Alonso waves away Montezemolo criticism as “a misunderstanding”
Scuderia Ferrari
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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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.


brilliant article about Ferrari and its success-


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!


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.


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.


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

Valentino from montreal

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 !


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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


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.


Alonso + Santander = $$$$ for Ferarri



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.


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?


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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……


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!


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


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.


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


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 🙂


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!


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


Unless you’re number 2


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?


+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.


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.


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.


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.


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…’.


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… !


One bad qualifier by another. Felipe is happy..


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?…


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


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


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?…


But because they are rejected by Kimi?


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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?


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.


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


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.


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.


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?


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.


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!


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.


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.


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


He’s moved around that kid


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


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.


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.


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.


How ironic would that be?


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).


Is that you, Luca?


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




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