Fernando Alonso has blamed the British media for his image as a spoilt number 1 driver.
O Estado de S.Paulo correspondent Livio Oricchio asked the Spaniard if it is true that all is well inside his team so long as he does not share equal status with his teammate.
“That is a belief that was created in 2007,” said the Ferrari driver, referring to his ill-fated single season alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.
“The reason was the contamination of the media, particularly the British.
“I have been in formula one for 11 years. For ten, I was the consummate professional,” he explained. “Engineers, mechanics and my teammates could not say a word against my professionalism.
“But in 2007, McLaren, the English press, week after week, contaminated our relationship, which was not bad. That is what led to this general impression about me.
“But nothing changes for me, my values stay the same. When I went onto the market, the offers I received were as great before and after 2007,” added Alonso.
Another perception is that Alonso, 30, is enjoying a position of privilege at Ferrari due to his links with main sponsor Santander, a Spanish bank.
“Good, no?” he laughed. “Everyone can talk and think what they like, it’s part of the sport — the media too, especially with the internet.”
F1’s next stop is Singapore, where Alonso won not only last year but also in 2008, when his Renault teammate Nelson Piquet deliberately crashed to bring out the safety car.
The Spaniard insists he still counts the victory among his best.
“There is something about the track that suits my driving style,” said Alonso. “I know it’s strange to you, but the victory of 2008 is just as special as the one of last year.”