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Sport – Massa comments will not hurt relations: Alonso

SAO PAULO: Fernando Alonso has shrugged off accusatory comments by future Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa and said their relationship would not
suffer next season.

Massa caused a storm ahead of his home Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday when he said Renault’s double world champion Alonso must have known about his team’s tactics in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix that helped the Spaniard win.

Alonso has denied any involvement in a scandal that left former champions Renault with a suspended permanent ban.

The French team’s former boss Flavio Briatore was also barred for life after Brazilian Nelson Piquet said he had been ordered to crash deliberately to bring out the safety car.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has also said it had no reason to believe Alonso was in any way involved.

“I was not involved in anything, I didn’t know anything, so there were no doubts. I didn’t pay too much attention,” Alonso told reporters on Thursday when asked about Massa’s comments.

“It will not affect anything, me or the relationship. I actually think we will be great,” added the Spaniard.

Alonso, whose switch to Ferrari next season as Massa’s team mate in place of Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen was announced last month after Renault were punished, added:.

“At Ferrari the group is more important than the individual, where everyone is part of the team, a big family.

“I think it will be a good group and we will be a very strong team next year with Felipe and me.”

Massa has since clarified his comments about Alonso on the Ferrari website.

“What I’ve said is the outcome of a hunch I’ve had and is not based on any concrete evidence,” he said.

“The FIA World Council announced that there was no indication that Fernando may have been informed of what had happened and I respect this outcome.”

“What is certain is that this episode will not mar in any way the relationship I’ll have with Fernando when we will be team mates.”

Massa has not raced since the Hungarian Grand Prix in July after suffering a life-threatening head injury when he was hit by debris in qualifying.

He has recently been given a clean bill of health and is due to appear at a news conference at Interlagos on Friday.

Alonso said the pair may have a private talk but dismissed suggestions it might be to clear the air.

“If we do have a chat it will be more about his recovery, that he seems well, about his experience at Ferrari,” he said. “He has been there three or four years and I need to learn, to adapt myself a little bit quicker if possible.

“So anything I talk to Felipe about these days or in the future will be a huge help for me to know the team.”

Massa has said previously that he felt robbed by what happened in Singapore, the sport’s first night race, after starting on pole position but failing to score.

Alonso pointed out he had backed Massa to win last year’s championship, with the Brazilian losing out by a single point to the Spaniard’s former McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton, and described their relationship as healthy.

“Last year we built a good friendly relationship, and I was supporting him in the last part of the championship because I really thought he had a chance to win it but in the end he didn’t,” he said.

“But I’m sure it will be okay, a good relationship, as with any other driver.”

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October 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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