28 November 2013
Montezemolo: Alonso should be proud of 2013
Ferrari president says Fernando Alonso has nothing to be ashamed of, blaming Ferrari's shortcomings for failing to land either world title this season.
He might not have been happy with the general performance of his team this past F1 season, but Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo insists that Fernando Alonso has nothing to be ashamed of.
Speaking exclusively to Italian broadcaster RAI Uno, Montezemolo admitted that 2013 had, on the whole, been a year to forget, but praised Alonso's unstinting effort to push the Scuderia as close to the top of the constructors' table as he could. In the end, Ferrari could only manage third spot, beaten by runaway winner Red Bull and, in a closer battle for second, Mercedes.
Blaming an inability to develop the F138 in the second half of the season, Montezemolo said he would be looking for explanations why his team failed to keep pace with its rivals, but also insisted that the mid-season change of tyres – on safety grounds – played a major role in detuning Ferrari's competitiveness.
“We built a car to work with certain tyres, with which we proved to be very competitive,” he noted, “Then the tyres were changed, definitely proving to be a disadvantage for us and an advantage for others.”
While lamenting lost points he felt should potentially have come from the second car of Felipe Massa – the departing Brazilian he insists will always be welcome at Ferrari – Montezemolo said he could not fault the contribution from the team's number one. Alonso clinched second in the drivers' standings at the penultimate round in Austin, on the back of two early-season wins, but spent much of the latter half of the calendar playing catch-up.
“He is right to be proud of second place - he had a great season,” Montezemolo insisted, “We must give him a quicker car and he will get the most out of it. I thank him for all his efforts and the determination he showed this year.
“For next year, I would like to present him with a car that's even better than Red Bull. Let's not forget, we know how to do that - one only has to think of the five-year period from 2000-2004 and the wins in 2007 and 2008…. “
Highlighting the hitherto unknown fact that Alonso had said that he would have been willing to see off Massa's Ferrari career by helping him onto the podium at Interlagos, Montezemolo emphasised that it wasn't just Red Bull as a team that the Spaniard was battling.
“[Adrian] Newey isn't his opponent,” he pointed out, recalling Alonso's own claim that it was Red Bull's technical wizard crating the difference between them, “There are also the drivers, starting with [Sebastian] Vettel, then [Lewis] Hamilton and [Nico] Rosberg, who has improved a lot.”
Montezemolo also picked out Kimi Raikkonen who, of course, will be partnering Alonso in a Ferrari 'dream team' next season.
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