Tag Archives: principal

Red Bull told Mark Webber to cut power "more than Sebastian Vettel"

Red Bull told Webber to cut power 'more than Vettel' in Malaysia

By
Malcolm Folley

PUBLISHED:

19:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

Red Bull have admitted that world
champion Sebastian Vettel was not told to cut his engine power to the
same level as Mark Webber at the end of last weekend's Malaysian Grand
Prix.

But the team insist they had not
favoured Vettel above his Australian team-mate or that they were happy
to see the German ignore orders and snatch victory from Webber.

In the aftermath of the furore over
Vettel's behaviour, it was claimed Webber, with the German running
behind him, had been told to turn down his engine setting to ensure he
did not experience a mechanical mishap.

Falling out: Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Malaysia

Falling out: Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Malaysia

It was presumed Vettel had received the same instruction on the orders of team principal Christian Horner.

But F1 rights holder Bernie Ecclestone told The Mail on Sunday last week: 'After speaking with Christian, it seems Mark was told to turn down the wick on his engine, but the team didn't tell Sebastian to do the same thing.'

And a Red Bull spokesperson admitted: 'Seb's engine was turned down, but not as much as Mark's due to differing strategies and tyre wear.'

Although Horner told Vettel to stay behind Webber, the German had more horsepower to overtake.

Different instructions: Bernie Ecclestone (inset) says Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were given different orders

Different instructions: Bernie Ecclestone (inset) says Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were given different orders

Webber maintained a low profile last week, with no desire to have any contact with Vettel before they meet for the next race in China in 10 days' time, while the German 25-year-old triple world champion was on a charm offensive at Red Bull's HQ in Milton Keynes in midweek to apologise to the workforce for creating worldwide uproar.

Webber's sense of betrayal, after helping to clinch the past three constructors' titles, means he is unlikely to stay with Red Bull when his contract ends this year.

His presence alongside Vettel in the first official media conference in Shanghai a week on Thursday will ensure Red Bull's internecine warfare is the only story in town.

Golden boy: Sebastian Vettel talks with Red Bull principal Christian Horner (right)

Golden boy: Sebastian Vettel talks with Red Bull principal Christian Horner (right)

'It can only be a distraction and energy-sapping,' said a team insider.

Yet, as Ecclestone revealed in this paper last week, Webber would have lost his seat to Lewis Hamilton this season had Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz not offered the Australian first refusal on keeping his drive out of loyalty when the 36-year-old had been talking with Ferrari.

'I wouldn't say that Mark was an out and out, 100 per cent Red Bull guy when he was looking to leave the team,' said Ecclestone. 'If he'd have got the drive with Ferrari, he'd have gone. He was lucky to stay, in my opinion.'

Indeed, Webber is not blameless. In the past, he has shown an unwillingness to toe the line, most recently in Brazil as Vettel clinched his third title.

'There's never been any trust between Webber and Vettel, they're not bosom buddies,' added Ecclestone.

Theo Walcott: I won"t walk out on Arsenal in January

I won't walk out in January, says Arsenal contract rebel Walcott

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UPDATED:

22:28 GMT, 22 December 2012

Theo Walcott is determined to see out
the season with Arsenal, whatever transpires from his last-ditch
contract talks that will take place next month.

Walcott, who is Arsenal's top scorer
this season with 11 goals, is out of contract in the summer and Arsenal
are refusing to increase their 75,000-a-week offer.

No running away: Theo Walcott wants to see out season at Arsenal

No running away: Theo Walcott wants to see out season at Arsenal

But Walcott will not sign a pre-contract with a foreign club in January, as he is entitled to with just six months left on his contract, and does not want to move to another Premier League club in the January transfer window.

If agreement cannot be reached in the next month, Walcott will simply take his pick of suitors from Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea in the summer.

But the 23-year-old Arsenal striker still wants to stay at Arsenal if agreement can be reached. His principal concerns throughout have been whether Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would start him regularly and whether there would be a chance to develop as a centre-forward.

Under pressure: Theo Walcott battles with James McCarthy

Significantly, Wenger has started with Walcott when not injured in the past eight weeks and played him up front as a central striker against Reading and Wigan, which gives some hope that there can still be a reconciliation between the club and the player.

Arsenal will also step up their bid for another striker to support Olivier Giroud. David Villa, unsettled at Barcelona, is under serious consideration but Arsene Wenger has yet to be convinced of the value of bidding for and offering a three-year deal to a 31-year-old player.

But Barcelona are understood to be ready to accept 12 million for Villa in January or 8m in the summer, which makes him a possibility.

Marouane Fellaini's 25m buy-out clause at Everton is likely to deter Arsenal for now, although they believe the Belgium-born Moroccan could perform a central striking role for them as well as operate as a midfielder.

Romain Grosjean retains Lotus seat despite string of crashes

'First-lap nutcase' Grosjean retains his seat at Lotus despite string of crashes

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UPDATED:

20:36 GMT, 17 December 2012

Lotus have retained Romain Grosjean for the coming Formula One campaign despite his catalogue of crashes this season.

Grosjean impressed with his speed upon to returning to Formula One but several high profile accidents, the most serious being when he caused a first lap pile-up in Belgium which resulted in a one-race ban, had raised speculation as to whether Lotus would keep him on.

However, fresh from winning the Race of Champions in Bangkok – the year-ending competition also featured Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher – Grosjean was welcomed home by the news he would once again be partnering Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus.

Double delight: Romain Grosjean (left) is celebrating victory in the Race of Champions and keeping his drive at Lotus

Double delight: Romain Grosjean (left) is celebrating Race of Champions glory and keeping his Lotus seat

Pile up: Grosjean was catapulted into the air after causing this crash in Spa

Pile up: Grosjean was catapulted into the air after causing this notorious crash at the first corner in Spa

‘It's fantastic for me to be continuing with Lotus F1 Team for 2013,’ said the 26-year-old. ‘It's superb to have the support of everyone at Enstone. I'm really looking forward to rewarding their faith when we take to the track in Australia.

‘I learnt a lot in my first full season in Formula 1 and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performance on track next year.’

Despite being dubbed a ‘first-lap nutcase’ by Mark Webber for his numerous early collisions caused by ambitious moves off the start line, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is convinced Grosjean can cut out the mistakes.

He's good... when he keeps the car on the road! Grosjean won the Race of Champions in Thailand on Sunday

He's good… when he keeps the car on the road! Grosjean won the Race of Champions in Thailand on Sunday

‘Romain is a great talent and we are pleased that he is continuing with us for a second season,’ said Boullier.

‘With the continuity of two exceptional drivers like Romain and Kimi we are well placed to build on our strong 2012 with even better results in the year ahead.

‘Both drivers worked very well together in their first year as team-mates, and I think there is the potential of even better things from the season ahead. We were regular visitors to podiums in 2012 and we certainly intend to continue with this trend in 2013.’

Valtteri Bottas replaces Bruno Senna at Williams for 2013 season

Bottas given his chance as highly-rated Finn replaces Senna at Williams for 2013

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UPDATED:

11:54 GMT, 28 November 2012

Valtteri Bottas has been promoted to race driver for the 2013 Formula One season as he will line up alongside Pastor Maldonado at Williams.

Venezuelan Maldonado has retained his seat with the Grove-based marque for a third year, while Bottas, who has been the team's reserve driver for the past two seasons, replaces Bruno Senna.

It had long been suggested Bottas would get his chance in 2013 after impressing in a number of Friday practice sessions this year.

All smiles: Bottas has been confirmed at Williams for 2013

All smiles: Bottas has been confirmed at Williams for 2013

Bottas was GP3 champion in 2010 ahead of his appointment at Williams, where he has played a patient role prior to now being given his long-awaited chance.

Unsurprisingly, Bottas concedes it has been his 'lifelong dream to compete in Formula One.'

He added: 'To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special.

'I've really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat.

Final act: Senna's last race with Williams ended in disappointment after crashing out at his home grand prix in Brazil

Final act: Senna's last race with Williams ended in disappointment after crashing out at his home grand prix in Brazil

'I'm looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams.'

Founder and team principal Sir Frank Williams has high expectations of Bottas and, after two years of learning and maturing in the wings, has no doubts he can deliver.

Williams said: 'In Pastor and Valtteri we have two of the most exciting talents in motor racing and I am especially excited about what 2013 can bring for Williams.

'Pastor has always demonstrated remarkable pace and this year has seen him mature as a racing driver.

Retained: Maldonado will keep his seat for 2013

Retained: Maldonado will keep his seat for 2013

'Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future.'

Maldonado endured a turbulent year, from the high of winning the team's first race for seven-and-a-half years in Barcelona in May to the low of several on-track incidents that resulted in a number of trips to the stewards and penalties.

But given his sponsorship from state-owned Venezuelan oil and gas company PDVSA, worth a reputed 27million per year to the team, it is no surprise he has kept his seat ahead of Senna.

Confident of improving further next year, Maldonado said: 'I'm really enjoying my time with Williams and I was obviously very happy when I was told I would be continuing with the team in 2013.

'This season was a memorable year for me with the win in Barcelona and we made a big step forward in terms of performance.

'I have a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully next year will see us move even further up the grid and taste more success.'

It leaves Senna as the latest driver of renown to now be searching for a seat, with the one at Force India – alongside Paul di Resta – the most highly prized.

In axing Senna, Williams added: 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bruno for his hard work over the past year and wish him the best of luck going forward.'

McLaren worse without Lewis Hamilton – Christian Horner

Red Bull team principal Horner says McLaren will be worse without Hamilton

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UPDATED:

08:37 GMT, 28 November 2012

McLaren will be a poorer team next season without Lewis Hamilton, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Hamilton, who joins Mercedes on a three-year deal in 2013, saw his lengthy association with the British team end in failure after he was forced to retire from the lead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton will be replaced by Sergio Perez, who failed to score a single point in the six races since his move to McLaren was announced in September.

Impact: Christian Horner thinks McLaren will miss Lewis Hamilton

Impact: Christian Horner thinks McLaren will miss Lewis Hamilton

Switch: Hamilton (right) is leaving for Mercedes in 2013

Switch: Hamilton (right) is leaving for Mercedes in 2013

‘McLaren is a weaker team without Lewis,’ said Horner. ‘They would admit that.’

‘Lewis is an outstanding driver and in Lewis and Jenson Button they had a hugely strong driver line-up.’

Hamilton joins a Mercedes team who ended the season desperately off the pace.

But Horner, who last night joined over 500 of his Red Bull colleagues in celebrating Sebastian Vettel’s world championship triumph, still believes Hamilton will be a contender for the title next term.

‘Whichever team had taken Lewis, he will be an asset,’ Horner added.

‘Lewis will naturally bring performance to Mercedes. Fernando Alonso, Lewis and indeed Jenson are very strong threats for next year.’

Vettel completed a hat-trick of titles last Sunday after finishing sixth at the season-ending race in Brazil.

Chat: Mark Webber, Horner, Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard and Adrian Newey speak to the Red Bull team

Chat: Mark Webber, Horner, Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard and Adrian Newey speak to the Red Bull team

The 25-year-old German fought his way from the back of the pack after a collision with the Williams of Bruno Senna on the opening lap to beat Alonso to the title by just three points.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

After strong comeback drives in Abu Dhabi, where he finished third after starting from the pit-lane, and in Interlagos, Vettel has done his best to dampen accusations that his strongest performances only come from the front of the pack.

‘It’s actually a little bit of comedy to look back now and you were the driver who can’t overtake,’ said Vettel. ‘Now after just two races people have changed their mind.

‘To win from the front or to come through the field it is the same thing. You still do your best.

‘People credit the fact that you have overtaken drivers more than pulling away from the front and building a lead.

‘Maybe they don’t understand how much it is worth to pull out a gap’

Vettel was gifted sixth place in Sunday’s rain-hit race after Michael Schumacher allowed his fellow countryman to pass with relative ease.

Triple champ: Vettel (left) secured his third consecutive F1 drivers title at the weekend

Triple champ: Vettel (left) secured his third consecutive F1 drivers title at the weekend

It was Schumacher’s final grand prix before retiring from the sport for a second time, and Horner believes the manoeuvre was very significant.

‘Michael is renowned for being a tough racer but it was his gesture to Sebastian,’ added Horner.

‘It was almost like passing the baton on. It wouldn’t have been well received at his former team but Michael obviously felt it was something he wanted to do and it was very generous.’

On Schumacher, Vettel, who could challenge his fellow countryman’s incredible record of seven world titles, added: ‘He is extremely happy for me.

‘It is a great gift and great part of your character if you can be truly happy for somebody else because I think there is a lot of guys who pretend to be happy buy they’re not.

‘In that regard it is impressive after what he has achieved.’

Stuart Broad form an issue for England, says David Saker

Broad's form has become an 'issue' for England, admits bowling coach Saker as Finn returns to action

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UPDATED:

10:11 GMT, 27 November 2012

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

England have admitted they have ‘an issue’ with Stuart Broad and may consider dropping their vice-captain for the crucial third Test in Kolkata next week.

Broad – who was hit by illness during the second Test as exclusively revealed by Sportsmail on Friday night – had a match to forget here in Mumbai as England pulled off an historic victory to level the series against India, bowling 12 wicketless overs for 60 runs in the first innings and not even being called on in the second.

Now, with Steven Finn returning to action on Monday for the England Performance Squad in their match here in Mumbai, Broad’s place is in question even though he has been one of their principal performers over the last few years.

‘There’s a little bit of an issue with Broad, there’s no doubt it,’ David Saker, the England fast bowling coach, told Sky TV here this morning. ‘He hasn’t bowled as we would have liked and he would be the first to admit that.

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for EnglandVice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

‘He’s not the first fast bowler to come over here and find it hard but the great fast bowlers have had success over here. Stuart is probably not a great yet but he has to learn ways to become great. It’s a great learning curve for him.

‘If he gets the next Test he will have to be ready for it. During my tenure as bowling coach I haven’t had too many players down on confidence and form. This is when I have to come to the party. I hope I can do stuff over the next few days that can help.’

With Tim Bresnan struggling in the first Test in Ahmedabad and being dropped for the second, Broad’s inclusion at Eden Gardens will probably come down to whether Finn has recovered from the thigh injury he suffered in the field in England’s first warm-up game here.

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

‘We’ve got our fingers crossed he’ll come through,’ said Saker. ‘If he gets through this game unscathed his name will definitely be up for selection next week.’

‘Finn has got that x-factor, a bit of pace, that height that always means you can get variable bounce over here. So his name will be bandied around for sure for that second seamer’s spot.’

Sebastian Vettel earns Red Bull employees 10k bonus each

Cheers Seb! Over 550 Red Bull employees pick up 10k each after Vettel wins title

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UPDATED:

12:03 GMT, 27 November 2012

Christmas has come early for the employees at Red Bull Racing.

Each member of the 550-strong team will
land a cool 10,000 bonus after Sebastian Vettel wrapped up his third
drivers’ title on the bounce following Sunday’s dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old German fought his way from the back of the field to finish sixth and deny Fernando Alonso the title by just three points.

Centre of attention: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel surrounded by his colleagues... who each picked up a cool 10k

Centre of attention: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel surrounded by his colleagues… who each picked up a cool 10k

It was Red Bull’s second success in as many weeks after they sealed the constructors’ championship at the penultimate round of the season in Austin.

In a recent interview with Sportsmail, team principal Christian Horner stressed that the key ingredient behind his team’s unprecedented success was its ‘people’.

And they’ll now be rewarded with a tidy bonus just in time for the festive season after securing an incredible three drivers’ and constructors’ titles on the spin.

Blow: When Hamilton's car got damaged McLaren paid the price to the tune of 7m

Blow: When Hamilton's car got damaged McLaren paid the price to the tune of 7m

Vettel, his team-mate Mark Webber and Horner will make a triumphant return to the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes today, where they’ll be given the chance to celebrate their triumph with fellow Red Bull colleagues.

Over at rivals McLaren however, the picture isn’t quite so rosy.

Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from the lead of the season-ending race in Brazil has cost the British team in excess of 7million in prize money – the difference between finishing second and third in the constructors’ championship.

McLaren were on course to leapfrog Ferrari in the standings before Hamilton was denied victory in his final race for the Woking-based outfit after he sustained irreparable suspension damage in a collision with the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

Alan Pardew calls on Cheick Tiote to return to form

Tiote's season starts this weekend, claims Pardew ahead of Swansea clash

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 16 November 2012

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew is looking for the return of Cheick Tiote to kick-start his side's season.

There are several reasons why Pardew's team have not quite reached the heights of last season, including their participation in the Europa League, which was their reward for their manager's first full campaign at St James's Park.

Pardew is working to put them right, including creating more chances for strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse which will end the theory they can't play together, get on or score in the same matches.

Call to arms: Cheik Tiote (right) has been off form for Newcastle

Call to arms: Cheik Tiote (right) has been off form for Newcastle

But he believes the principal cause for Newcastle's inconsistent form is the absence of midfielder enforcer Cheick Tiote, who was injured for the first month of the season after injury in the first game and has missed the last three matches following his dismissal against Sunderland.

As Newcastle are looking to put last week's shock home defeat to West Ham behind them with the visit of Swansea City today. That is followed by Thursday's Europa League re-match with Maritimo at St James's Park which could confirm their place in the knock-out phases.

Tiote may be suspended for that game after picking up his third European booking and 41st in 67 Newcastle appearances, but Pardew will tell the Ivory Coast midfielder to play his natural game when he returns today.

Strike it lucky: Papiss Cisse

Strike it lucky: Papiss Cisse

He said: 'Cheick's season starts this weekend, until January 4 when he goes away for the African Cup of Nations, or whenever it is.

`He is a massive player for us. His best form will come from more games. It's just about giving him games, getting him back to his best. He loves to train but he really loves to play, so we might play him in three of the four games coming up.

`He has to free himself up. The sending off in the derby is going to affect him. My chat will be to say 'come on Cheick, let's get you back to your best'.

`He will pick up bookings, that's what he does, but we need him to control the silly tackles. Slightly mistimed tackles are what we can handle.'

One option for Pardew today is a recall for Vurnon Anita, Newcastle's major summer signing who, by his own admission, has struggled since his 6million move from Manchester City's Champions League opponents Ajax.

The diminutive Holland international has put in extra time in the gym to bulk up for the Premier League but his recent goal against Bruges – the best he has ever scored, he says – is proof that Newcastle have signed a star with potential, and desire.

Anita said: `It is a tough transition but it is nice. It is a new challenge for me so I am working hard to make it now.

`The competition is very tough, there are many games but I enjoy that. English football is quicker and much more physical than in Holland and it is more direct, more the long ball and fight.

Time to shine: Alan Pardew hopes his Newcastle side can return to form

Time to shine: Alan Pardew hopes his Newcastle side can return to form

`Because it is more physical here, I must do some extra work to play more games. I am in the gym a lot and running, before and after the main training, week in, week out. It is going better so I must keep on doing it to improve myself.

`I expected it to be like this. I want to play many games for myself and the team, to finish in the top four to play Champions League football.

`Last year, they almost made it so we must work hard to improve ourselves and reach our goals. It is really tough to do that but a good challenge.'

Lewis Hamilton regrets Mercedes move – Martin Whitmarsh

I hope Hamilton thinks he's made an awful mistake, says McLaren chief Whitmarsh

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UPDATED:

11:15 GMT, 9 November 2012

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes Lewis Hamilton has already experienced regrets over his move to Mercedes.

Whitmarsh concedes he still does 'not fully understand' why Hamilton opted to quit McLaren after 14 years and join Mercedes, who have won just one race in three years since their return to Formula One.

Whitmarsh can appreciate Hamilton's desire 'to flee the nest' but remains disappointed by his decision, in particular as he feels it was made after a bad result in Singapore.

End of the road: Hamilton will leave McLaren at the end of the season

End of the road: Hamilton will leave McLaren at the end of the season

Hamilton should have won more titles, says Whitmarsh

Read Sportsmail's exclusive here

That was a race Hamilton should have won to firmly thrust himself back into the title picture, only to retire on lap 23 with a gearbox failure.

'It is always bad to make a decision in the aftermath of a bad race,' Whitmarsh told the official F1 website.

'He was pretty sure he was going to win that race and it (the retirement) was a disappointment.

Leading the pack: Hamilton retired from Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Leading the pack: Hamilton retired from Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

'I respect his decision, but I believe he would be better off with us; we are the stronger team and we intend to beat him next year.'

Since Hamilton announced he was off to join Mercedes on a 45million three-year contract, the Brackley-based outfit have failed to score a single point.

McLaren have hardly set the world on fire either, although Hamilton should have won in Abu Dhabi on Sunday only to suffer another mechanical issue while leading from pole position.

On your bike: Hamilton will join Mercedes on a three-year deal next term

On your bike: Hamilton will join Mercedes on a three-year deal next term

Asked whether Hamilton already regretted his decision, Whitmarsh added: 'I think he has on occasions, yes. 'Probably, when you make a decision you have to tell yourself that the decision is made so you have to look forward.

'You say “Okay, that it is in the past”, so you don't spend too much time thinking about why. You just look forward and make the best out of the new situation.

'You have to justify your decision. He is not going to say “Hey, they offered me more money”.

Regrets: Whitmarsh (left) hinted that Hamilton may have had second thoughts

Regrets: Whitmarsh (left) hinted that Hamilton may have had second thoughts

Phil Duncan F1 blog

'He is also not going to say he's made an awful mistake. I hope he thinks today he's made an awful mistake and I hope he thinks that next year.

'He's made that decision and he has to live with that decision.'

Despite such comments, Whitmarsh knows the end of the final race in Brazil in just over a fortnight's time will be highly emotional.

'Right now we still want to win races. We are motivated by that and our conversation circles around that,' he added.

'Maybe he is completely dispassionate about it, but my guess is we both will have very emotional moments in Brazil.

'I have known him since he was 11 and worked with him since his teens and I know we will both be very emotional after Brazil.

'We have had one or two emotional moments since the decision was taken and I believe, but you must ask him, that we have a very good relationship.'

Fernando Alonso rage after Ferrari chief suggests Spaniard was at fault in India

Alonso 'flies into rage' after Ferrari chief suggests Spaniard was at fault in India

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UPDATED:

15:18 GMT, 30 October 2012

Fernando Alonso's frustration at being left trailing in the wake of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel boiled over ahead of Sunday's Indian Grand Prix according to reports in Italy.

Already concerned at the lack of development with his Ferrari, Italian newspaper La Stampa claimed Alonso was left fuming by comments from team technical director Pat Fry which appeared to suggest the Spaniard was partly to blame for qualifying down the order in fifth.

Indeed, Alonso is understood to have been on the verge of Tweeting a disparaging message about his car only to be persuaded not to push the button by high ranking Ferrari staff as talks with team principal Stefano Domenicali progressed into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Champagne performance: Alonso finished second at the Indian Grand Prix

Champagne performance: Alonso finished second at the Indian Grand Prix

Assessing Alonso's display in qualifying, Fry said: 'In order to be where we wanted and where we were capable of being, we needed to be perfect today and we weren't.'

La Stampa reports that Alonso 'flew into a rage' upon hearing Fry's comments and had intended to hit back with a Tweet along the lines of: 'I want my 1.2 million followers to know that the key aerodynamic components at the rear of the Ferrari are still the same as they were in May.'

A barnstorming performance in India on Sunday saw Alonso finish second behind Vettel, his highest finish since winning the German Grand Prix back in July. But Vettel's win, his fourth in succession, moved him 13 points ahead of his Ferrari rival.

The Italian marque has struggled to extract more pace from their car just as the Red Bull has started to fly thanks to a series of developments by design guru Adrian Newey.

Twitter ye not: Alonso came close to sending a retaliatory message

Twitter ye not: Alonso came close to sending a retaliatory message

Comments by Alonso that he is fighting both Vettel and Newey were not well received by the reigning world champion, the interpretation being that his success is simply down to the superiority of his machine.

However, in light of the news emanating from Italy, it is certainly possible to view Alonso's words as more of a criticism at Ferrari's technical ability than Vettel.

New parts will be bolted onto Alonso's car in this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi and the double world champion will doubtless be desperately hoping his team have got their sums right.

If not, and with only three races to go, Vettel’s march to third successive drivers' title would seem unstoppable.