Frustrated Alonso defends Ferrari brand and seeks unity

Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:05pm EDT
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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A frustrated Fernando Alonso reiterated his commitment to Ferrari on Thursday and took a verbal swipe at brand-damaging rumors in Italy suggesting he might swap seats with Sebastian Vettel to join Red Bull next year.

The twice Formula One champion stressed his respect and loyalty to Ferrari in a heartfelt outburst aimed at unifying the team as it steers passage through a period of management upheaval and disappointing results.

Talking to reporters ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, a week after long-serving Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo confirmed he was stepping down next month, Alonso said he hoped Sergio Marchionne, who succeeds him, could revive the team and end a title drought dating back to 2008.

"I've been commenting about my future for now 13 months I think, so I have nothing new to say," said the Spaniard.

"Sometimes, Italy creates these strange rumors, which are not helping Ferrari, which we are all here to do. It's a much bigger brand than any individual person, or even Formula One in general.

"I respect a lot Ferrari and try to create a good group, a good atmosphere in the team - from going out to dinner, to playing basketball, to playing poker, whatever - to have a very united team, because it's what we need and what the people expect from us driving for Ferrari and working for Ferrari.

"We know these things come from Italy, (but) it's not really clear what is the purpose."

VETTEL STAYING   Continued...

Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain gestures to fans as he departs from a promotional event on a bum boat on the Singapore River before Singapore F1 Grand Prix in Singapore September 18, 2014.  REUTERS/Tim Chong