No, the problems at Ferrari, are not because of Alonso.
      Maybe he has too much say than is good for the team, but then again, whose job is it to determine the inputs from the key stakeholders?

    5. davis says:

      Unless you’re number 2

    6. KARTRACE says:

      I beg your pardon ? Do you think that it is drivers responsibility to design the car and tune the wind tunnel ?

  33. I love F1 says:

    I think I speak for every F1 fan when I say ALO/RAI pairing would be magic to see. It would give the sport the much needed “life” it seeks..

    One will never know how VET would have gone against RAI now but we could still see a show down at Ferrari :)

  34. Xman says:

    A lot of people do not realise Alonso would have been a 4 time champion by now if he had a stronger team mate.

    1. Would have pushed himself harder
    2. Stronger team mate would have taken more points off SV.

    He lost out on 2010 & 2012 by less that 5 points (ithink).
    Its ironic that he fought so hard to have Massa as a team mate, but when he looks back he will maybe realise you cannot win a wdc by yourself.

    1. 69bhp says:

      to be fair you also have to take away the points/positions that Massa handed to Alonso. Eg Germany 2010, Austin 2012, Brazil 2012.

    2. dj says:

      “stronger team-mate would have taken more pints off SV”

      LOL!

      SV won the most races in last 3 years, so to beat him Massa had to win more races than him in order to “take points off him”. That would have made Massa a driver’s champion!

      Your theory is wrong. What happened in 2007, Alonso and Hamilton pushed each other; and Kimi won the title in the end.

    3. Elie says:

      I would have fought a Red Bull and a Mclaren way ahead would have been enough of a carrot- Racers don’t look in their rear vision mirrors when the pot of gold is ahead and their is daylight behind!

    4. Sugar Water says:

      Totally agree. Massa is a COMPLETE BUST. Getting rid of him 2 years ago would have been addition by subtraction. He has let everyone down……

  35. Jake says:

    Ross Brawn is sitting in the corner laughing his head off at the Red Bull and Ferrari antics. Both teams are so concerned about the Merc threat that they are contemplating throwing away the formula that has served them so well over the last few seasons to take the chance on a “dream team”. Ross is not concerned with this dream team because he knows that neither team has shown the management skill necessary to control such a driver pairing and knows what the likely outcome will be. Even if they don’t try to control the drivers and adopt the McLaren model, we all know how successful that has been recently. Merc really has the opposition in a panic.

    1. dj says:

      Don’t underestimate Rosberg next year if the Mercedes really is the fastest car.

      Only then we will see how Ross Brawn (and all the other top-dogs in Mercedes) handle the situation between Hamilton and Rosberg. We might see something similar to McLaren 2007 all over again.

      1. Jake says:

        Ross has shown this year already that he is prepared to make the hard calls. He will do what is best for the team. I do not see him putting up with a blatant disregard of team orders from either driver.

  36. John Gibson says:

    It did strike me that Alonso looked completely worn out by the end of last year. Perhaps he feels he can’t really go on like that for much longer, particularly since he’ll have to drive like he did in 2012 to have even the remotest hope of superseding Vettel over the remaining races. Perhaps, sub-consciously, he is beginning to accept that he is a double world champion and that it doesn’t really matter if he wins a third or not?

    1. Sugar Water says:

      Agree, at some point one person cannot carry the entire team. Massa has been a Complete Bust amd let everyone at Ferrari down

  37. All revved-up says:

    So I guess in his “a real warrior will not use the sword” comment – he meant himself as the real warrior, and hence he would not respond harshly?

    It could also have been interpreted as LdM not being a real warrior because he was too quick to use the sword.

    Alonso is way too crafty a person to have a straight forward relationship with! He does seem to have a very dark side to him.

  38. Goob says:

    I’ve always said that Alonso is NOT the most complete driver in F1… he was beat by a rookie Hamilton for a start, and often struggles against lesser drivers like Massa.

    He is overrated, and his stint at Ferrari proves it. Luca is just waking up to the fact he got ripped off.

    Alonso is good, but he is missing some speed, and has a very poor attitude.

    1. Sugar Water says:

      Alonso + Santander = $$$$ for Ferarri

      :)

  39. Nil says:

    James, questions for you:

    Does Helmut Marko want Ricciardo or does he not want Kimi? I remember there being some history with Kimi taking Bernoldi’s place who was Helmut’s protege.

    Also, if Kimi were to go back to Ferrari and/or win the WDC again, would you consider writing his biography? He’s extremely popular and he’s more open to you than most other journalists in F1.

    1. James Allen says:

      Marko wants his programme to yield graduates. It’s no use if it just produces drivers who get dropped after two years at Toro Rosso due to lack of opportunities to progress.

      1. Nil says:

        True. Is the amount spent on the RB driver program greater than the prize amount difference between first and second in the WCC?

        Maybe I’m talking like an engineer and looking at the numbers only and not the indirect benefits of having someone from the program (with the likes of Frijns shunning the program publicly).

      2. James Allen says:

        Much greater! It’s the entire cost of Toro Rosso plus all the junior series programmes

      3. If the cost of the Red Bull driver program includes the entire cost of Toro Rosso, then the program is a complete waste of money and needs to be shut down last week. They have delivered precisely one driver currently in F1 (Sebastian Vettel, who was part nurtured by BMW). Their other drivers appear to be constantly fired after only short periods of time. I have no idea why they continue to fund either the Young Driver program or Toro Rosso. Funding 2 teams looked like a good idea 5 years ago, when you could supposedly re-use designs and parts on both teams’s cars, but since the FIA squashed the customer car route, that is not possible.

  40. Valentino from montreal says:

    Alonso should know not to mess with the Italians !

    They are very loyal to you up to a certain point but if you cross that line with them , it could get very ugly !

    Alonso needs to respect his CONTRACT that he signed with Ferrari … Them not winning any titles since 2010 is FA’s own fault … Buttom line it’s drivers who drive the cars and win WDC’s , not engineers … 2010 he blew it big time and he also has his chance last year …

    Man up Fernando !!!

    It is well documented that Schumacher aka : The greatest ;
    was in talks with McLaren in 99 … Michael could have easily jump ship and abandon Ferrari for McLaren , but because Michael was a man of convictions he kept pushing until his DREAM came to fruition ..

    Suck it up Alonso ! If your not good enough to bring Titles to Maranello with everything given to you on a silver platter by Ferrari , well then being in a legendary top F1 team is not for u !

    1. KARTRACE says:

      Now you got me scared and must be Alonso to. What are we talking about here. Domennicali, Costa, Marmorini, Pat, Monty to mention few delivered what ? Since Rory car designes Tods and Rosses management skills SF was no longer a proper team. The fact that Lewis hardly fought Fernando at McL was a contributing factor to 2007 driver title. Poor management also lost title in 2008 and ever since SF was Muppet show. BTW I am SF supporter. Michael had a hard working team which knew how to design, tune and win titles. Now we have a bunch of Italian prima donna’s who are just pointing fingers and blaming someone else. Ohhh, sorry and the wind tunnel, for sure.

  41. franklin says:

    the truth is: Alonso said ‘I want a car/designer/boss/team-mate like the others’

  42. Thompson says:

    Lol… At the announcement FA was destined to go to
    Ferrari I said on here it would end in tears, looks like we ‘re getting there.. 3 season’s ago it was.

    1. justafan says:

      Many of the people I speak to are starting to doubt that Fernando has similar ability to Schumacher when he pulled the red team to the top 5 times.

  43. ShaBooPi says:

    I actually hope Fernando leaves after this year even for a sabbatical. Why? To reinforce how pathetic Ferrari currently are, and kick Montezemolo in the teeth. Secondly because of the large numbers of ignorant fans who criticize his character to a pointless degree when the true measure of a driver is his performance on track. These particular fans deserve nothing but a dull Vettel whitewash year in nd year out. The two big reigns since 2000 have been Ferrari and Red Bull, both while they were the highest spending teams at the time. The only times these runs were broken were by the odd slump, technical interpretation advantage, and more often when a great driver performed. Alonso provided entertainment while displacing Schumacher and now he’s the only one really competing with Red Bull & Vettel year in year out. Take a break Fernando, Ferrari don’t deserve you, and the section of whiny fans don’t deserve you either!

  44. dj says:

    brilliant article about Ferrari and its success-

    http://www.pitpass.com/49679/Back-To-The-Wilderness

  45. Cali says:

    We’re blowing things out of proportion.
    Ferrari have one simple but massive problem, they cant make their tunnel upgrades work on track. They could get a time machine and put MS from early 00 and Gilles behind the wheel and that still won’t be enough as long as they fail to keep up with the competition upgrading the car during the season.

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