Alonso insulted

A presenter for Italian F1 broadcaster Sky has been suspended for insulting Fernando Alonso.

Referring to the Spanish driver’s Barcelona testing crash, Paola Saluzzi’s offending ‘tweet’ during the Chinese grand prix weekend said Alonso had now recovered his memory to realise he is “arrogant” and an “imbecile”.

We reported that the ‘tweet’, which was removed and for which Saluzzi apologised, caused Alonso to refuse to speak to Sky Italia at the track last weekend. Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Sky has now suspended the female journalist.

Her colleague Gianluca Semprini is reported to have said: “I greet with affection Paola Saluzzi — see you in a few days”.

Meanwhile, Alonso’s manager Flavio Briatore has blasted former F1 driver Jean Alesi, who similarly mocked the McLaren-Honda driver last weekend. Media reports say Frenchman Alesi joked that Alonso “fainted again” when he was lapped by the two Ferraris on Sunday.

Briatore hit back: “In five years, Fernando finished (the championship) second three times, losing one time due to someone else’s error. Alesi got no results for Ferrari.”

Former F1 driver Emanuele Pirro, however, said it is no coincidence that Ferrari’s resurgence happened straight after the departure of Alonso.

“Two decisive changes by Ferrari were the engine, and the driver,” he told Italian radio Rai this week. “Alonso had become more of a problem than an asset because he was always dissatisfied,” said Pirro, a former Benetton driver. “Now a young and enthusiastic driver who is always smiling (Sebastian Vettel) has come and he is driving so well. In Bahrain, where it will be hot, the Ferrari will be very good again,” he added.