Ferrari tells Alonso to put the interests of the team above his own

Luca di Montezemolo with Fernando Alonso

Luca di Montezemolo with Fernando Alonso

Ferrari dealt Fernando Alonso a rare public rebuke on his birthday on Monday for critical comments after Sunday’s Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix.

“All the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own,” the team website quoted president Luca di Montezemolo as telling the Spaniard in a telephone conversation to wish him a happy 32nd birthday.

“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,” he added.

Alonso finished fifth at the Hungaroring and slipped to third in the championship, 39 points adrift of Red Bull’s triple champion Sebastian Vettel with nine races left.

Asked afterwards what kind of car he wanted for his birthday, the double world champion told Italian reporters: “The one the others have”.

Asked also what he planned to do over the August break, with the season now at its midpoint, the Spaniard had retorted: “I will pray”.

Luis Garcia Abad with Christian Horner

Luis Garcia Abad with Christian Horner

In a blunt assessment, the Ferrari website said Alonso’s comments “did not go down well with Montezemolo, nor with anyone in the team” and said the president had “tweaked” the driver’s ear in their conversation.

The polemic came after Alonso’s manager was seen entering the Red Bull motorhome in Hungary, triggering paddock speculation that the champions could be considering the Ferrari driver as a possible team mate for Vettel.

Alonso has a contract with Ferrari to the end of 2016 and is the team’s undisputed number one driver, with Montezemolo usually unstinting in his praise.

Ferrari had earlier announced a reshuffle in their engineering department with James Allison arriving from Lotus as technical director on Sept. 1.

Pat Fry will assume a new position as director of engineering and both men will report to team principal Stefano Domenicali.

Fernando Alonso in Hungary

Fernando Alonso in Hungary

Allison, who worked closely with German driver Michael Schumacher in a previous stint with Ferrari, left his last job as Lotus technical director in May.

Ferrari said that Allison’s arrival was proof of Montezemolo’s determination to ensure the team had all the support and resources it needed.

“There is a need to close ranks, without giving in to rash outbursts that, while understandable in the immediate aftermath of a bad result, are no use to anyone,” the website said.

It added that the president had made his displeasure with the team’s current performance clear.

“Montezemolo did not mince his words when it came to asking the team to step up a gear,” the website declared.

“Each one of the engineers present received a ‘gift’ of a knife, along with an invitation – metaphorical up to a point – to put it between their teeth when thinking how to tackle the second half of the season.”

Subbed by AJN.

Content on by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Getty Images, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.

  • Alonso_is_slow

    Ferrari needs a better driver who can contribute to technical development, does not bash his own team when they have issues, and is not the first to find excuses when he makes the mistakes.

    For the same amount of salary MS brought 10x as much value to Ferrari as Alonso

    Alonso neither has Hamilton’s driving talent nor Vettel’s hard work and learning capabilities, much less technical input. All he has is a big bad mouth, an ability to steal resources from his teammate, and a crying engine created for sorrow fans that starts as soon as he underperforms.

    He clearly needs the fastest car to become champion, which means he has no value added over other average drivers. (Even Damon Hill could do that!).

    Alonso FAIL

  • Butterfly

    Luca is pissed because Alonso may have decided to pack up and leave for Red Bull.

    That might just kill any hope of Ferrari winning this decade. Very ouch.

    What a jerk. He decided to attack Fernando on his birthday and then make it public.

  • jurrabi

    @Unknown that wrote on 30 july at 12.05.

    And who would be that?

    Weirdly enough I think exactly the opposite of you, meaning:

    Alonso has great technical skills to improve the car as Hamilton learned when he copied for a year Alonso’s configurations and ways (you could see him studying Alonso’s charts after each practice/qualifying run).

    Find excuses? Please man. Saying that they did what they could with what they have is not finding excuses. It’s the crude truth. And it’s been for several years now.

    He just was frustrated after a long race fighting hard to keep a fifth place with a Lotus, when he wished to be putting pressure on Vettel!
    Compare that to the face Vettel gives when he doesn’t get it all… please.

    He needs a winning car to win, you say. Who doesn’t? Vettel? Please.

    This is F1. If you don’t have a winning (on close enough) car you can’t do anything. And that has been the case for the spaniard for 3 years in Ferrari. And even in that predicament, he disputed the championship to the final race!

    Steal resources from team mate?… please man. I don’t want to trash Massa, but if someone can learn something is the other way around. The average 4 tens he advantages Massa in qualifying EVERY race since they are together (even knowing that qualifying is not one of Alonso’s strengths) can’t be achieved copying…

    Hamilton’s Talent Alonso has to give away. And Vettel’s learning capabilities? What is that man? I just laugh. Alonso already has the experience, is hard working, has talent and a computer for head. He’s the perfect driver, followed closely by Hamilton and very far (although it’s gaining experience and getting closer) from Vettel.

    I won’t deny Hamilton’s or Vettel’s talent (in my opinion in that order), but saying Alonso is talentless is a plain insult and a just a way of trolling around.

    I just wished cars were less of a factor and we could see this 3 great talents fight a fair fight.

    All I can say today is that Hamilton is better than Button (don’t know about Rosberg yet), Vettel is better than Webber (now, not 3 years ago) and Alonso is far better than Massa. Beyond that, that remains still to be seen.

    Any way, good luck finding that inexistent driver you want for Ferrary “Unknown commenter”

  • McLarenfan

    Luca di Montezemolo is a strange man if passion for the team was the driving force then they would win hands down, his speeches at times very public help to motivate the team at times but at other times he expects the team to deliver more than the impossible and if that cant be reached he turns in to the Queen of hearts and lops of heads. Passion and drive is a good thing but saying your going to deliver doesn’t make it happen. Also Ferrari should stop laying the blame at the drivers feet for accidents when it is clear that the accident was due to something in the car not everything they produce is perfect.