MONACO, May 22 (Reuters) - Ferrari moved quickly to assure Fernando Alonso they were fully behind him on Thursday after the Formula One driver made critical comments about a lack of support.
“Fernando is the best driver in the world, who always gives 200 percent in the races,” said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo in a statement.
“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.”
Speaking to reporters at the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday, Alonso was asked about recent praise directed at him by Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche, whose team have won every race this season, during a visit to Spain.
“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,” the double world champion had commented.
“It’s motivating for me and good to see good comments, and funny when you see the opposite in your closest friends.”
The Spaniard’s remarks were interpreted more as a criticism of recent media coverage in Spain and Italy than of his team mates.
Montezemolo took the opportunity to attack the ‘idle chat’ of ‘so-called experts’ who he said were “always looking for a polemical situation that simply doesn’t exist.”
“The truth is that he and Kimi (Raikkonen), another incredible driver, need a competitive Ferrari and giving them that is our sole objective,” added the Italian, whose team are currently third overall after a difficult first five races.
“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 organisational level and in speeding up the decision making process.”
Mattiacci took over as team principal last month after Stefano Domenicali quit.
Ferrari, the most successful Formula One team and the only ones to have competed since the championship started in 1950, have not won a race for more than a year. (Editing by Ed Osmond)