Montezemolo reacts to Mercedes praise by calling Alonso “best driver in the world”

2 Comments

Luca di Montezemolo has reacted to comments by Mercedes and Fernando Alonso by calling the Spaniard “the best driver in the world” and blasting those linking him with a move away from Maranello.

For some time now, the rumor mill has gone into overdrive suggesting that Alonso could leave the team after failing to win a world title since joining in 2010. In Spain, an interesting story broke suggesting that he could move to Mercedes. All parties denied this, and, as I wrote last week, it seems pretty improbable.

Earlier this week, though, Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche openly praised Alonso, and the Spaniard was more than happy to receive such positive feedback.

“It’s always welcome when people see your job in a good way, and respect what you try to achieve,” he said in Monaco. “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.”

In reaction to this final comment, Montezemolo has today been quoted in a statement on the Ferrari website heaping praise on the two-time world champion.

“Fernando is the best driver in the world, who always gives 200% in the races,” the Ferrari president explained. “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.

“I think it’s incredible that there are still some so-called experts who don’t understand that and are always looking for a polemical situation that simply doesn’t exist.”

Montzemolo admitted that the car has not been good enough of late, and has began to take steps to bring Ferrari out of the doldrums after going over one year without a win.

“The truth is that he and Kimi [Raikkonen], another incredible driver, need a competitive Ferrari and giving them that is our sole objective.

“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 organizational level and in speeding up the decision-making process.

“That’s what I want, as do our drivers and our fans, while all the rest is just idle chat.”

Alonso was famously quoted last year as saying that he wanted “someone else’s car” for his birthday, prompting a rebuttal from Montezemolo. Quite whether all is right at Ferrari is unclear, but both Alonso and the team will be focused on enjoying a successful weekend in Monaco for the time being.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”