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Alonso calls out F1 over podcast tweet

Fernando Alonso doesn’t seem to be missing F1 very much.

The Spaniard stepped away from the championship for 2019 and had two primary reasons for doing so: he had grown tried of a succession of uncompetitive McLaren cars and this year is turning his full attention to other pursuits, such as his attempt to win the Indy 500 at the second attempt in May.

He left F1 as one of the great unfulfilled talents in the sport’s history. He never added to the two titles he won with Renault in 2005 and 2006 despite agonising near-misses with McLaren in 2007 and Ferrari in 2010 and 2012.

Those second two attempts remain the closest Ferrari has come to a championship since Kimi Raikkonen’s in 2007.

F1 has run a popular podcast since last year, called ‘Off the Grid’, and it’s most recent guest is former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who was in charge of the company during Alonso’s time at the team.

On Tuesday it posted a pull quote from that interview to promote that episode: “When he wins, he’s happy. When he doesn’t win, it’s the problem of the team…”

As you can see, Alonso had something to say about that, replying with a series of laughing emojis and the following message.

Di Montezemolo did go on to clarify the point about Alonso further, perhaps explaining why the Spaniard took exception to the wording of the F1 tweet.

His full quote was: “He was Alonso, not Alonso-Ferrari. When he wins, he’s happy. When he doesn’t win, it’s the problem of the team, he’s unhappy.

“In other words, he’s less close to the team than Michael [Schumacher] and Niki [Lauda], particularly in the difficult moments. To be close to the team in the good moments is easy.

“In terms of performance, Fernando was very good. For me, Alonso is with [Lewis] Hamilton and [Sebastian] Vettel and in the race, he’s very close to Michael. In the race, Alonso was and is a fantastic driver. He lost the championship [in 2010 and 2012] not for his mistakes.

“If he won one championship, today we are talking about something different. We are talking that Alonso, despite many years he didn’t have the best car, he was able to win the championship. Alonso is very strong.”

Alonso’s absence from F1 is indefinite. This year he will complete the 2018-19 World Endurance Championship with Toyota. That season culminates with the Le Mans 24 Hours, which he won last year during the same season. McLaren CEO Zak Brown has left the door open for Alonso to return to the F1 team in future if he wants to.

Winning that event means he only needs to win at the famous oval race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this year to complete motor racing’s unofficial Triple Crown, which includes those two races and the Monaco Grand Prix. If he wins in May he will be the second person to have claimed victory at all three — former world champion Graham Hill did so in the 1960s and 1970s.

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