Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has defended Fernando Alonso over claims from its current bosses that the Spaniard was never as big a team player as Sebastian Vettel.
Montezemolo's replacement Sergio Marchionne told Italian media during his regular Christmas press conference earlier this week that Vettel was more entrenched at Ferrari than Alonso ever was.
"At the beginning of his adventure in Maranello, Vettel was already more a 'Ferrarista' than Alonso was after five years with the team," said Marchionne.
"He is a great boost for us. At the Christmas dinner with the team, he spoke in Italian – after having prepared his speech and learned it almost by heart.
"He has joined Ferrari immediately with the right mindset."
Speaking at the Autosprint Golden Helmets Award on Tuesday night, di Montezemolo suggested that such comments were unfair, because they did not take into account the challenges that Alonso faced when at Maranello.
"Alonso would have been more [a Ferrarista] if Ferrari, in 2010, had won a world championship that was easier to win than to lose," said di Montezemolo.
"And if in the last race of the season you lose the world championship twice, these things need to be understood."
Vettel a star
Despite remaining loyal to Alonso, di Montezemolo has also high praise for what Vettel has achieved at the team since his arrival.
"He is certainly a guy who has shown great ability to work for the team," he said. "I think it is crucial for the growth of the team, of its morale and its unity.
"But he needs to not do it with words, but with facts, like Michael [Schumacher]."
Additional reporting by Franco Nugnes