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Fernando Alonso plays down rift within Ferrari

August 22, 2013

SPA, Belgium (AP) — Fernando Alonso has played down the rift within Ferrari by saying that a recent public rebuke from president Luca Di Montezemolo was all down to a misunderstanding.

The day after last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix, where he finished a disappointing fifth, the Spaniard was asked what he would like as a 32nd birthday present and responded with an acerbic “somebody else’s car” after drifting down from second to third place in the overall standings behind leader Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

Rather than keep it as an internal affair, Ferrari rebuked Alonso on its website with Di Montezemolo stating he had “tweaked the ear” of Alonso.

Following Formula One’s summer break, Alonso spoke about the matter for the first time and said it was all a case of lost in translation.

“It was wrong information being passed to the president. We looked back on all the press conferences, and these days with recorders it’s easy to check exactly what you say,” Alonso said. “We learned doing four press conferences over the weekend in three different languages — two of them not in my mother language — means there can be mistakes, misunderstandings.”

Alonso called Di Montezemolo “the father of this family, of Ferrari,” and “a great motivator, a man that tells us exactly what he expects and wants from us.”

Ferrari has struggled for consistency and Alonso is without a win in the past five races and has not qualified higher than third this season.

Alonso thinks the matter was exaggerated due to Ferrari’s difficult season. Teammate Felipe Massa is seventh overall and has managed only one podium spot so far. In the constructors’ championship, Ferrari is third, a massive 83 points behind leader Red Bull.

“The repercussion of being in Ferrari or the repercussion of what Ferrari does, is bigger than any other,” he said. “That was clear when you look back at the young driver test (held at Silverstone in July).”

Alonso was one of several leading drivers who did not attend, but his absence was highlighted more than any other’s.

“I said I would not be going because there was nothing to test, no tires to test, no set-up possibilities,” Alonso said. ”(The response was) Alonso creates big polemics against Ferrari, against Pirelli, against the world. But Kimi didn’t go and it was funny. The McLaren drivers did not go and it was funny.”

He is keen to put the matter behind him and concentrating on getting his first GP win since delighting his home fans with victory at the Spanish GP in May.

“What we need to do is to concentrate on racing because we need to be together, to be united, and we need to win this championship. This is the best team in the world,” he said. “We need all sides of the team pulling in the right direction and paying maximum attention out of the car to ensure we don’t make any mistakes.”