Fighter Alonso still in the fight

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has jumped to the defence of Fernando Alonso in the wake of recent criticism of Spaniard.

Alonso made a dream start to his Ferrari career with victory in the season-opening grand prix in Bahrain, since when mistakes have been made.

Notably, Alonso was involved in a first-corner collision with old rival Michael Schumacher in the subsequent race in Australia.

In China, the 28-year-old jumped the start and was given a drive-through penalty before crashing in practice in Monaco 11 days ago.

Asked by Gazzetta dello Sport whether he had any regrets over signing Alonso, Di Montezemolo replied: “Not one bit.”

He added: “It was good with Michael (Schumacher), but it’s over. No regrets. I’m very happy with Alonso, both on and off the track.”

Extolling the Spaniard’s virtues, Di Montezemolo said: “He has team spirit, he’s conscientious, has attachment to the team, and when he races he’s a fantastic fighter.”

That was at least proven in Monaco during the race in which Alonso produced a number of stunning overtaking manoeuvres coming out of the tunnel and into the chicane, eventually finishing sixth after starting from the pit lane.

“I consider his only mistake was in Monaco where he was being over confident,” said Di Montezemolo.

“He wanted to test the limits, thinking about the pole and he made a mistake. The jump start in China was down to tension.

“But we are in good shape for the world championship. It’s still open.”

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