Alonso’s Ferrari criticism earns strong response from president

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo reacted firmly to Fernando Alonso’s criticism of the team following the Hungarian Grand Prix.

An article published on the team’s website described how Montezemolo admonished the team’s leading point-scorer after calling him on Alonso’s birthday yesterday.

“All the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own,” Montezemolo told Alonso.

“This is the moment to stay calm, avoid polemics and show humility and determination in making one’s own contribution, standing alongside the team and its people both at the track and outside it.”

Alonso is understood to have singled out Ferrari’s design team for criticism after failing to finish on the podium in the last two races. News of the public rebuke to Alonso came on the same day Ferrari confirmed it had hired James Allison from Lotus, an aerodynamicist who Alonso worked with when he won his two world championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006.

Ferrari also believe the changes made to the tires in the wake of the failures seen at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone early this month have worked against them.

After 10 of this year’s 19 race Alonso is third in the drivers’ championship, 39 points behind Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari are also third in the team’s championship, 83 points adrift of Red Bull.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”