Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo plays down cryptic comments made by Fernando Alonso

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has played down what appeared to be a veiled criticism of the team by Fernando Alonso and has given his full backing to the two-time Formula One champion.

Responding to praise that was heaped on the Spanish driver last week by Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche, Alonso said: "it's sometimes strange to see good comments and compliments from people from outside, and the opposite from people who are supposed to be close to you."

Montezemolo issued a statement Thursday, saying Alonso "knows how much I count on him, even away from the racetrack, in terms of his contribution and the impetus he gives" the team.

Alonso had a strained relationship with Ferrari last year.