ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso has hit back at Ferrari principal Marco Mattiacci for saying that Sebastian Vettel would bring “the utmost motivation and commitment” to the Formula One team when he replaces the Spaniard next season.
“I heard the comments and I don’t think they were very good,” Alonso told reporters ahead of his last race for the Italian team at Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“If he tried to mean that I was not motivated, he arrived too late at Ferrari.
“He has a few months here and didn’t see probably all the five years that I’ve spent here and how I’ve fought every single race in the championships,” added the double world champion.
Ferrari have not won a race since Alonso’s last victory at his home grand prix in May last year and are facing their first blank season since 1993. They are currently fourth in the standings.
Alonso was quick also to point out that only one driver, himself, has won a race for the sport’s oldest and most successful team since 2009.
He also made clear that he had decided to leave rather than Ferrari opting to replace him with Red Bull’s four-times champion Vettel.
“Probably I was too old when he (Mattiacci) tried to renew me until the Monza race, and he kept pushing and pushing and had a lot of talks,” said the Spaniard, who is set to return to McLaren.
“Even in the last moment again we had a lot of phone calls and e-mails that I still have in my computer. Probably at that time I was not so old, but again when I took my decision I guess he had to find another driver.”
Mattiacc1 took over as principal in April after Stefano Domenicali stood down.
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly