Angry Fernando Alonso accuses press of 'trying to create tension' at Ferrari
Alonso says reception from Tifosi shows fans still behind him
By James Galloway and Mike Wise at Monza. Last Updated: 09/09/13 12:29pm
Fernando Alonso has accused the media of "trying to create tension" between himself and Ferrari in the wake of the latest furore that engulfed the Scuderia at Monza.
The state of the Spaniard's relationship with his team was once again firmly put in the spotlight at the Scuderia's home grand prix on Saturday after radio messages revealed that Alonso had sarcastically referred to his team as "geniuses" during qualifying.
Although Alonso later admitted using the phrase, he insisted it wasn't related to Ferrari's seemingly badly-executed slipstreaming tactics with Felipe Massa and it "should not raise any doubts about the impeccable job from the whole team".
With the incident nonetheless prompting fresh speculation over the current atmosphere inside Ferrari heading into race day, Alonso impressively rebounded to produce a strong drive to second place on Sunday - a performance which was warmly received by the home crowd when he appeared on the podium, while the Spaniard's perennial rival Sebastian Vettel in contrast, who won the race at a canter, was roundly booed.
Asked in the post-race press conference if the Tifosi's support had made him feel better about the situation created after qualifying, Alonso took the opportunity to go on the offensive and point the finger at the Italian press for trying to unsettle the team.
"Yesterday it was the third or fourth consecutive race some people tried to create some tension between the team and the drivers," the double World Champion said.
"Then we come to the press conference, we explain everything but obviously this doesn't sell so many newspapers, the normality.
"Every time that I go out of the airport, the hotel, home, everywhere, here in Italy it's a huge support [from the tifosi] and huge love from them and me to them as well and to the team. We keep repeating this and we saw today on the podium that maybe not many of them read the newspapers in the morning luckily."
The increasing focus on the Alonso-Ferrari relationship has added further intrigue to the Scuderia's deliberations over their second driver for 2014, with increasingly strong rumours suggesting they are considering re-signing Kimi Raikkonen.
Any return to Maranello for Raikkonen, the last driver to win the World Championship for Ferrari, would represent a dramatic change in recent policy for Ferrari given Alonso has been their clear number one driver since arriving in 2010.
Ferrari are expected to make a decision over the identity of Alonso's 2014 team-mate this coming week and the Spaniard has made clear he would be more than happy for Massa to stay on.
Asked by Sky Sports F1 if he felt the other contenders for the seat would prove as helpful to him as the Brazilian has, Alonso replied: "I think so because this is Ferrari. There is not any super power in terms of driver decision or anything like that, it's the same for Felipe and it's the same for myself if it arrives the moment that I need to help another team-mate to win the championship.
"We will see what happens. It's a team decision. Obviously I have huge respect for Felipe so I don't want to talk about any [other] names. If the team decide to keep Felipe I will be only happy."