May 22, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Luca di Montezemolo has reacted to comments by Mercedes and Fernando Alonso by calling the Spaniard “the best driver in the world” and blasting those linking him with a move away from Maranello.
For some time now, the rumor mill has gone into overdrive suggesting that Alonso could leave the team after failing to win a world title since joining in 2010. In Spain, an interesting story broke suggesting that he could move to Mercedes. All parties denied this, and, as I wrote last week, it seems pretty improbable.
Earlier this week, though, Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche openly praised Alonso, and the Spaniard was more than happy to receive such positive feedback.
“It’s always welcome when people see your job in a good way, and respect what you try to achieve,” he said in Monaco. “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.”
In reaction to this final comment, Montezemolo has today been quoted in a statement on the Ferrari website heaping praise on the two-time world champion.
“Fernando is the best driver in the world, who always gives 200% in the races,” the Ferrari president explained. “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.”
Montzemolo admitted that the car has not been good enough of late, and has began to take steps to bring Ferrari out of the doldrums after going over one year without a win.
“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.”
Alonso was famously quoted last year as saying that he wanted “someone else’s car” for his birthday, prompting a rebuttal from Montezemolo. Quite whether all is right at Ferrari is unclear, but both Alonso and the team will be focused on enjoying a successful weekend in Monaco for the time being.
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