ABU DHABI – Fernando Alonso has responded to comments made by Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci about his motivation, saying that the Italian has not been in the F1 operation long enough to make such a judgement.
It was confirmed on Thursday that Alonso will be leaving Ferrari after this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi after five years with the team, making way for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Alonso’s departure marks the end of an era for Ferrari as a new regime is set up under Mattiacci’s leadership. In the team principals’ press conference on Thursday, he implied that Alonso’s motivation and commitment to the marque’s F1 programme may have waned.
“We need to thank Fernando for all he has done for us, what we have done together over the last five years,” Mattiacci said. “But at the same time it is clear to everybody that we want both to open new cycles but it was important to do it with the utmost motivation and commitment.”
Speaking after qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix yesterday, Alonso said that as Mattiacci only became involved with the F1 operation in April, he was not in a position to pass comment on his drive and motivation.
“I read the comments and thought they weren’t very good,” Alonso said. “If he tried to mean that I was no longer motivated then I think he arrived too late to Ferrari. He has only been here a few months and probably didn’t see all of the five years that I spent here.
“I’ve fought for every single race and for championships. Probably I was too old when he tried to renew me at the Monza race.
“He kept pushing and pushing and we had a lot of talks. Even in the last moment, again, we had a lot of phone calls and a lot of emails that I still have on my computer.
“Probably at that time maybe I was not so old, but when I took my decision I guess he has to find another driver.”
Alonso makes his final appearance as a Ferrari driver later today in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which you can watch live on NBCSN from 7a ET.