di Montezemolo full of praise for Alonso despite Monaco crash

Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo has paid a glowing tribute to star driver Fernando Alonso despite the Spaniard’s crash in practice for the Monaco GP.

According to an interview published today in Gazzetta dello Sport, di Montezemolo’s faith and confidence in the double world champion remains undimmed.

“Alonso has team spirit, conscientiousness, attachment to the team. And when he races he’s a fantastic fighter,” said the Italian.

Montezemolo refused to classify the Asturian’s jumped start in China as an error, saying that it was mitigated by a strong championship position.

“I consider a mistake only what happened at Monte Carlo, due to excessive confidence,” he said. “He wanted to test the limit while thinking of pole, and he crashed. The jump start in China was down to the tension. But we are in a great position for the championship – the game is on.”

The Italian was pointedly less encouraging towards his second driver Felipe Massa. He was asked what Massa had to do to secure the drive for another year, and replied: “Carry on working with the same spirit while taking care of himself and the team.”

Massa’s seat has been linked in recent days with the in-form Mark Webber, while Robert Kubica’s name has long been mentioned in the same breath as a Ferrari berth.