If I were a betting man, and thankfully both in my and Trophy Wife’s eyes I am not, I would venture a rare wager that Fernando Alonso is biting his tongue right now.
The Ferrari driver rather dented his hero image in the admiration of the team’s massive fan base with an unworthy remark that slighted the team’s sustained efforts to transport him to a third world title.
“I wish I had a car as good as the others,” the Spaniard dully remarked when asked what he would like for his 32nd birthday present, as if his team were not doing their utmost.
Whoops! Clever? No. Witty? No. Silly? Most definitely, yes.
But the Prancing Horse outfit, grand prix legends, have a blessing in the guise of their aristocratic and estimable figurehead, Luca di Montezemolo, who is never afraid to make his feelings known if he senses his beloved Ferrari is under attack.
I have enjoyed the privilege of his company several times across my Formula One career and he has always struck me as a fine example of integrity and unashamed pride in his commitment to Ferrari.
That’s why when last week he cut short on Alonso’s ill-advised and disloyal aside on the team that has made him the richest racer in Formula One I, in league I am sure with all those followers of the scarlet car, rejoiced.
Chairman di Montezemolo, don’t forget, put his signature on the contract that ensured Alonso of £100m over five years. That action alone gives him right to pick up on the driver’s slip of the tongue.
His stinging reminder, crystal clear, echoing the voice of all those fans, is: however much of a star you may believe you are, nobody is bigger than Ferrari.
He carried on: “Something has happened and instead of moving forwards we have gone backwards. But I remind everybody, including drivers, that Ferrari comes before everything. The priority is the team.
“It is like a father pointing out the need to respect the family rules. I wish to underline the concept of family values.
“Fernando is a quick driver and a great guy… but in these past few days we have been clear with him. Both he and we need results and points. Then we can look one another in the eye and decide what to do.
“He must remember we win and we lose together.”
Montezemolo also in an undisguised threat reminded his grand prix team boss Stefan Domenicali: “You have to get the most out of every individual in your organisation.
“Never be satisfied and if necessary take drastic and painful decisions.”
If that isn’t a dig in the ribs, too, for Alonso as speculation increases that he could join Red Bull, I don’t know what is.