The chase is on
Shanghai 2018
Chinese Grand Prix
“Idiots” or “geniuses”? Alonso adds to tension within Ferrari
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Sep 2013   |  11:15 am GMT  |  224 comments

There has been a significant reaction to the comments made by Fernando Alonso over the radio at the start of Q3 in Monza yesterday.

Heading out on circuit behind team mate Felipe Massa on an out lap, he was told that he would have to let Nico Rosberg through as the German was on a hot lap.

Alonso’s response is not clear in one key word, but appears to be “Quindi c’e da farlo passare..veramente siete dei scemi eh! Mamma mia, ragazzi!”

This translates as “so I have to let him (Rosberg) pass..really you are idiots, Good grief, boys..”

However the unclear word is the crucial one. Listening to it through several times it sounds more like “geni” (geniuses) and the tone of his speech is ironic, which makes the use of the word “geniuses” ironic. The Italian media itself isn’t sure which word he used, while Alonso himself said afterwards that his choice of word was “geni”.

It’s not the first time that his language skills, while admirable, have caused problems. His criticisms of the car this summer have partially been accentuated by using the wrong word.

Either way, it indicates his impatience with a team which is not giving him the tools – either in the car or in the strategy – to fight with a formidable enemy in the form of Red Bull and Vettel.

There is a lot of tension within the team at the moment; Alonso is a champion who wants to win and he doesn’t take well to not winning, as Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari’s president accepts.

Operationally Ferrari were trying something ambitious – getting Massa to give Alonso a tow, increasing his top speed by some 20km/h if you get it right and meaning it takes around 2/10ths of a second less to travel the length of the straight. Ferrari have done this before; it’s hard to pull off because if the car in front is too close, the following car loses downforce on the vital exit of the Parabolica corner.

So Ferrari was wrapped up in its slipstreaming plan and put the cars out some 12 seconds ahead of Rosberg.

Alonso clearly didn’t feel he needed to let Rosberg past and he was right – at the end of the Ferrari’s out-lap Rosberg had still not caught them and so they would not have to deal with a slowing Mercedes on their own hot lap.

So he was showing that he was ahead of the game and they are not on his level. It’s not a team-building stance and drivers have to always lead while maintaining team spirit.

This latest episode of Alonso showing up Ferrari as not being “on it”, comes at a delicate moment for the Ferrari team following Luca di Montezemolo’s public rebuke to Alonso after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Montezemolo spoke about this yesterday, “In a family every now and then it does some good (“to tweak someone’s ear”, as he described it at the time.)The important thing is to remain a family.

In the paddock yesterday afternoon there was an awkward moment of theatre, (and shown in the image above), where Alonso was passing as Montezemolo was addressing a small group of media, including JA on F1.

Anxious for an opportunity to project an image of happy families to the media, Montezemolo said, “Alonso, is it true that you are going to drive for Marussia next year?” Alonso smiled and Montezemolo then tried to ask him about his radio message for the team about the Rosberg gap, but Alonso ducked it and they did a sort of semi man-hug and Montezemolo then called him “Fernandino”, which means “Little Fernando”.

So what does it all mean? For all the smoothing out of tensions on the eve of this crucial him race for Ferrari by Alonso in the press conference on Thursday where he committed his future to Ferrari and called it “the best team in the world”, Ferrari is clearly not performing like that at the moment and the frustrations are clear. At the same time, he’s not projecting the right image as a team leader, not observing the mantra ‘You win together, you lose together’.

This tangled human drama also extends to the choice of second driver; Alonso does not want Raikkonen and hiring him would further upset the Spaniard. He wants Massa to stay.

Massa played the loyal number two yesterday, sacrificing his own hopes for his team mate – although ironically on the second run he was too far ahead of Alonso and ended up with a faster time – and this sends a message to rivals for his seat, like Raikkonen, who would never do that.

Montezemolo said yesterday that the team would decide next week on its second driver, that the result of this race would be significant for Massa but that there are other drivers beside Raikkonen out there. Clearly Nico Hulkenberg’s performance, outqualifying the Ferraris in a Sauber will have made a huge impression at a vital moment and could swing the deal his way.

It’s a fluid situation and Ferrari is in need of some stability now to steer through this difficult moment and set a course for the future.

Featured Video
Behind the Scenes at the track
Behind the Scenes at the track
Featured News in ferrari
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest


The continued cheating of Felipe Massa’s genius as a driver by Ferrari and the Santander sponsorship cash cow Fernando Alonso keeps rolling on….!? Ferrari’s implicit involvement in this continual deceit either by losing him time in the pits or pitting Massa at clearly the wrong time or even going to the lengths of breaking his gearbox seal last year to raise Alonso up the grid to the detriment of Massa, illustrates how corrupt Ferrari have become under the machiavellian influence of Fernando Alonso. My sincere condolences to Felipe Massa, he deserved and deserves far, far better as have the F1 public.



The continued cheating of Felipe Massa’s genius as a driver by Ferrari and the Santander sponsorship cash cow Fernando Alonso keeps rolling on….!? Ferrari’s implicit involvement in this continual deceit either by losing him time in the pits or pitting Massa at clearly the wrong time or even going to the lengths of breaking his gearbox seal last year to raise Alonso up the grid to the detriment of Massa, illustrates how corrupt Ferrari have become under the machiavellian influence of Fernando Alonso. My sincere condolences to Felipe Massa, he deserved and deserves far, far better.


put alonso in a current red bull and vettel in a current ferrari. you will see where they really stand as drivers. alonso demands as much from himself as of others so this is champion behaviour. Ferrari have been ignoring deeper structural problems for ages. Look at vettel go off when things aren’t going his way. No crimes here. LDM cannot get rid of him as he needs the santander $ Alonso works for santander-not ferrari… if ferrari could put together a good racing unit you wouldn’t tell the difference so much. However they have failed to do that and this is just the logical end game to poor car performance and strategy calls from ferrari

rob haynes (rajah)

Memo to Scuderia McLaren 8/9/13: An oxymoron is a fool with a cutting torch.


Latin tension, Cesarian egos … Modi, Alo in between the geni Domenicaly and the media. Great story James, i ll take the fernadinio to conclude kimi is going to ferrari. That would be a statement ferrari above all!


Lol! That’s well said.

I think there is a slight bit of Brutus to LdM. He doesn’t want to let Alonso go, but there is a Shakespearean twist to getting Kimi back to put Alonso back into his cage and torment him just that bit.

Brings in the Iceman. Clearly overcomes past angst because he wants to combine ‘fire’ and ‘ice’.

I like the man’s thinking.


I think you read it right


Race in race out Fernando shows up to every race – like him or not. Same can’t be said for all the other drives. This guy shows up and never mails it in. You know what you are going to get week in week out. I think the very many of you throwing stones would dearly covet such a driver on your F1 team.


Ferrari wants their number one driver to have an attitude like that of Micheal, who got along very nicely with management and was purely a team player. But you cannot have a person like him every time. That is what Montezemolo is missing in the team. Perhaps it’s time to pick a young lad and nurture him accordingly. Hulk is the answer for Ferrari.


James, can you tell me why posts are not showing ?


No. We are seeing them ok


oh dear, Alonso is gonna get so much whacking from now and its gonna get worse.

But he’s still a very good racer though.


You cant just say that Hulkenberg is better than Massa because he out qualified him. Look at Fisichella when he moved from Force india to Ferrari. He went from 2nd in a force india to almost nothing in a Ferrari. There are so many elements in F1 and its impossible to compare drivers.

My point is that its clear the Ferrari is not an easy car to drive.


On what basis? Who will have motivation to drive when you are an undeclared guinea pig driver for the lead driver? Let’s not kid ourselves here, Massa has never been allowed to challenge Alonso in a straight up fight. We can just infer from that Aloonso was delighted to drive for Ferrari because of such assurances.

Maybe the impending Kimi signing is the reason for Alonso’s loss of calm and cool. Then it also means Alonso will be taking a whooping from Kimi if 2007 is anything to go by. Kimi can’t even be rattled by mind games, since as he puts it “doesn’t give a (insert famous word)”


Few interesting aspects about Alonso wording.

1. Ellison joining Ferrari. When Alonso was asked about that, he did not jump & smile. Instead he mentioned the [known] fact that he drove Ellison’s cars, some races [& cars] where good, some were not good. He said it directly. I classify that answer as whatever but not an enthusiasm from Ellison joining the team. There could be issues between them two during Renault years:)

2. Star praises another star. Alonso understood that Hamilton was a man. Hamilton tried best to become a man. It was like Prost & emerging Senna. Raw talent vs. sophistication. Now look what Hamilton talks about Vettel’s driving, how he [Vettel] misses apexes, doing so many mistakes and still first because of the superior machinery [thanks Adrian for killing F1 intrigue]. Compare what Hamilton says about Alonso. That politician drives fine:) Just Italian management is an issue.

3. Italian management & Ferrari problems. Alonso was dedicated 100 percent to the team, he carried that red truck on his shoulders in 2010, in 2012. He got tired. Exhausted from the promises. How smbd said it some time on this site – Domenicali seems strong as a person, but does not deliver as a manager, there is no team performance that match Alonso skills and wishes. Italians are designers & inventors, but not managers. Go hire French, English, Germans for that role.

4. Silence about Red Bull. Alonso kept silence about Red Bull, but his manager did it very publicly. It was a type of communication agreed between them both [Alonso & manager]. There was total silence until Red Bull announced Riciardo. After that Alonso started to speak publicly about “best team in the world”. He wanted better machinery. Newey is not so old. He will deliver until Mateshitz puts money into the team. Senna wanted to go to Williams in 1993, 1994 for free. Just to be able to win again.

5. Generation Y. The people for Generation Y are different. They liked to be praised even for failures. They don’t understand why they were blamed. It seems Ferrari is behaving as consisting of such youngsters, who cannot take the reality for failures (severe ones in strategy, then development of the car till the mid season etc.) It is more comfortable for them to have media turn pressing onto Alonso. As another one said here – give him a car and you will forget about his speech.


Don’t know about whats the deal with Ellison. The rest I can summarize a rebuttal like this

Alonso with Trulli- Was rattled, Flavio gets rid of Trulli.

Alonso with Hamilton – rattled and embarrassed thoroughly. Mclaren gets rid of Alonso.

Alonso fine with no challenge from a teammate.

So all that wondrous superiority and comparisons you made as a case for Alonso just makes for a good laugh. Just pointing that out.

And Yes I agree Alonso spends more time plotting than actually driving. Making yourself look good against a subdued demotivated Massa any lead driver can do.


alonso has been let down by inferior strategy and race calling again. Thank goodness for Ferrari Horner must be saying, when we need then to screw up, they screw up. Poorly managed team with LDM at the top of it all. Domenacali is a puppet and the view to keep Massa has to be about the worst structured decision ever. They have been trying to rectify with trial and error ever since. Focus all over the place by trying play politics and maintain operational race function. its not working, and they deserve everything coming their way. Alonso is in a jam-little alternatives for him redbull just a better team with everyone on same page. Ferrari cannot even do that…weak


Alonso drove well in 2010 and 2011 but the Ferrari was still a good car. Alonso made the most of it but the car was very reliable and had good race pace. the team provided him with a good car and deserves some credit. Their failure was in not having a second driver to push Alonso and maximise their team points.


In 2009, there was commentary that Alonso provided what Raikkonen did not; a leader.

This article: states that Alonso went into Ferrari with that in mind, and was willing to be that leader.

I think that if Ferrari have managed to squander Alonso for these years, they’ve only themselves to blame. Replacing Massa with Raikkonen would be quite similar to Alonso/Hamilton in 2007, which is specifically what Alonso wanted to avoid.

I think it’s a bit game-over for the two, and I would blame Ferrari for that far more. Alonso nearly won the 2010 and 2012 titles in cars which were around the third best in those years. Quite remarkable.


Hardly, Kimi doesn’t give a *fill it yourself with famous kimi word* So Alonso’s useless mind games that didn’t work on Vettel/RBR will not even make Kimi laugh at it’s sheer idiocy.

And if the car is decently fast enough if not the fastest, Kimi will beat Alonso more often maybe even consistently and that’s when 2007 will happen. Trulli made Alonso squirm back then in the Renault days, what do you think will happen with someone like Kimi around?. No it’s all problems for Alonso and Alonso alone. Ferrari will be just as happy if Kimi delivers and they wont care for Alonso after that. Alonso will probably leave under unceremonious conditions. Would be funny after all the undying love to Ferrari talk last Thursday.

My question is can Ferrari ever be any good again? It’s not really about what Kimi will do anymore.


I’m a huge Fernando Alonso fan, and although I do not condone his most recent actions, I have to say he has every right to feel aggrieved. Ever since he’s been with Ferrari, he’s been on the limit: dragging himself to the title fight in 2010 and 2012, when clearly his machinery wasn’t up to it. For the most part, all Ferrari (LdM and Domenicali, in particular) did was to sing praises for their lead driver and gleefully neglect their end of the deal in delivery a winning car; wishfully thinking Alonso was that much of miracle worker to more than make up for any mechanical deficiencies.

I think what Ferrari’s current ordeal is just deserved: I get the impression that they’ve grown extremely arrogant and lax; eventually ditching the winning formula instilled in them during the Schumacher years, and choosing instead to make plans based on their own hype.

If there’s anyone that needs to leave the team, it’s got to be none other than Luca di Montezemolo, followed by his boy Stefano Domenicali.


Kimi Raikkonen has reached agreement with Ferrari for 2014, 2015 and 2016 optional.

The base salary will be 20 millions of euros. The money for the transfer will be provided by Shell.

Raikkonen will replace Massa.


I know its probably going to be true but your source? Thanks.


It’s amazing. It’s what everybody wants – to see two stars in one bag:) Explosive mix! Will be much interesting to follow than technical miracles from Newey!


Poor Fernando. He’s always been a bit of a loner. I remember him in the post race press conference years ago when he had just won the race, and his first world title. When asked about people he would like to thank he pointed out that really there are only a handful who have ever helped him to achieve it. I would think that this is a guy who acts the way he does about choosing team mates and heckling the team because he needs to know that people are behind him, supporting him. If he has that then he has the confidence in his driving, if he does not then he lashes out the only ways he can. The Raikkonen deal topped off by a championship that is clearly, yet again, slipping away is knocking his confidence about no doubt, so therefore we’re getting these outbursts. The man is insecure. A flawed genius no doubt.


Aww poor guy no doubt.

He only ratted out Mclaren when they didn’t go along with his idea for number 1 status. Until then he was fine with all the stolen info that Mike Coughlan & Co were analyzing and trying to use in their developments.

Yeah very very nice guy for sure. Don’t ya just feel sorry for him? 🙂



did Schumacher ever criticize his team over the radio? Obviously, in those days the radio messages were not open, but maybe you have spoken with engineers etc.


i think we are overreacting a little, obviously media has no other job but to sensationalize this. But if you look at this with unbiased view, there is nothing more than conversation, where hes correcting team’s call (every experienced driver does that) by sarcastically calling them “geniuses”. I don’t really see what the big deal is , honestly.


I remember Christopher Hilton mentioning in his book that Schumacher learnt very early on that to win the undying loyalty of his men, he needs to prove his undying loyalty to them first. I don’t remember Schumacher criticizing the team or his teammates ever. The mid-90s to 2000 was a tumultuous time at Ferrari, but Schumacher kept his head cool and finally won the title after 5 years. The words of Patrick Head after Suzuka 2006 summed it all up that “Williams has had many great champions, but i cannot think of one who would’ve done what he(Schumi) did” when he went and consoled each one of his pit crew after the engine blew, and title was lost.

You’ll remember Alonso criticized Renault that they were favoring Fisi – which seemed ridiculous! And then his infamous swerve in US GP of 2007 when he was stuck behind Lewis, and the pitlane drama and then the blackmailing.

If Ferrari were looking for another Schumacher in Alonso, then they chose poorly.



Schumi saved his dirty moments for the track – he and his teams were a complete unit – always positive & targeting success, even in difficult seasons like 1996, 1998, 2005.


I don’t remember ever such a thing happening.


Entertainment at its finest –

I’ll bet Alonso and Montezemolo jointly wrote the script and rehearsed before presenting the polished pantomime to the public.

Personality is a great substitute for technicality in an anachronistic sport and is far easier for the public to understand.


To some a grab to the face is a disrespectful gesture. I get the feeling that Alonso doesn’t take kindly to that, based upon the placement of his own hand on DiMussolini’s.

One of the reason’s why i like Fernando is because he’s his own man. He does the best he can with what is given, but at some point you call it for what it is. Ferrari and McLaren (Dennis) have failed him. I would have reacted the same way.

Thread the Needle

The way Alonso is going with his comments, he will be driving a Marussia next year


Yes, I think if Alonso is not winning….he will destroy everything around him. On the other hand…people read too much into what he said. I still remember 2012 and I think Alonso was the best driver of the generation last year and Vettel is not better this year. Ferrari should just produce the car….the rest will follow. They will start winning, maybe dominating and they will become a family again.


Who’s gonna be driving where next year?

Who said what about who?

Who wants who has a team mate?

Which countries boo Vettel

Lewis sulking again

New engines and regs next year

Are the TV contracts up for renewal or is that just me being cynical? Bernie must be quietly chuckling somewhere (although not Germany I suspect)


Regarding drivers complaining about underperforming cars, I can think of Di Resta and Jenson Button being a regular whiners too.

In Ferrari, that becomes a serious problem. I think Vettel is really getting onto Alonso’s nerves. I think Alonso believes that he has worked hard enough to deserve more victories.

IMO, 2014 will be a great shift and I really do not expect Vettel to have another runaway championship. That could be a year where there could be a few surprises. Looking forward to it!


I think Obama is getting jealous of ALO these days. “What is wrong with these guys, how dare they analyse and over-analyse the word(s) (not the racing) of a racing driver with the same or higher intensity of someone like me. I am the leading politician damn it! Words is what I do!”.

Joking aside, but it is clear that media more or less have no interest when drivers like RAI or HAM says or does something stupid or talk to their team in a rude manner (in a fully comprehensible way over the radio) – maybe they will make a laugh of it. When ALO or Ferrari are involved however, the story is totally different. The reporters will basically run over each other like hens trying to “make” a story before everyone else :). The content is not so important – the important thing is that one of those two part are/may be involved in SOMETHING. Tells you something about the importance and weight of ALO and Ferrari compared to the other drivers and teams in this sport. Respect!


By that yard stick how about the over blowing of Vettel- multi21- Webber then?


Overblowing is the key word right?

It remains a fact that Vettel through his own poor choice found himself behind Webber after the first round of pit stops.

It remains a fact that the said Vettel tried to get his team to move Webber over so early in the race (obviously knowing he had agreed to Multi 21 pre-race and the thought of Webber being ahead of him at the last pit stops was unbearable)

It remains a fact that Webber was asked to turn down his engine by the team in order to save both engine and fuel.

It remains a fact that Vettel did not turn down his engine and overtook Webber after the last round of pit stops.

It remains a fact that since Malaysia, Webber has been plagued by a series of unexplained failures while Vettel has been unaffected in the sister car. could you please tell me what needs overblowing here?


1. The tension within Ferrari? They are currently clearly the number 2 team. They hate it. Contrast that with McLaren. Now the number 4/5 team and seemingly relaxed about it. It seems to me that tension is a good thing, if it drives a desire for success. I wish McLaren showed a great deal more tension to convince people they intend to reverse the trends of the last decade.

2. How many people have NEVER verbally criticized their boss/the organisation they work for/the people “below” them in the organisation ? If anyone out there can say yes to this, I will pledge to work towards their Sainthood.

3. In the F1 Pantheon, many of those held in most popular esteem, such as Senna, were not averse to letting their feelings be known-publicly. Why not Alonso?

Top Tags
SEARCH Scuderia Ferrari
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!