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Ferrari's Montezemolo scolds Alonso with public rebuke

ESPN Staff
July 29, 2013 « Ferrari confirms Allison's arrival | Australia's first F1 driver dies aged 93 »
Luca di Montezemolo has reminded Fernando Alonso that the team comes first © Sutton Images

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has issued a public scolding of Fernando Alonso following comments made by the Spaniard at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Although Ferrari did not make reference to the exact comment that angered the its boss, Alonso was quoted in the Italian press saying he would like a faster car for his birthday on July 29 while he told English journalists that Ferrari had produced new parts at recent races that were not working.

In an article on its website, Ferrari said Montezemolo felt that "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."

It added: "That was a reference to 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."

The article went on to directly quote part of what Montezemolo said to Alonso.

"All the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own," the Ferrari president told his driver. "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."

The rebuke is the first public schism between team and driver since Alonso joined in 2010, and comes after stories emerged over the weekend that his manager may have approached Red Bull about its vacant race seat in 2014. Alonso now lies 39 points adrift of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' championship and said on Sunday said that his team needed to get on top of its issues at the next few races after recent upgrades failed to improve the car.

"At Silverstone we did a step backwards with the performance of the car," he said. "For the Nurburging we came back to some old parts on the car and the behaviour was much more normal, and then at the Young Driver Test we had the confirmation that we needed to go back to some parts we used previously.

"Now we understand the car, we understand the problems.We know that we produced a car that was not working and in a way it is normal to have this deficit now because the car we are driving is with the very old parts.

"Over the summer we need to make the step forward that we thought we should make at Silverstone. We need these couple of tenths that did not appear to come immediately for Spa and Monza to have the same performance with the cars we are fighting for the world championship."