"Even if I have lots of problems, finding drivers for the future is not one of them." - Luca di Montezemolo
Aug.5 (GMM) Luca di Montezemolo has fired yet another warning at Fernando Alonso, insisting Ferrari has never had trouble filling its race seats.
"Even if I have lots of problems," the Maranello team's president told Corriere della Sera, "finding drivers for the future is not one of them."
Ferrari had already revealed that Montezemolo "tweaked" the Spaniard's ear after Hungary, when the number 1 driver dared to criticise the Italian team's lack of recent competitiveness.
During the same race weekend, Alonso's manager held talks with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
Montezemolo, however, has Alonso and sponsor Santander under firm contract for the next few years, and thinks the Spaniard is going nowhere.
"Fernando Alonso is a great, I have said it before," said the Italian.
"He has proved it and he will prove it again."
At the same time, Montezemolo warned that the most important thing is Ferrari, not its drivers.
And he took issue with Alonso's claim that he wants "someone else's car" as a birthday president.
"Please," said Montezemolo, "let's not forget that last year for a few laps at the very last race, Alonso was virtually world champion, and he was driving a Ferrari, not another car.
"This team knows how to be competitive.
"Let me make it clear that it's Ferrari I'm interested in," Montezemolo continued to tell the Italian newspaper.
The next driver to 'go' could be Brazilian Felipe Massa, who after eight years may finally have run out of time at Maranello.
"Felipe is a quick driver and a great guy," said Montezemolo.
"But in the past days, we were very clear with him: both he and us need results and points.
"At some point, we will look one another in the eye and decide what to do."
At the same time, Montezemolo insisted team boss Stefano Domenicali's place at Ferrari should not be similarly in doubt.
"When one talks about Domenicali, one truth is king," he said. "Under his management we have one constructors' title and come very close to three drivers' titles.
"Two of those we could easily have won and then people's opinion of Domenicali would be very different."
Finally, Montezemolo took an obvious swipe at F1's dominant team, Red Bull.
"We do not make drinks, and I say that with all the possible respect for those who do.
"We are not a sponsor," the 65-year-old added, "we design and manufacture machines of the highest level."