Ecclestone: Fernando Alonso “gave up a little bit” in 2013

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Most Formula One observers will tell you that Fernando Alonso did the best he could in 2013 with a car that was nowhere capable of helping him bring the fight to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull.

Despite the Ferrari F138’s troubles, Alonso scored victories in China and his home country of Spain en route to a second-place performance in the driver’s championship behind Vettel. The two-time World Champion also became the all-time points leader in F1 history.

But apparently, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone wasn’t impressed. According to Reuters, the 83-year-old British billionaire has written in a foreword to the official F1 season review that he was disappointed in Alonso’s work this past year.

“I’ve been a little bit disappointed in Fernando because I’m a big supporter of him and of Ferrari,” Ecclestone wrote. “I thought he gave up a little bit which is proof that he was looking for another team.

“I don’t know whether the team is not competitive because of him or because the people who are running the team aren’t getting the job done.”

By its own admission, Ferrari had a tough year that continued a championship drought that has gone on since Kimi Raikkonen’s world title effort in 2007.

The pace of the F138 fell off markedly during the second half of the season, and the Prancing Horse eventually dropped to third in the constructors’ championship behind Red Bull and Mercedes. But the Spaniard is not the one to blame for that.

Enduring through issues like wind tunnel correlation and the mid-year change in tires, Alonso was still able to stay quite competitive; in fact, following the debut of the new tires in Germany, he was still able to collect four podium finishes in the remaining races.

Mr. Ecclestone appears to have a funny definition of what “giving up” means. Because Alonso, regarded by some as the best pound-for-pound driver in the F1 paddock, certainly didn’t do that in 2013.

In any case, it’s potential “bulletin board” material for him and the team from Maranello as they work on reclaiming the throne next year.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”