Fernando Alonso seemed to be in a jaunty mood this week. He even went as far as to publicly praise his teammate Felipe Massa and team boss Stefano Domenicali…and he threw in a Flavio Briatore compliment to boot!
Ferrari have struggled with their F2012 chassis this year and testing in Mugello this week most likely helped the team asses development parts to improve the car’s performance. Lotus F1 boss Eric Boullier couldn’t help himself from proclaiming the testing as” money spent needlessly” but explained that struggling teams like Ferrari are most likely in favor of test such as this.
Also struggling is Ferrari driver Felipe Massa who is a shadow of the performance-based results of his world champion teammate Alonso. While Alonso is making the best of a difficult car, Massa seems to have been mired in mediocrity for the past two seasons but Alonso said:
“He’s one of the best drivers in the world, and he has shown it during his whole career.
“It’s easy to praise when you have a good car but also to criticise when you have a bad one. I lived similar situations during my last stint at Renault, when some of my team-mates were unfairly criticized and now, they are being praised once again.”
The Renault comment is leveled at Lotus F1 driver Romain Grosjean who struggled as Alonso’s teammate at Renault F1 under the leadership of Italian Flavio Briatore. While the team struggled, Grosjean was criticized for his performance as well but the team boss, Briatore, is often considered a galvanizing personality that does produce results. Would Ferrari do well to hire him instead of current boss Stefano Domenicali? Alonso said:
“Stefano’s work is fantastic in every sense and I can’t think of anyone better than him.
“As I explained before, it only takes one race to pass from criticism to praise. I’m very good friends with Flavio and we talk frequently. He’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met.”
For Alonso’s part, he has a victory in 2012 at Malaysia in a car that had no business winning and while the random nature of this years championship has yet to play out (with four different winners in as many Grands Prix), general consensus at Ferrari is that they are a full second slower than the competition which might as well be an hour in Formula One timing parlance.
Boullier may be right, Ferrari do need the in-season test but one can’t help but wonder if the French team could have used an in-season test…or three…in the 2011 season such was the pace of their recalcitrant car.