Domenicali: When Alonso crossed the line I reprimanded him in private
23 October, 2013
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has revealed that he intervened to bring Fernando Alonso to order and defend the team after the Spaniard’s criticism of the Scuderia in July.
Interviewed by two Italian fans in a meeting arranged by the Gazzetta Dello Sport newspaper at the Ferrari factory, he shed light on a period which many believe marks the beginning of the end of Alonso’s tenure at Maranello.
The Spaniard, a double champion with Renault, has been critical of Ferrari’s performance and was publicly reprimanded by Ferrari chairman Luca Di Montezemolo in July.
“When I need to reprimand Alonso, as would also be the case with my engineers, I do it in private and in a harsh manner if need be,” said Domenicali when asked why Alonso was allowed to be so critical.
“But externally, I will always defend the team. When he crossed the line, president Montezemolo intervened and in private, so did I,” he added.
The principal defended the use of team orders in favour of Alonso and also the team’s decision to retain Brazilian Felipe Massa this season despite his dip in performance.
Massa is leaving at the end of the year to make way for the team’s returning 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen.
“If Felipe was unable to deliver the performance we hoped for, it was mainly down to a hyper-sensitivity to a car that was too nervous at the rear, but in 2008 he almost took the title and I consider him as a World Champion,” said Domenicali.
“We took Raikkonen because we wanted more. When we replaced him with Alonso, he was not happy and so he returns with a great desire to do well.”
The Italian did not rule out Ferrari one day having an Italian driver in its line-up, despite a notable aversion to that over the years. Italy currently has no Formula 1 drivers despite the national passion for the sport’s most glamour team.
“We feel this responsibility, so we created the Academy for youngsters. With Antonio Fuoco and Raffaele Marciello, in whom we are investing, this year we have won two championships,” said Domenicali.
“Will they drive a Ferrari one day? I hope so. But we need to find the right categories to get there.” (Reuters)
Subbed by AJN.