Montezemolo rebukes Alonso for critical comments

2013 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Nurburgring, 2013Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has rebuked Fernando Alonso for comments the team disapproved of.

According to a report on the team’s website, Montezemolo told Alonso: “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.”

Alonso’s comments, believed to have been critical of the team’s recent performance, “did not go down well with Montezemolo, nor with anyone in the team” according to Ferrari. Alonso’s manager was also observed talking to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner during the weekend, provoking speculation Alonso is trying to switch teams.

Earlier today Ferrari announced the hiring of former Lotus technical director James Allison who worked with Alonso during his championship-winning years at Renault.

Montezemolo told team principal Stefano Domenicali, “the Ferrari I saw in yesterday?s race doesn?t sit well with me” at a meeting with the team’s engineers.

The report added: “Montezemolo did not mince his words when it came to asking the team to step up a gear. Each one of the engineers present received a ‘gift’ of a knife, along with an invitation ?ǣ metaphorical up to a point ?ǣ to put it between their teeth when thinking how to tackle the second half of the season.”

The Ferrari article pinned the blame for the team’s recent downturn in performance on the alterations made to the tyres following the failures seen at the British Grand Prix:

“Pirelli’s choice contributed to artificially altering the hierarchy in the field, something that has not pleased the president or the men of the Scuderia. This topic will be the subject of further debate in the near future.”

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193 comments on Montezemolo rebukes Alonso for critical comments

  1. Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 29th July 2013, 18:28

    Wonder whose back all those knives will end up in?

    But I wish there was some racing to watch over the summer, instead of all this nonsense.

  2. DaveW (@dmw) said on 29th July 2013, 18:32

    If Luca waants to push Alonso into Horner’s arms, the timing was perfect. Horner must be having a good laugh at all this…Alonso’s contract price just fell a couple million.

    And who exactly will fill Alonso’s shoes if he gets fed up with this nutty cult (knives, really?) and goes to a faster team? Kimi is not going back there. Hamilton has a deal for next year and faster car under him now. Rosberg also is not going anywhere. Vettel is not going anywhere until Newey retires. Webber is out of F1. Button is enjoying his retirement in the upper midfield too much to move. Ferrari won’t prosper with a greenhorn like Bianchi in one seat and Massa in the other.

    I think that Alonso should declare the Ferrari a “truck,” and then let the chips fall.

  3. DASMAN (@dasman) said on 29th July 2013, 18:34

    The things is, Ferrari are right. They have probably been affected most by the recent changes to the tires. Was the change necessary? Yes, however it doesn’t alter the facts. This season is looking like a complete farce to me and my interest is starting to wane. If Mercedes or Red Bull win either title this year, it will not be entirely on merit. And we have the FIA AND the teams themselves to thank for that.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 29th July 2013, 18:56

      @dasman to me the title fight was tainted from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards, when it was highlighted that Pirelli had screwed up. I wouldn’t blame the teams for that and I only blame the FIA to the extent that they encourage Pirelli to deliberately engineer their tyres to below their true potential.

      • DASMAN (@dasman) said on 29th July 2013, 19:34

        @vettel1 I only extend the blame to the teams in that they subscribe to this notion of ‘the show’. I don’t think the teams should have such a major say in the way the sport is run, as they generally only serve their own interests. That said the FIA have engineered an unholy mess of a season. As a long time fan, I’m not impressed.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 29th July 2013, 19:39

          @dasman

          I don’t think the teams should have such a major say in the way the sport is run, as they generally only serve their own interests.

          +1 to that: the fans definitely aren’t having enough of an input either into what is deemed “entertaining” – I’m sure if you polled most of the fans they’d say that DRS makes for boring races and that drivers being unable to push on their tyres makes for boring races.

    • Pete (@repete86) said on 29th July 2013, 19:07

      I don’t see how you can say that about Red Bull. They had the fastest car for the first half of the season. If they continue to have the fastest car with the tire change, it will mean that they’re pretty much unaffected by it.

      • DASMAN (@dasman) said on 29th July 2013, 19:30

        I disagree that the Red Bull was the fastest car over the first half of the season. I just think they have done an excellent job to win races where their rivals were just as quick or quicker, but made mistakes. Unfortunately, Ferrari are one of those.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 29th July 2013, 21:41

      The FIA not helping Ferrari? Ah, the day hath commeth!
      Er… thank you Jean Todt $:)

    • Broom (@brum55) said on 29th July 2013, 21:41

      Nonsense, Lotus were even better on those less durable tyres than Ferrari before Spain. Now the tyres are more durable Lotus have adjusted and still remain one of the best cars in race trim.

  4. DASMAN (@dasman) said on 29th July 2013, 18:35

    The thing is, Ferrari are right. They have probably been affected most by the recent changes to the tires. Was the change necessary? Yes, however it doesn’t alter the facts. This season is looking like a complete farce to me and my interest is starting to wane. If Mercedes or Red Bull win either title this year, it will not be entirely on merit. And we have the FIA AND the teams themselves to thank for that.

  5. AbeyG (@1abe) said on 29th July 2013, 18:48

    Alonso’s comments, believed to have been critical of the team’s recent performance

    Wat exactly were those comments? I searched and couldnt find. Anybody? @keithcollantine ?

    • Yobo01 (@yobo01) said on 29th July 2013, 19:06

      Apparently journalists asked what would be a good birthday present to Alonso and he replied “someone else’s car”.
      That’s what italian newspapers are reporting today.

      • AbeyG (@1abe) said on 29th July 2013, 19:25

        Is that it? I think it would be silly for Luca to react to react to so trivial issue. Unless Alonso might have replied, “someone else’s car coz my car is slow and just a piece of scrap with four wheels occasionally used for crash test by my delusional teammate”.

      • erix said on 30th July 2013, 13:21

        In his last interview, Teflonso pronounces Ferrari as “they” instead of “we” need to improve performance.

  6. Kisii (@kisii) said on 29th July 2013, 18:54

    Alonso is political. Not a criticism but an observation. Ferrari invented politics. You can’t play a player.

  7. anon said on 29th July 2013, 18:59

    Looks like LDM has grown tired of Alonso’s games. The Ferrari was the strongest car up until Silverstone, yet Alonso had failed to capitalise with some lacklustre races and mistakes in qualifying.

    Alonso’s the highest paid driver in F1 and hasn’t lived up to it. Ferrari sacked Raikkonen and brought Alonso in for his supposed technical input, for his ability to work with engineers and get the exact car he needs. He’s failed with all these resources at his disposal. He even failed at McLaren. All he had to do was beat his rookie teammate he would have been a 3-time world champion.

    Schumacher in his prime was the highest paid and he always delivered. And people can’t use the excuse that Schumacher didn’t win until his 5th season because Ferrari were a complete shambles that had to be rebuilt from the ground up. Alonso slipped into Raikkonen’s seat. The only reason the Ferrari couldn’t compete for the championship in 2009 was because of their interpretation of the double diffuser rule. They were back on track and delivering championship winning cars in 2010. First race of 2010 Ferrari finish 1–2.

    • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 29th July 2013, 19:16

      You seem to forget that Vettel was going to win the first race in 2010, until his engine blew. Red Bull had a very competitive car in that year, which was only hindered by its unreliability. Yes, it was Alonso’s to lose in the end, but it was Ferrari that made the call, not Alonso.

      • Klaas (@klaas) said on 29th July 2013, 19:20

        You seem to forget that Vettel was going to win the first race in 2010

        he seems to forget and ignore and even make up so many things.
        Right, Ferrari was the class of the field in Monaco…

      • anon said on 29th July 2013, 20:12

        Sure, but Massa was behind Alonso in his comeback race. Where was Webber in the same machinery as Vettel? And remember that at this point it wasn’t Vettel’s team. Vettel had only been at Red Bull for one season.

        The 2010 Ferrari was a strong car. In Vettel’s hands Ferrari would have won the drivers championship.

      • ramy (@ramysennaf1) said on 30th July 2013, 11:05

        please spare this unrealiability of redbull, it’s funny, since he only had 2 dnfs+1 his fault when he hit webber in turkey.

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 29th July 2013, 19:18

      Please tell me what have you been smoking.

  8. Klaas (@klaas) said on 29th July 2013, 19:14

    I think all this Alonso critical/leaving Ferrari is sucked out of the finger really. Not any supporting evidence that it might be true. Ever since he joined Ferrari Alonso was singing the same rhymes – we have to improve, our car is slower that our rivals’ etc. And suddenly after 3 years the journous decided to make a sensational story out of this. I think it was David Coulthard starting all this speculation or it could be a ‘dirty trick’ from RedBull (as they like to call it) to distabilize the situation at Ferrari. But really with the tire saga over, the story about Webber’s succesor all consumed, what a great story to fill the pages and blogs for the summer break – Alonso’s war with Ferrari. I don’t buy it at all.

  9. colin grayson (@lebesset) said on 29th July 2013, 19:14

    ferrari has been going backwards since they fired nigel stepney !
    brawn wouldn’t accept the treatment he got and quit
    however they have started to re-anglicise the team again so in a couple more years……

  10. Girts (@girts) said on 29th July 2013, 19:19

    I think that these news more than anything else means that Alonso isn’t going to go to Red Bull. If Montezemolo truly believed that his biggest asset considered leaving the team, he wouldn’t be making such comments, at least not on Ferrari’s website.

    As crazy as it might sound, Alonso probably has nowhere to go. Red Bull most likely don’t need a second, more political Vettel. Mercedes already have two top drivers. McLaren’s door might be closed to Alonso forever, given what happened in 2007. Lotus might be the most realistic option, although the chances that the Enstone team is going to have a championship-winning car in the upcoming years seem to be even smaller than Ferrari’s hopes to build one. Moreover, they still might keep Raikkonen and also decide that one world champion (and one high salary) is enough for a team of their size. And where else could Alonso go? Ferrari needs him but he probably needs the team even more.

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 29th July 2013, 19:25

      McLaren’s door might be closed to Alonso forever, given what happened in 2007.

      I wouldn’t be so sure about it. Remember that F1 is all about money and anything is possible. McLaren are so in trouble with their current drivers that I think they would be (secretly) happy to take Alonso back.

      • DaveW (@dmw) said on 29th July 2013, 20:01

        Nah. Dennis is gone. Whitmarsh would cry tears of joy if he could get someone who could bring money and speed to the team. Problem is, McLaren is going down. Lost the engine deal with Mercedes, losing technical people while not adding anyone of note.

    • BJ (@beejis60) said on 29th July 2013, 19:48

      If Santander would move from Ferarri to where ever his next destination, then I’m sure that team would be happy to accept Santander’s money.

      • dimitris said on 30th July 2013, 8:26

        Santander has been a Maclaren sponsor as well and they do a lot of business in Britain. Alonso in a Maclaren would suit them fine now that Lewis is gone. They will have the best of both, the English and Spanish speaking, worlds. Alonso may be also thinking beyond 2014, to 2015 when Honda will come into play.

    • David BR2 said on 30th July 2013, 14:04

      I think the top teams are all basically competing for 4 drivers to maximize their chances: Alonso and Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen. On that basis Ferrari would be insane to let Alonso go, they’d be in much the same position as McLaren right now, left with two solid drivers who aren’t going to make enough of a difference to a so-so car. Unless of course Ferrari snatch Vettel or Hamilton, or re-sign Raikkonen. Or produce a storming car for next season. All very unlikely.

      I think Red Bull would happily take Alonso, and he’d happily go there. Vettel will veto the move much as he did Hamilton, though. And I doubt he’ll really accept Raikkonen either. Which Alonso must know by now, so this is all probably no more than internal Ferrari squabbling and pressurizing that will fizzle out along with their season.

  11. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 29th July 2013, 19:22

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen either Fernando criticise Ferrari or Ferrari criticise Fernando. Maybe there is some truth to the Red Bull rumours. I still think he’d be unwise to make the move, though.

    • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 29th July 2013, 23:25

      Alonso criticized his car frequently last season. I remarked at the time that Ferrari had once fired a reigning champion for such an offense.

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 30th July 2013, 6:52

        @jonsan @jackysteeg I’m trying to think of the last driver to criticize Ferrari who didn’t end up getting sacked for it. Prost tried it and got sacked – before the season ended! Arnoux tried it and got sacked – after the first race of the season! Lauda tried it and, while he didn’t exactly get sacked, ended up leaving the team (before getting pushed of it anyway). This feels like a slippery slope to me. Unless Alonso and Ferrari start winning races – and fast (Monza would be ideal), I struggle to see how their relationship will fully recover out of this.

  12. liam (@) said on 29th July 2013, 19:24

    eventually Alonso will end up back at Lotus with Seb at Ferrari and Kimi at Red Bull…

    • tmax (@tmax) said on 30th July 2013, 7:42

      Given the current knife show…..Vettel would rather stick to RBR with his friend Kimi

      Ferrari and big luca will reinstate Massa as their no 1 driver

  13. Kim Philby (@philby) said on 29th July 2013, 19:37

    For a die hard Ferrari fan his words sound bitter but his frustration is justified.

  14. ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh) said on 29th July 2013, 19:53

    I am picturing a crowd of hyper-competitive Italians bearing knives- “Et tu, Alonso?”

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