Fernando Alonso has reacted to comments from Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko suggesting the Spaniard saw his title bid derailed last year as he was 'too busy with politics'.
Alonso led the title race for much of the year but lost out to Vettel in the title race when the Red Bull man was able to storm to the front thanks to a strong end of the championship campaign.
It gave the German his third successive crown, with Marko saying Alonso had been distracted from the job at hand while Vettel had been focused fully on his title campaign.
"Sebastian's driving was virtually flawless,” Marko told Red Bull's own Red Bulletin
magazine. “But he is a phenomenon: it is always like that. After the summer break, his performance curve shoots up. That's what happened in previous years, too. I don't know how he does it, but to keep doing it cannot be a coincidence.
"That brings us back to his method of preparation, the way he shuts himself off from the rest of the world, so that he can still call on reserves that other drivers might not have: Fernando Alonso, for example, who is busy with politics and funny comments.
"Vettel ignores it all, he doesn't read the newspapers, or the internet. And that's the point, you see, we concentrate on our job: to make the fastest car and the best team possible.
"Alonso is constantly involved in politics. I believe we saw the stress he was under towards the end of the season. Saying things like, 'I'm competing against Hamilton, not Vettel,' and 'I'm up against Newey,' these psychological skirmishes. We said, "Just ignore him.'"
Alonso however has made light of the comments, insisting he was 'flattered' to have been the focus of Marko's attention.
"I enjoy reading Red Bull,” he wrote on his Twitter
account. “Still think we will be the strongest rival for next year! And this even before we start testing! Flattered!!"