Alonso defends ‘perfect’ tactics after radio complaints

2013 Italian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2013Fernando Alonso denied Ferrari’s tactics to have team mate Felipe Massa give him a slipstream during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix had failed despite criticising his team during the session.

Alonso complained twice during Q3 as he struggled to stay within range of Massa. During his last run Alonso said “Felipe’s too far” as he ran behind his team mate. However after qualifying Alonso said the team’s tactics had been “perfect”.

“We planned to have a him a little bit in the front and he was helping me on the straight. In the end Ricciardo was in the middle of us but then Ricciardo let me by, Felipe wait me a little bit for the last corner so it was perfect. This extra tenth or something was thanks to him.”

Alonso qualified fifth, one hundredth of a second behind Massa. Ferrari president Luca di Montemolo was in the team’s garage to watch their qualifying performance at their home race.

Technical director Pat Fry also claimed the tactics had worked: “In reality, in terms of those positions, we picked up a tow so that part of it worked,” he said.

“Now we’ve got to keep on, we obviously have to build a quicker car still, don’t we?”

“Asked why Alonso had complained Massa was too far ahead Fry said: “No, I think it was the right gap to be honest. Three seconds back is good position to be in.”

Shortly after qualifying Alonso took to Twitter to reiterate his satisfaction with the result: “A good [qualifying] finally after the last Saturdays so so… Tomorrow we must try to be close to Red Bull in first part of the race!”

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    106 comments on “Alonso defends ‘perfect’ tactics after radio complaints”

    1. Should have stayed closer on the out lap. Fernando only has himself to blame, plus he made a mistake in sector 2.

      1. Should have stayed closer on the out lap.

        He could get no closer as mr Ricciardo was there between alonso & massa.
        Alonso wasn’t able to pass Ricciardo until just before Ascari when Daniel moved over.

        I just saw it from sky italy Ferrari in-car channel.

        alonso complaints on the radio was due to ferrari mis-timing sending the 2 cars out which allowed ricciardo to hinder the out laps & prevent alonso been as close to felipe as planned.

      2. Wrong Ferrari send them out at the wrong time so like AdamB said and Ferrari should have known by know towing is not going to work.

      3. I’m not sure why people thought he was complaining on the radio? Thats how he always sounds on the radio… its just because of his accent that it sounds moanish.

        He said on the OUTLAP (considering the radio is very delayed!) that Filipe was too far ahead, which to me sounds like nothing more than him trying to help orchestrate the teamwork intensive exercise.

        1. he was definitely complaining over the radio as he usually does when things do not go his way.

          Plus I am quite sure that both cars were sent out at the same time

          1. He always sounds the same no matter what he is saying. You have to ignore his tone because him shouting combined with his accent makes english people think he is complaining, when all he is doing is talking loud like Fernando always does over the radio.

            “I am quite sure that both cars were sent out at the same time”

            That is a pointless fact considering they then do an entire outlap which makes keeping the gap exactly correct very hard to do.

            1. OK, I do agree he always sounds moanish but its not about what he sounded like but what he said.
              I remember perfectly the tv footage showing Massa rolling down the pit lane and Alonso right behind him.
              Don’t get me wrong, I think Alonso is a truly great driver. I just find boring the fact the he is always blaming the others when he doesnt deliver

    2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      7th September 2013, 15:23


      He’s clearly trying to compensate for his radio frustrations.

      1. His words were not elegant. Hope he delivers tomorrow and says sorry to his team live.

    3. What a lot of nonsense. If the tactics worked Massa wouldn’t be ahead of Alonso.

      1. Not Apparently as Massa also got a fair amount of tow from Webber…

      2. Not true. If Alonso had a race setup and Massa had a qualifying setup, then this tactic would have helped Alonso get into a better position than he would otherwise have.

    4. Give credit to Fernando. He’s really good at languages…

      1. Unfortunaly of all places, he had to do it in Italy. It might have been Spanish, but I do believe the Italians understood the message perfectly.

        1. What did he say?

    5. Well, for the first time since Malaysia I believe Massa outqualified Alonso, so clearly the tactics were far from “perfect”. Quite why Ferrari don’t just focus on helping Alonso improve his qualifying (which isn’t exactly emphatically strong even without the added mental stresses of tactics) I don’t really know…

      1. BBC commentators after getting notice that Massa out-qualified Alonso were screaming like Jesus Christ was back in town, they looked even more astonished by this “miracle” than Hulkenberg’s third place.

        1. @jcost I don’t think there was anything like that reaction on Sky haha!

          1. There wasn’t. Although Martin Brundle did let out an amused “HA” that the slipstreaming technique had failed.

            1. Kind of feels like they really love it when something happens to Alonso :P

              IMO at least Ferrari are trying to do something other than the usual herpity derpity doop.

          2. :) @vettel1. It’s a shame a I don’t get Sky stream. I miss Brundle and Ted Kravitz but Gary Anderson and DC are top notch as well. BBC is still well served.

      2. for the first time since Hockenheim

        1. Sorry, Nurburgring of course

          1. @oel-f1 cheers for that – before that Malaysia though, right‽

            1. I think so, yes. Australia, Malaysia, Germany and now Italy, 4/12 times he’s outqualified Alonso this season.

      3. @vettel1, with the tyres being so temperature sensitive there is clearly a choice to be made between qualifying pace and race pace, clearly Alonso prefers to be on the race podium rather than the qualifying podium, and then there is the possibility of rain….

    6. It was meant to be a tow for both drivers. I think the team screwed the tow order and the timing, but is OK, Alonso can get into the podium and Massa maybe too. But the title is over.

      1. Only Webber can stop Seb right? But starting like he’s used to…

    7. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      7th September 2013, 15:30

      I wonder if they’ll actually sack him if he continues like this. If I was Domenicali I’d probably chuck them both out and go for a fresh start with Raikkonen and Hulkenberg.

      1. @collettdumbletonhall …I’d then sack myself, as I – Stefano Domenicalli – am useless :P

        But yes I agree, however where would Alonso go after that? I don’t think there’s any denying he’s a very talented driver though so maybe it’d be worthwhile retaining him, but with his privileges severely slashed.

        1. Maybe Marussia has an opening?

        2. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
          7th September 2013, 15:39

          @vettel1 Domenicali isn’t useless, I think he does a pretty good job but that’s another debate.
          I don’t know where Alonso would go afterwards, probably take a sabbatical but I wouldn’t miss him at all.
          You’re right, I think they should severely slash his privileges at least. I can’t understand how Luca can keep saying that no one man is bigger than the team yet the whole team is based around one man, Fernando. Having two competitive drivers is the only way they are going to win the constructors these days and so at least Felipe must go.
          Fernando seems to be trying to get fired or at least he was when he was desperately trying to get the Red Bull seat in the summer break.

          1. @collettdumbletonhall I was being at least partially sarcastic but I don’t think he’s very good at managing his team by any means – he’s no Ron Dennis ;)

            Agreed wholeheartedly – they regularly trumpet their the best team in the world do Ferrari, but they sure as he’ll don’t employ the two best drivers. It’s about time they acted upon this.

            1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
              7th September 2013, 20:53

              I agree upon Massa. But Alonso not a top driver? That’s doesn’t make sense to me @vettel1 :p

            2. @shreyasf1fan they don’t employ the two best available to them as a collective :P

          2. @vettel1

            they don’t employ the two best available to them as a collective :P

            Nor do Red Bull ;)

            1. @todfod absolutely, but they’re better in that respect :P Mercedes are actually the best I’d say :)

        3. He’d probably retire. A hero in Spain, a cult hero to the tifosi and then the F1 world will have to hope Mercedes and Lewis come out all guns blazing in 2014 or have to suffer a few more championship non-battles like this one appears to be.

      2. @collettdumbletonhall
        Replacing Alonso with Raikkonen would be ridiculous, that’d be Ferrari’s biggest loss since Ross Brawn in 2007.

        1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
          7th September 2013, 17:13

          Not really, he’s pretty high maintenace and I’d say Raikkonen was as good as Alonso anyway so it’s not much of a loss.

          1. Then why did Ferrari sack Räikkönen in 2009 and replace him with Alonso? They desperately wanted Alonso.

            1. Because they wanted a big name with a big sponsor, Santander

            2. Yeah.. coz Ferrari hire drivers purely for money

            3. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
              8th September 2013, 23:08

              Yeah, but I think that was a mistake.

      3. Go into the first year of new regulations, with two new drivers in the team, one of which is gonna retire soon and the other has never been in a front runner team before, besides the main sponsor leaving the team? You’re almost as useless as Stefano.

    8. why is it only Ferrari try the tow effect? they wouldn’t have got pole anyway, they are better in the race. alosno will still finish second anyway tomorrow (behind vettel), so the qualifying position doesn’t matter that much.

      1. Because only Ferrari are willing to risk sacrificing the qualifying performance of one of their drivers – i.e. Massa. As pointed out by Whitmarsh (though he obviously did not refer explicitly to Ferrari).

        1. but in all the years they have tried it, his it gave them an advantage? I think they stuffed it last year also… they can easily swap them during the race. I guess if during the practise sessions they were within a tenth of a second of redbull it would be worth the risk, otherwise it is just ruining the drivers laps, not only do they have to concentrate on a perfect lap, but also try to coordinate a tow.

      2. I actually think they do it just for the show in front of their home crowd. Doing something and qualifying badly sure is better than doing nothing and still doing badly.

    9. would be surprised if the “Siete scemi” won’t have an aftermath – LDM is already quite annoyed and that might just do it.

      1. @tmf42
        The message was “C’era da lasciarlo passare… siete proprio dei geni, mamma mia”, this is a complete explication of the situation

        1. @tifoso1989 replacing scemi with geni still keeps the jist – but he’s Teflonso after all.

          It’s just an isolated incident but if you sum up all the trash talk ALO fired on his team over the last few years you’ve to wonder what happened to the Italian pride.

    10. Regardless of it working or not, looking at that stuff was cringeworthy.

      1. It was embarrassing to watch. Maybe if they were swapping positions lap on lap, I could credit Ferrari for trying something different. Instead Massa is just being abused… and they still screw it up.

      2. i have to disagree with you there, it worked or not, it did spice-up the qualifying, clearly both were given opportunity to post quali lap at the end. Oh come-on drafting with f1 cars !, treat to my eyes.

    11. There are various things coming out of Italy. The thing that is causing the confusion is the difference between the words “scemi” idiots and “geni” geniuses. Here’s the link to the Gazzetta dello Sport

      The problem either way is that even if he said “geni” it could be taken ironically. Alonso claims he said “geni”. But it all has to do with the way the comment is said. Apparenty Luca di Montazemolo isn’t bothered. Weird stuff either way.

    12. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      7th September 2013, 15:38

      It’s not the first time Alonso reacts badly at the heat of the moment. Remember when he yelled Petrov at the end of Abu Dhabi 2010? What did Petrov do wrong that day? He was defending position, and nicely, not making 2 moves or anything like that.
      Probably Alonso needs more yoga instead of warriors books … =P

      1. To be fair a lot of drivers have said some fairly rash things in the heat of the moment, must be all of that adrenaline I guess.

      2. Petrov was too aggressive and risked an accident with Alonso in lap 23 i’m not very sure he was fair

      3. vettel is no saint, what he said about senna in brazil 2012 is distasteful. even after winning shows his arrogance.

    13. Well I think Montezemolo would angry about the failure of the tactic. I don’t feel Monty would be angry about Alonso’s inappropriate radio message.

      1. Exactly. You can understand Alonso’s frustrations, so his comments don’t really mean much in the long run. They shouldn’t be wasting their time with those ridiculous tactics, taking the drivers focus away a little.

        Fernando was fast all weekend and I think could have managed at least 3rd (probably second) given his form up until FP3. Once again, Ferrari shoot themselves in the foot by complicating things when there is simply no need!

        1. I’m sick of Alonso’s complaints and frustrations. Why can’t he just come up with an excuse (understeer, oversteer, brakes, steering, not enough downforce, can’t get the tires working etc.) after every race, sit down relax and enjoy the luxurious of an overpaid race driver like many others do. But noooo, he has to fight for that title every season and annoy us fans with his stern determination and samurai stuff. Jeez this guy should really take some lessons from Button.

          1. Why don’t you stop following F1 now? I know that EVERY driver complains when something is going wrong.
            he has to fight for that title every season and annoy us fans with his stern determination” – actually, what is this?

            I feel your comment is absolutely disgusting if you are a fan of F1.

            I don’t understand why you, FANS, so dissatisfied with what any pilot says and how he reacts? How they should act? I’m pretty sure they are ordinary people with ordinary wishes. I am absolutely certain that if you were in his situation you would complain too.

            What I see in this situation is that Alonso has the right to be dissatisfied! He did enormous work last year. Yeah, that mostly pure luck that Nando was fighting for a WDC until the very last race. But after unexpected performance last year Ferrari technical department must have create a superfast car. Instead of that they did car that doesn’t swiftly eat tyres. After that Ferrari didn’t support his drivers efforts at all.
            And when you have done huge amount of work and you work is thrown away not because of you fault then you’re becoming angry and irate.

            Is it so difficult or sophisticated for understanding, guys?

            1. Keith Collantine – and is it possible to correct your comments after you have posted them? :-)
              So many mistakes(

            2. I’m pretty sure he was being sarcastic :)

            3. @slava

              So many mistakes

              Like the bit where you may have missed @klaas sarcasm.

          2. @klaas the samurai stuff is annoying though to many people, so I don’t know why you’ve included that in your evidently sarcastic comment.

    14. I haven’t heard Alonso saying the post-qualifying quotes, but it almost comes across as ironic. It was not good qualifying session for him, so to use a word like “perfect”, quite the other end of the spectrum, is plain weird. Just think about it: his team has slapped him on the wrist for criticizing the team in public and according to some dubious reports he’s uncomfortable within the team at the moment, so what better way for letting out frustration by annoying the team just a wee bit more?

      Please note, I’m speculating – I can’t know fo’ sure until I’ve heard the interview.

      1. He definitely wasn’t genuine in his expression. Every word his said veiled the frustration he clearly feels – but I would assume he’s been put in his place after the previous run in with Luca!

    15. “…Felipe wait me a little bit for the last corner so it was perfect. This extra tenth or something was thanks to him.”
      Wait Massa slowed down to wait for him and still ended up in front of him?

      1. Alonso was referring to the warm up lap..

    16. In the end Ferrari is the only one to blame for what happend today. Had they send them out at a better time so they could avoid Ricciardo they could have towed and nothing would have changed. I think they still would have been P4 an P5.

      Alonso calling for Felipe to be fired on the radio was a heat of the moment thing but that doesn’t make it right for him to be saying something like that. So now it seems Felipe has also lost Fernandos backing, Ferrari and Luca di Montezemelo are now clearly blaming him for today. So it would seems Massa is done for at Ferrari.

      1. I think Alonso’s getting a bit too big for his boots with all of his recent spats also.

        1. Alonso called Felipe to be fired? not sure about that, whatever i read on the internet says he called his team either idiots or geniuses(sarcastically)… I think Alonso’s time as a Ferrari driver is probably gonna end soon…

        2. @vettel1 Yeah and the comments he is giving now are only proving what you say. He himself has realised that. He knows he stepped out of line today and is now trying to smooth things out.

          Schumacher said it himself today: ‘you are part of the team, no matter what’ and he had 10 happy years at Ferrari, if only Fernando understood this tactic…

          But I gues his Spanish temperament won’t let him.

          1. @force-maikel I can sympathise with his frustrations, but I see no need for him to attack the team. They are trying – failing slightly compared to Red Bull, but trying.

        3. It’s a disgrace really. No team has ever gone to such lengths to favor one driver yet he still feels they don’t do enough to help him.

          I think Alonso is setting up a situation where he feels he is “forced” to leave Ferrari so he doesn’t have to butt heads with someone like Hulkenberg next year. He’d rather go to a weaker team like Lotus with a weak teammate and keep his reputation in tact than butt heads with someone like Hulkenberg at Ferrari.

          1. He went back to Team Enstone the last time he had a falling out with a team, so it isn’t completely out of the question if things get really bad. Lotus might get some much-needed money from Santander in that case.

      2. Alonso calling for Felipe to be fired on the radio

        You must have been watching a completely different programme – at no point did Alonso ever say that. He stated Massa was too far in front, and criticised the team’s strategy, but he never said Massa should be fired.

        1. Yeah I misinterpreted that, he meant Ricciardo. Still the comment towards his team was uncalled for.

          1. Fair enough, though I’d say he wouldn’t have asked for Ricciardo to be fired either :-P

    17. Massa was just faster and Alonso couldn’t keep up.

    18. So Massa outqualifies Alonso. Maybe they need to turn things around next year: Alonso ahead and Massa pushing him forward with his front wing.

    19. Alonso bottled qualifying…again.

      What has Ferrari come to trying to more or less sacrifice Massa’s race on Sunday just to get Alonso an extra tenth of a second?? Wonder if they’re going to change Massa’s gearbox again to bump Alonso up the grid?

      1. In fairness, Alonso is still–to some extent–in the championship hunt. Massa, much as I love him, is not.

    20. This sounded like a very very frustrated alonso…
      But I still think this tatic is rubish…

    21. Kimi and Nico in, Alonso and Massa out.

    22. Fernando was obviously not pleased with the qualifying run, and the language he used afterwards to the media totally sounds like he’s hiding something. (Really? “Perfect?”) But, everyone gets irritated when things don’t work out, and everyone says things when they’re angry that they wouldn’t say otherwise. Especially over the team radio. I’m glad we get to listen to team radio during the race weekends, but it’s definitely not a fair judge of someone to judge them off of a comment made over the team radio.

    23. ahem….I have a funny feeling that Massa is going to want to have his gearbox changed…..for no reason in particular…you know….just to be safe……really safe……..

    24. Alonso is broken. Mentally and emotionally he is gone from Ferrari. Eddie Jordan said he may be looking for a sabbatical. I think there is a real possibility that he won’t be in F1 next year or maybe ever again. Maybe more interested in cycling after purchasing the Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team.

    25. This is just “Calm Checo down” all over again.

    26. It’s obviously frustrating for him to be out qualified by Massa in Italy again, and for some I was surprised with his criticism, despite knowing what he’s capable of after 2007.
      In 2010, I and many others thought Alonso and Ferrari were a match made in heaven. Well this season the realisation that this partnership hasn’t and isn’t looking like getting the desired rewards is showing a few cracks. Maybe there’s more to it – like Eddie Jordan (I think) said, Ferrari might be wanting to replace Massa and Alonso doesn’t want it.
      Mind this could be being blown completely out of proportion and if Alonso gets a good result tomorrow then this all could be forgotten quickly. It’s all quite interesting though.

    27. Too bad some of the english press are not interested in reporting the facts and not the fantasies, the radio message was on Q2, not Q3 (Kravitz info), and Alonso said genius not stupid (Carlos Miquel info, Ferrari meeting with the Italian/Spanish press to listen a clean audio version of Alonso’s radio message).)

      1. @zoomracing

        Alonso said genius not stupid

        I didn’t say he said either. In the second paragraph I linked to a separate page discussing the exact wording of the message.

        But either way Alonso’s message was critical which is how I characterised it.

    28. Drivers don’t go to Ferrari and succeed year after year. Schumacher’s is really the only guy in the last three decades to do so.

      For decades Ferrari has had a toxic, political team culture. The Schumacher years were an anomaly. As good as Schumacher was on the track, he was the glue that held it together off the track.

      I’ll always remember in 2006 Schumacher entering the pit garage, after going out of the Japanese Grand Prix with a blown engine while in the lead, consoling and thanking his mechanics with grace. That blown engine had just cost him what looked like an 8th world championship.

      Compare that to Alonso this year and last year.

      1. Alonso thanked his team and consoled them last year at the final grand prix. His cars have not been as good as Schumacher’s when he was at Ferrari, so you can’t compare the two.

        1. Schumacher only ever had the best car in 2001, 2002, and 2004.

          If Schumacher didn’t sacrifice his best years rebuilding Ferrari he’d likely be a 10-time champion.

    29. Why does Alonso call Riccardio as Richhardo

      1. @noob Ricciardo is an Italian name and Alonso is using the Italian pronunciation. However Ricciardo himself is Australian and doesn’t pronounce his name that way.

    30. My understanding was that to get a effective tow from the car in the front the car that follows must be very close behind – a couple of meter close. Otherwise, as in a case during the race, the car that follows get the “dirty” turbulent air that can destabilize the car compared to the car at front that runs in a “clean” air. If the tow works at a close distance how can the car that follows get a better time that the one at the front unless it overtakes it?
      I think the risks of not getting everything right with this trick are too great to be worth trying.

    31. Alonso was referring to the team releasing Massa next year IMO. Massa tried to help Alonso as he always does and Fernando was asking “So you have to let him go, really, you are stupid! Mamma mia guys” I think he knew then that Kimi would be joining in 2014 and was expressing his disappointment.

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