Ferrari have always been about Ferrari. I think we’ve become accustomed to that level of thinking over the decades. Whatever is or isn’t happening at Ferrari these days, it does strike one as odd that they would have a talent such as Fernando Alonso and let the relationship wither on the vine during lean years.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo can be as apoplectic as he wants because he has every reason to be unhappy with the current form of his Formula 1 team but failing to do the little things that keep his star driver tethered to the team physically and emotionally seems like a rookie mistake or perhaps a trenchant approach to the aforementioned “Ferrari first” mode of thinking.
Arguably—and not very much so—Alonso is the best driver on the grid. Mercedes know this and have said as much with team boss Toto Wolff and Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche saying:
“Alonso is probably the best driver on the Formula 1 grid. Fernando has always proven it – and in uncompetitive cars.”
It’s is indeed a bit strange to be praised by other teams who recognize your abilities when the very team you are with has little to say other than hinting at occasionally putting you in your place. Fernando Alonso agreed as AUTOSPORT mentioned:
“It’s always welcome when people see your job in a good way, and respect what you try to achieve,” he said.
“It’s sometimes strange to see good comments and compliments from people from outside, and the opposite from people who are supposed to be close to you.
“It’s motivating for me and good to see good comments, and funny when you see the opposite in your closest friends.”
When your team is off the boil, surely your public comments are centered on finding your way back and what changes need to be made. That’s understandable. But forget the current year—when was the last time you heard Ferrari praise Fernando other than post-race throwaway quotes regarding his fine performance?
Maybe Fernando isn’t the easiest person to work with? Maybe he’s a bit of a prima donna? Regardless, he’s the best hope Ferrari have in winning a race any time soon if the team get the car sorted. The move to bring Kimi Raikkonen back has proven to fall short of any silver bullet to success with Alonso still firmly on top of the head-to-head performance between the two drivers.
If there wasn’t much to this story then it would have died down but Ferrari felt there was enough white noise to offer a formal statement on Thursday saying:
“Fernando is the best driver in the world, who always gives 200 per cent in the races,” di Montezemolo said.
“He knows how much I count on him, even away from the racetrack, in terms of his contribution and the impetus he gives to the team.
“I think it’s incredible that there are still some so-called experts who don’t understand that and are always looking for a polemical situation that simply doesn’t exist.”
See? That wasn’t hard was it? It seems things are not very pleasant these days between the Spaniard and Ferrari and with all the moves at Ferrari over it’s lack of performance, one wonders if Fernando will ultimately be a casualty of the team’s inability to produce a competitive car? It would be a shame as Fernando is the least of their worries at this point and could have been a real savior had they found a modicum of pace in 2014.