Montezemolo heaps praise on “best driver” Alonso

2014 F1 season

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Luca di Montezemolo has responded to speculation about Fernando Alonso’s future by lavishing praise on his driver.

“Fernando is the best driver in the world, who always gives 200% in the races,” said Montezemolo in comments published by the team.

“He knows how much I count on him, even away from the race track, 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”.

Alonso responded to recent praise from Mercedes management of his driving by telling media in Monaco: “It’s sometimes; not sad, but sometimes strange to see good comments and good compliments from people from outside, and from the side that is supposed to be close to you there are the opposite comments.”

Montezemolo added: “The truth is that he and Kimi [Raikkonen], another incredible driver, need a competitive Ferrari and giving them that is our sole objective.”

“We are working very hard, starting with Marco Mattiacci, who knows what needs to be done and who will instigate many changes at a technical and organizational level and in speeding up the decision-making process.

“That’s what I want, as do our drivers and our fans, while all the rest is just idle chat.”

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Keith Collantine
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55 comments on “Montezemolo heaps praise on “best driver” Alonso”

  1. I think it’s a telling sign of brewing concern within Ferrari about Fernando’s future. It clearly is a politically motivated statement from LdM in order to keep Fernando at Ferrari. Maybe they know something that we don’t.

    I really wouldn’t be surprised if Fernando must be contemplating a move somewhere else (McLaren seems the best option for now) since it’s been years since we’ve seen a competitive Ferrari throughout the season. Watch this space.

    1. I’m sorry but I’ve seen bad comments like this before and it just confuses me so much. How on earth can you say that between Ferrari and Mclaren, that Mclaren is the “best option”? How is a slower team a better option when the problem is the speed of the team? Its like moving from a slow team to a slower team is somehow a good thing?

      1. I think he’s referring to the tension. Moving from one equally dud team to another with a fresh perspective is better than sitting in one where behind the scenes it’s getting a bit sketchy. Alonso has surely thought or is currently thinking about moving because of how stale it’s getting for him a Ferrari. Look at Hamilton, he could of stuck at Mclaren because as most people pointed out he was making a backwards move (obviously didn’t turn out to be the case) but he didn’t and made something at a new team with a fresh perspective. Imagine the state of that relationship now he if had stayed at Mclaren…. Same goes for Alonso, will he endure another year at a team that could potentially be thwarting his chances at a championship. Mclaren & Honda present a rather attractive challenge!

        1. I think he if moves it will be a step up. He will want to go to a team who he thinks he can win in the first season. He’s approaching F1 retiring age and cannot spend time waiting for a team to find its form.

          I’d expect him to move to Merc or RBR.

          To be honest I feel as though Kimi is a temporary driver for Ferrari. They will recruit Vettel when his contract expires at RBR and Vettel will drive along side Alonso for a year before Alonso retires. Then they will hire Bianch to team mate with Vettel.

          1. Have to agree with your first paragraph there! But out of both of those teams I find it very difficult to picture how Alonso would ‘fit in’. Mainly down to the pairings that exist there already, they’re both going to stay unless we see a swap between Alonso and Vettel.

            It would be mega crazy to see Vettel step out of that comfort zone and move the Ferrari alongside Alonso but I’m not sure I see Vettel doing that yet, he’s still got plenty of time in front of him to create that defining moment in his career!

          2. @joshua-mesh I don’t expect that at all, Mercedes have already laughed at the claim because what use do they have for him when both their current drivers are consistent and winners? This is the words of Lauda. As for RBR the same can be said, DR has been best of the rest when his podium isn’t taken from him and SV is 4 time consecutive WDC. What use would that have for Alonso other than it being Fernando Alonso…

            Now any other team, I’d agree but the current top two teams have great drivers and are more worried about good engineers to build cars around these drivers. The other teams have both slots to worry about, good engineers and good drivers, though it can be argued other teams at least have one good driver but obviously with out credentials like Fernado

        2. Mclaren are the slowest Mercedes team, which means they have the weakest aero (again). Besides, no one guarantees Honda will be on par with Mercedes, let alone better.

          1. I didn’t say it would be the perfect choice, I was literally picturing the scenerio based on Joshua’s comment. Obviously RBR/Merc would be the obvious choice right now but it’s very difficult to see that happening.

            The only actual possible opening is Mclaren with them maybe booting JB, but that also seems silly if they want to run Honda for a year with an experienced Mclaren driver which they can then in 2016 replace with Vandoorne.

            I myself see Mclaren struggling yet again, big Rons plan will take some time I think!

    2. Fernando should give Ferrari another chance. His options would be:

      Mercedes: Very unlikely once their current duo is doing a good job
      Red Bull: If Seb keeps trailing Ricciardo, he can get irritated but leaving the Bulls in the near future? Very unlikely.
      McLaren: If Ron Dennis don’t mind getting him back at Woking, this could work but what will they bring in 2015? Will their chassis be problematic like their 2014 one? Will Honda PU be any good?

      1. I think a Vettel > Ferrari, Alonso > Red Bull swap would be good all round. Alonso gets a competitive car, Vettel recovers from losing this year to Ricciardo (it will happen) by being top driver at Ferrari and, who knows, this coincides with a revival there finally – and he out does Alonso in that respect. Also he clearly wants to go to Ferrari and, let’s face it, he’s kind of done it all already at Red Bull.

      2. Do Alonso’s moves have anything to do with Newey’s plans? Newey recently responded to rumours by saying that “I remain committed to Red Bull for the foreseeable future.” But just how long is the “foreseeable future”? Vettel’s response to the rumours was more vague: “It is a story in the end. How much truth there is, maybe we will find out, maybe we will never find out.”

  2. money (@carlos-danger)
    22nd May 2014, 11:48

    if Alonso doesn’t win a title at Ferrari, it will go down as the biggest failure in f1 history considering that Micheal won five titles at the team.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      22nd May 2014, 12:01

      Should it happen (or not happen, which ever way you want to look at it), I don’t think one could really place the blame on Fernando at all.

      In a sense, Montezemolo is completely right: since Fernando joined the team, Ferrari has relied on him to make something out of nothing at every GP to keep them afloat in the WCC.

      Whilst I would agree that Fernando is probably the best all-round driver on a Sunday. But on a Saturday… well… let me put it this way: In his 82 grands prix with Ferrari, Fernando has been on pole just 4 times.

      1. You just said Ferrari have relied on Fernando because the car itself is not up to scratch. Then you said its Fernando is bad on Saturdays. If you look at the past few years, you will see pretty clearly that the Ferrari’s weakness was qualifying. While at Ferrari he scored 4X more pole positions than his team mates.

        1. I think you’re both contradicting yourselves there. Alonso has most certainly kept that team where it is but only when he can put the drive in. Qualifying shows what the machine can do more than the driver, obviously the driver has to keep it clean for a lap but if the cars not up there you haven’t got a chance. Where as in the race there’s a lot more variables you can take advantage of, enter the clever minded Alonso.

        2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          22nd May 2014, 12:21

          I think it’s a bit of a combination of both Fernando not being supremely quick over one lap, and the Ferrari car not being quick over a single lap.

          I mean, when Fernando was at McLaren, he had 2 pole positions, to Lewis’s 6.
          I can’t find the teammate battle for qualifying in 2007, but this is the closest I can find.

          1. Yeah. I can 200% understand that Lewis is amazing over a single lap, but my point was that it doesn’t mean Alonso is bad at qualifying. He’s just not the best. I’d say he’s around 3rd or 4th best.

    2. if Alonso doesn’t win a title at Ferrari, it will go down as the biggest failure in f1 history considering that Micheal won five titles at the team.


      Completely agree. It will be a failure for Ferrari though. They’ve had the best driver on the grid for a while and still can’t even give him the 2nd quickest car on the grid.

    3. We shouldn’t forget that Michael wasn’t alone in bringing about a Ferrari resurgence – it was the combination of Ross Brawn and Rory Bryne that complemented Michael’s talent behind the wheel and his technical inputs. Even then, it took five years for the fruits of the labour in terms of the championships…

      1. Let’s not forget the unlimited testing, comfortably outspending their rivals on devlopment and having bespoke tyres for Schumi.

        Yes its embarassing Alonso is not replicating Schumacher’s success despite having none of the above advantages which Schumacher had.

  3. Fernando is the best driver in the world.

    Montezemolo just can’t put his tongue behind his teeth. He is always repeating that and it just shows their mindset of not treating their drivers equally. Yes, Alonso is a better driver than Kimi, but to say that in public shows they don’t support their drivers equally. That’s why I never was a fan of Ferrari – they just can’t treat their drivers equally (except 2007-2009). Montezemolo always says that team is above it’s drivers, but it seems that Alonso is above Ferrari.

    Besides, he just keeps praising his No. 1 driver to please him a bit, because Ferrari can’t please him with a championship winning car.

    1. I dont think they ever tied to treat their drivers equally. It would be wrong to do so, as thats just not how Ferrari works.

    2. I agree 200%. Not only because I see Alonso as a good driver but also as one of the most overrated racers in the whole history since the Big Bang, but also it’s funny that every time LdM decides to open his mouth makes thinks murky. Someone already said down here that the main problem with Alonso is that he “takes all the oxygen” in the team. Maybe it is this lack of oxygen that makes LdM to say thing like this.
      Considering his age and the new crop of young drivers, I very much consider that Alonso’s career is in its last chapters, really. His best option right now seems to sit tight at Ferrari, pocket the cash while it’s coming, and hope that Maranello will give him a better car.

      1. Kimi Raikkonen. Now that’s an overrated driver!

      2. Well, if I was Alonso, I would be looking for a race seat somewhere else. It sounds crazy, when he talks about finishing his carreer in Ferrari, because it is a special team. Yes, it has special name, which was built by it’s history, but not by present achievements.

      3. I feel the same way, Fernando is one of the best drivers on the grid, and i would definitely want him on my team, but he is not the “Racing God” that some make him out to be. He has his pros and cons like everyone else, and at the end of the day, he is in the same position as his teammate. Lots of talent, but no team chemistry, which will ruin any gains they could make in the development race to make the car faster. And no car development = no WDC/WCC (unless you are Brawn GP)

  4. To me its just such a fail when anyone talks about “giving 100+X%” rather showing how ignorant they are, or at least how they don’t understand numbers. Kind of a big thing for a business bonzo, or indeed just about anyone in F1.

    Not to mention that if Alonso is giving 200%, then Kimi certainly is giving a lot too, and both rather highlight how bad a job Monti and his crew did to give both of them a good car.

    1. yeah, but I think its just an expression. Like using the word “fail”.

      1. @bascb @joshua-mesh I always think of Mr Burns’ hypnotised softball players monotonously reciting: “That’s impossible. No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition, that is the most anyone can give.”

    2. I think it’s a metaphor.

      1. Yep, it’s like saying ‘Above and beyond the call of duty’.

    3. Maybe Ferrari sets a goal for Alonso that is like ‘We expect Alonso to achieve X units goodness at this race” and Alonso always achieves 2X units of goodness at a race. Therefore he is always performing at 200%.

      I know its just a phrase, but come, its the only way to make this fun. Cheering for Ferrari alone is no fun.

  5. That’s nothing, I heard that Hamilton always gives 459% in the races!

    Jokes aside, it’s hard to know what to make of this. The sad fact of the matter is, Montezemolo is most likely a part of the problem these days, which I think FIAT are starting to suspect. They keep firing employee’s (who go on to do very well in their new roles…e.g. Aldo Costa) and despite all the improvements in recent years, nothing seems to be working. Still, at least they’re doing better than their old foe McLaren.

    1. Yeah Ferrari have screwed up on a management hiring level. Instead of hiring the right person for the job, they hire the Italian person for the job.

  6. Weird Autosport mentioned that the comments Fernando were made to other people in the media, not to the Ferrari team. So I’m surprised Luca suddenly jumps on the bandwagon. Perhaps there is more to the story…

  7. zoom (@zoomracing)
    22nd May 2014, 12:59

    I blame Mercedes, why they have to praise Alonso, not once but twice?. lol

    1. To de stabilise them?

      Nothing like praising a driver who anyways is contemplating leaving a rubbish team

      1. Or simply being sporting

    2. @zoomracing
      Merc has been quite manipulative this year.

  8. I don’t see very much wrong with what LdM is saying given that just a few years ago this site gave FA the nod for driver of the year when it was SV that won the WDC.

    LdM was responding about FA’s future and he basically claimed FA is the best but they need to give him the car. So maybe he is admitting he may not be able to hang on to FA, as much as he’d love to, if they can’t give him the car.

    I do think though that LdM is already conveniently forgetting the polemical situation of last year when FA expressed frustration about the car and LdM got defensive about that…which is what started rumours of FA leaving. So the ‘so called experts’ LdM refers to didn’t just pull stuff out of a hat.

  9. Race in and race out, everyone talks about how Ferrari cant make a fast car and Alonso drags it into podiums and/or wins. When Luca says it, NO, we must criticize him!

  10. I hope everything is well inside the gates and the 4 walls of Maranello !!!!!

  11. I also thought the best was the guy who won the last 4WDC???

  12. Alonso at Renault, 2006, under pressure from Schumacher : oh I feel so lonely, the team doesn’t praise me anymore
    Alonso at Mclaren, 2007, under pressure from Hamilton: oh Hamilton, Mclaren and Ron Dennis are all against me.
    Alonso at Ferrari 2014, under pressure from Kimi: oh Ferrari doesn’t praise me enough anymore.

    Seriously, talk about a fragile ego.

    1. Juan Pablo Heidfeld (@juan-pablo-heidfeld-1)
      22nd May 2014, 17:17

      Alonso has 49 points and Kimi has 19 and has yet to beat Alonso in the race…

      1. @juan-pablo-heidfeld-1

        Of course he’s yet to beat Alonso in the race. You can’t really do that when, say… your side of the garage denies you the undercut, even though you’re in front, twice, in the same race.

    2. He wasn’t talking about the team, he was talking about his friends.

      It’s good to receive good comments but it is funny when you see the opposite in your closest friends.

      That statement also says nothing about his ego.

  13. For somebody who is, as we are told by Ferrari and their fans, the “best driver on the grid” Fred sure seems to have a sever lack of WDC’s.

    1. That might have something to do with the thing with four wheels and an engine.

  14. This idea of Ferrari being some “Super championship team” anymore is just nonsense. Ferrari started out okay, but now that things aren’t looking so good, their answer to the problem is “OMG WE NEED TO BUY NEWEY!” You just got James Allison, and instead of trying to build around the pieces you already have, they just think they can buy the best thing on the market, because Ferrari. That last sentence is exactly why Ferrari will never win another WDC with Alonso or Kimi. You have to have CHEMISTRY to win championships, not just money.

  15. How can Alonzo be the best driver in the world?
    who has won the WDC last four years?
    is that not the best driver in the world?

    1. Ricciardo is proving you wrong my friend !!! Winning the WDC has something to do with the car you drive

      1. Am looking at things in the context of what Mr montezeemolo of ferari is saying…in the last four years grand scheme of things Riciardo is insignificant….WHILE Alonzo came second to Vettel ..each time.

      2. Ricciardo is proving you wrong my friend !!! Winning the WDC has something to do with the car you drive

        Following this criteria, why do we have a DRIVERS championship?

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