x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

‘I’ve been a little bit disappointed in Fernando’ says Ecclestone as he calls out Alonso

Bernie Ecclestone believes Fernando Alonso is looking to leave Ferrari for another team. Diego Azubel / EPA
Bernie Ecclestone believes Fernando Alonso is looking to leave Ferrari for another team. Diego Azubel / EPA

Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One chief, expressed dismay with Fernando Alonso’s performance at Ferrari and suggested the Spaniard was looking for a move earlier in the year.

“I’ve been a little bit disappointed in Fernando because I’m a big supporter of him and of Ferrari,” Ecclestone, 83, wrote in a foreword to the official Formula One season review.

“I thought he gave up a little bit, which is proof that he was looking for another team.

“I don’t know whether the team is not competitive because of him or because the people who are running the team aren’t getting the job done.”

Alonso finished as overall runner-up to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who clinched his fourth title in four years to become F1’s youngest quadruple champion.

McLaren made no secret earlier in the season that they would jump at a chance to sign Alonso, who had one turbulent year with them in 2007.

Ferrari, who finished third overall in the constructors’ standings, have described their season as one to forget, while praising Alonso for his results in a car that was not even second-best.

The Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo did, however, reprimand Alonso on the Spaniard’s birthday in July for unflattering comments he made about his car.

Ecclestone also singled out Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion who will be Alonso’s teammate at Ferrari next season.

“This year I suppose I have to call Kimi the star driver, with the equipment he has,” Ecclestone said of the Finn, who left Lotus after complaining he had not received his wages. “I think he was motivated on hope that he was going to get paid.”

Pirelli, who caused many of the season’s headlines with exploding tyres at Silverstone and complaints about how quickly their rubber wore out, also received a glowing report from Ecclestone.

“Pirelli did a wonderful job for us,” he said. “I told them we don’t want tyres that last the race, we want tyres that nobody knows how they are going to last. We’ve got that, too, with the new engines next year.”

F1 is switching from the V8 engines to a new V6 turbocharged unit with energy recovery systems.

Ecclestone has long been a critic of the new units, fearing that the different noise will alienate the paying public, and he returned to the fray in the review.

“I still think what we have now is good, I don’t think there was any need to change it,” he said.