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. mixwell (@mixwell) said on 30th July 2013, 6:48

    @Keithcollantine,
    we should have a caption competition with this image :
    http://i42.tinypic.com/dyako.jpg

  2. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 30th July 2013, 7:18

    I think LdM is under a bit of pressure himself as well. Nothing like what the others are facing, but pressure nonetheless.

    Since Schumacher retired at the end of 2006 (with first Brawn then Todt eventually following him out the door), Ferrari has been winning consistently less. Nothing like as drastic as its rivals in the 2000s (McLaren’s 2013 has been woeful, while the less said about Williams, the better), but still significant. The only WDC they’ve won in the post-Schumi era was in Year 1, 2007. Todt was still at the helm, and McLaren helped them a fair bit too. The last WCC they won was in Year 2, 2008.

    And what does this have to do with LdM? Well, he basically pushed Schumi (and by extension Todt) out of the team. Which would be understandable, except LdM’s hand-picked replacements are not doing all that well, either. While Kimi did win a title, he only stayed until 2009, and Ferrari paid him to leave and make room for Alonso. Now Fernando’s unhappy with how things are going for him, too. And team principal Stefano has looked pretty much hopeless in trying to improve things.

    Perhaps James Allison will be the man to turn things around. Perhaps Rory Byrne’s return to a more active consultancy role will guide them back to success. Perhaps the 2014 rules will end up in Ferrari’s favour. But for a team like Ferrari and a champion like Fernando, that’s too many if’s for them to feel confident about the future – together or apart.

  3. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 30th July 2013, 7:28

    I think when approximately 100% of your team motivation and performance lies in hands of your lead driver, a driver that is flattering the car on track, and you build him a car inadequate for winning the world title, I think it is rather unfair to criticize him when he goes all classy eyed over the prospect of having a good car. Montezemolo, get over yourself, you are not Enzo Ferrari and should thank God every day that the remarkable driver that is Fernando Alonso is driving for a team that is technically falling into the same pit as Williams…

    • anon said on 30th July 2013, 7:55

      The car is more than adequate. Up until a few races ago it had been the strongest package out there but Alonso failed to capitalise.

      Last year his car was strong from Barcelona onwards. Sure it wasn’t as quick as the fastest car out there (the McLaren), but its reliability was bulletproof and that enabled Alonso to challenge for the championship. Alonso had every chance to win it late last season but qualified 8th in Brazil while Massa qualified 5th, qualified 9th in Austin while Massa qualified 7th, failed to beat Raikkonen in Abu Dhabi when Vettel started from the back of the grid.

      Improve any of those things and he wins the championship.

      2010 is completely on Alonso. He had a car good enough, he wasn’t. The driver in his third full season of F1 is the only one who didn’t crack under pressure late in the season.

      You go through Alonso’s career and it’s always the car according to his fans or he’s getting out-driven by a team-mate. 2004 beaten by Trulli, 2005 the McLaren was faster but unreliable (Kimi was best driver that year), 2006 Alonso wins due to Renault cheating with mass damper, 2007 can’t beat his rookie team-mate, so on and so on.

      • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 30th July 2013, 15:45

        Ok lets see;
        04 – beaten by not much by Trulli midseason, rest of the year performed equally or Alonso better.
        05 – Alonso a lot more consistent than Kimi, and fastest when he needed to. I’ll agree though that Kimi was better a few races during midseason 05.
        10 – new team, _very_ high expectations, much higher than for little Vettel (oh sorry for that ‘little’)
        07 – new team, new car, completly new tires and driving style, still more or less on par with Lewis, but as you pointed out he didnt beat him.

        Anyways, I really think 2006 was his best ever season, qualified great, massively good at races, almost didn’t do any mistake. 2012 was his 2nd best, imo.

      • It was hardly Alonso’s fault for failing to capitalize on the car’s performance earlier this season. He did all he was expected to do and above that. As for last year, are you serious? The car was never good enough and just because Massa had a few better performances it doesn’t mean anything. Not to mention that with these crappy tires, you either focus on Qualifying or the Race. You have to sacrifice either to gain an advantage for the other. Alonso is by far the best driver in the last couple of years and only an idiot would refuse to see that. You give 2007 as an example, wow… the season in which McLaren failed to realize they have a 2 times world champion and a rookie in its team, and instead of maintaining a hierarchy, they let them fight each other, support their rookie driver more than their champion driver, and ultimately lose out because of that. Very similar to Williams in 86… Keep fooling yourself, it obviously blinds you to the facts that make you feel uncomfortable.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st July 2013, 7:50

          instead of maintaining a hierarchy, they let them fight each other, support their rookie driver more than their champion driver

          That’s a completely unreasonable criticism when you realise that for most of the season Hamilton was leading Alonso in the points. And that Alonso joined the team in the full knowledge that McLaren expect to have two number one drivers.

          • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 31st July 2013, 8:04

            Keith, wasn’t Mclarens management and especially Ron, Alonso problem, during his time there? ..And actually not either lewis or his speed or even his side of the garage in general?

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st July 2013, 8:45

            @il-ferrarista I’m not interested in having yet another argument about 2007, I’m just pointing out that the preceding comment was pushing the rather unrealistic idea that if McLaren were going to start backing one of their drivers that year it was going to be the one with fewer points than the other.

    • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 30th July 2013, 16:20

      Why is it that, no matter what results little Alonso delivers, people feel compelled to claim that he is always and forever “flattering the performance of his car”?

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 30th July 2013, 17:34

      I think ALO is replaceable not by anyone but still. He is a great driver who competes with the top because he can drive 60 quail-like-laps during a race. But he isn’t the best qualifier and he is not excelling in car development. Vettel and Hamilton have better track records where their cars improved during a season and their quail-stats speak for themselves. The development argument is very fuzzy because it also depends on team structures – but I think you can’t exclude the driver from the equation.

  4. MagillaGorilla (@magillagorilla) said on 30th July 2013, 8:15

    LDM should stick to trying to be a politician or better to just go to parties and tout his arrogance to other egos that help massage it. Leave the man to complain since he is right about Ferrari, nothing Fernando seems to have said post race, needs a response like this. Other than the fact that LDM has a bruised ego.

  5. Oskar (@oskar) said on 30th July 2013, 9:46

    What is worst? Alonso criticism on the car¿?, or LCDM rebuking Alonso for criticism?

  6. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 30th July 2013, 10:20

    The irony of LdM advising people ‘avoid polemics’…

  7. Gerry (@coloradoblues) said on 30th July 2013, 10:23

    Hi to all fans :)

    i don’t get the time to read all comments therefore i may be repeting or be abvious on somebody else comments.
    I’m italian and let me tell you 1 or 2 things about ,,,,Italians …. or Italian team in this istance , also i apologise before hand for my english as a spelling and form hope you can get what i’m trying to say.

    First ldm do not deserve capital letters , in the Italians view is an ******* , call him luca only the rest is a titol not a surname , is the same as for the British to call him luca the lord , duke or whatever of montezemolo , montezemolo is a place and he belong to a long time dead aristocratic ‘s world and still living in a cocoon , in italy nobody and i say nobody can’t stand him , he talked out of his bottom , if you can really understand what come out of his mouth you will be in doubt even that he is a real person or a joke , fanatic , selfish , arrogant , a bit like the Ferrari family itself , believe me they think to be in controll of everything they really thing to be the one and only reality , belittle others is very common for them , that how they had built their myth , therefore when they ‘re in difficulty to lose this sense of controll they then come out with the most orrifing story and comments.

    luca give out to Alonso ???? if he had a sight long enough to be able to see over is nose , he would have take Massa last year , at least last year , and said something about , last year Massa wasn’t there at tall , all he ‘d had to do was finish in one race out of how many there were , one race only between is team mate and Vettel and the championship would have been in the hand of Alonso ..

    ciao a tutti

  8. Lance (@lancelot) said on 30th July 2013, 10:35

    LdM is right. He should have rebuked Alonso ages ago. This season, Ferrari had a very competitive car in the first 5 races, easily the best package, and yet Alonso failed to maximize the car’s potential. If he did, he would have had 30-40 more points than he does.

    • zoom (@zoomracing) said on 30th July 2013, 14:11

      That is irrelevant, the same way Alonso was not perfect in some races this year, the team has not been perfect in many many times before. It works both ways and the important thing is that Ferrari is lost when it comes to the car development. What is the point of having a great car in the first 5 races if the next 14 your car will be fighting for 7th and 8th?, because that the place where the F138 belongs right now.

      Is easy to blame Alonso for everything.

      • Lance (@lancelot) said on 30th July 2013, 15:35

        It’s not irrelevant. If Alonso maximized the potential of the car and didn’t make any mistakes, he would have been very close to Vettel now. If Ferrari are competitive in the second half of the season, he would need those lost 30-40 points. My point is, Alonso has no room to complain when he’s been far from flawless this season. Ar best, he’s only the 4th best driver this season behind Vettel, Hamilton, and Kimi.

        • Slava (@slava) said on 30th July 2013, 21:44

          I am curious in one thing.
          If Alonso really doesn’t deliver, then Massa is absolutely talentless.
          If so, then how Massa could beat Schumacher Itself? I know the answer – Michael wasn’t an F1-driver.
          Irrational judgement, so as your’s, Lance.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th July 2013, 22:00

            @slava – Except Massa didn’t beat Schumacher. Massa was 3rd in the WC, Schumacher 2nd, a good 40 points (under the old points sysytem) ahead, with 7 wins to 2.

  9. Cristian (@theseeker) said on 30th July 2013, 12:44

    I think Alonso was pacient for too long with Ferrari, and they are in no position to “tweak his ear”. He is a fantastic driver, a two times World Champion and Ferrari are luck to have him. I believe they would be in even deeper **** withouth him…

  10. Andrew Simmons said on 30th July 2013, 18:48

    ‘Nobody is bigger than the team’. Well im sorry, ‘No team is bigger than criticism’. Alonso has been the best driver over the past 3 seasons. He hasn’t had the best car, there is always at least 3 cars better than him. The fact he won 11 races with a further 24 podiums but took just 4 poles. Hell he should be renamed Fifthnando because thats all the car is capable of on a saturday.

    Ive supported alonso since I was 11 back in 2001, and I cant stand Ferrari. It was devils advocate, accepting its the only way forward after he threw his dummy out in 2007. Now, as a fan of Alonso; I sincerely hope he leaves Ferrari. Even if it means never winning another championship again. Id rather him be a superb double world champion who missed out on being 4WDC than stick with Ferrari or jump ship to the tin can team.

  11. Slava (@slava) said on 30th July 2013, 21:52

    To my mind, LdM has right to admonish Alonso.
    Yes, at this point of a year Ferrari is nowhere. But I am sure Alonso knew that the team is going to sign Allison. Then there is no point in saying what Alonso said. There is still half of a championship in front, and Allison is going to work from 1 September with Ferrari (after Gran Prix of Belgium).
    Perhaps, Alonso’s patience has finished. Or there is something more in all this…stuff.
    Or, apparently, it’s much ado about nothing.

  12. Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 30th July 2013, 23:00

    Hire Michael Schumacher back in, as a no.2? Yeah seriously, what do you think?

  13. bruce (@eliy) said on 1st August 2013, 7:12

    Seems like i’m starting to remember kimi’s days at ferrari. Its better for Alonso to eat some icecream in the garage, maybe that will cool down LDM….

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