Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali has admitted that Fernando Alonso “crossed the line” with his critical comments aimed at the team earlier in the season.
Domenicali confessed that Alonso had stepped over the mark while taking part in a tell-all style interview with two Italian Ferrari fans, who were invited to quiz the teamboss, having risen to prominence for their vocal attacks on the Scuderia’s performances this season via social media.
Alonso received a stern telling off from Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo after he made a scathing comment criticising his team during the course of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, back in July.
The 32-year-old, when quizzed on what he would like for his upcoming birthday, answered that he would like a different car, having struggled to a fifth place finish in the difficult F138 around the Hungaroring.
When quizzed on the topic of the earbashing that di Montezemolo gave Alonso, the Italian agreed that the double world champion had spoken out of turn and added that he had himself reprimanded Alonso for his misguided comments.
“I have something to say to him, as would be the case with my engineers, I would do it behind closed doors and in a harsh manner,” said the Ferrari teamboss. “But externally, I will always defend the team. When he crossed the line, president Montezemolo intervened and in private, so did I.”
Despite this, Domenicali conceded that Alonso’s criticisms were not totally unfounded, and that the team had in fact failed to provide the double world champion with a car equal to his talent during 2013.
“If in the past four years we have come close to the title twice, it is partly down to him. Unfortunately, we have not been capable of giving him a car that matches his talent. You compare him to Vettel, but when you have a better car, everything is more straightforward.”
When pressed on the imminent end of Felipe Massa’s tenure at Ferrari, with one fan implying that the decision to part with the Brazilian had not come soon enough, Domenicali re-affirmed the commitment the Scuderia has shown to Massa in the wake of his accident in 2009, insisting that it would have been wrong to dispense with a driver who had suffered from such a spate of bad luck without allowing them the chance to redeem themselves.
“There are two reasons. From a medical point of view, there is no proof that the accident left any permanent damage, such as problems with his sight or reflexes,” said the Italian. “And then there’s the gentility which would demand that we give a driver who hasn’t had much luck, the chance to show he deserves to stay with us.
“If Felipe was unable to deliver the performance we hoped for, it was mainly down to a hyper-sensitivity to a car that was too nervous at the rear, but in 2008, he almost took the title and I consider him as a world champion. We took Raikkonen because we wanted more. When we replaced him with Alonso, he was not happy and so he returns with a great desire to do well.”
Image courtesy of Pirelli