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


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.

Get your motor running: American Flat Track’s new season premieres Sunday on NBCSN

Photos courtesy American Flat Track
Leave a comment

If you like racing two-wheel style, make sure you catch the debut of a new multi-year TV broadcast deal featuring the American Flat Track motorcycle racing series on NBCSN.

The 18-round series debuts this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the season-opening race that was held at Daytona International Speedway on March 15.

Going forward, all 18 rounds of the series will be televised on NBCSN in highly-coveted weekend afternoon programming slots without two weeks of each event.

Last season, AFT drew nearly two million viewers on NBCSN with regular primetime coverage on Thursday nights.

This season, the one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts will be part of NBCSN’s regular weekend programing, following or preceding coverage of NASCAR, INDYCAR and Pro Motocross.

AFT is now in its 65th season, with two distinct classes: powerful, twin-cylinder rides in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines division, and the competition in the 450cc AFT Singles division.

“We are very excited to kick-off our second season of AFT on NBCSN,” NBC Sports Group Senior Director of Programming Jeff Macaluso. “The 2017 season provided us with some incredible racing and showed us how passionate the riders and fans are of this historic sport.

“The move to weekends this year, around other marquis motorsports properties, is sure to raise the level even higher.”

Here’s the 2018 AFT schedule on NBCSN:

Round Track, Location Track Type Premiere Time (ET) Time (PT)
1 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL TT Sun, 3/25 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
2 Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA Short Track Sat, 4/14 5:30 PM 2:30 PM
3 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX Half-Mile Sun, 5/06 4:00 PM 1:00 PM
4 Calistoga Speedway, Calistoga, CA Half-Mile Sun, 5/20 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
5 Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ Mile Sat, 5/26 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
6 Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA Mile Sun, 6/03 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
7 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 6/09 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
8 Red Mile, Lexington, KY Mile Sat, 6/16 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
9 Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK Mile Sat, 6/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
10 Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH Half-Mile Sat, 7/07 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
11 Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY Short Track Sun, 7/15 6:00 PM 3:00 PM
12 Buffalo Chip Campgrounds, Sturgis, SD TT Sat, 8/11 12:30 PM 9:30 AM
13 Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD Half-Mile Sat, 8/18 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
14 Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL TT Sat, 9/01 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
15 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 9/22 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
16 Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA Half-Mile Sun, 9/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
17 Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN Mile Sun, 10/14 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
18 Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ Mile Sun, 10/21 2:00 PM 11:00 AM


Follow @JerryBonkowski