Fernando Alonso has described Ferrari’s departed technical chief James Allison as “outstanding”.
The timing of the Spaniard’s comments are interesting, given speculation linking Briton Allison’s exit with his desire to return to a UK-based team, in the wake of the death of his wife.
At Hockenheim, Kimi Raikkonen said he didn’t want to comment on the matter, given the “respect” he has for the 48-year-old.
Having left Ferrari at the end of 2014, a year after Allison joined the Maranello team, Alonso now drives for UK-based McLaren-Honda.
“James is an outstanding engineer, as I learned in my two titles with Renault in 2005 and of 2006,” Alonso told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I also know from my time at Ferrari that (Allison successor) Mattia Binotto is very good and can only wish him the best of luck in his new role.
“It is not the first time the job of Ferrari’s technical director has been entrusted to an engine man, and it will probably not be the last,” Alonso added.
Alonso is definitely staying at McLaren for 2017, and he is expected to be joined as teammate by Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne.
For Alonso, it may rekindle memories of McLaren in 2007, when his pairing with another team protege and rookie Lewis Hamilton ended unhappily.
Asked if he has learned a lesson from that, Alonso told Brazil’s Globo Esporte: “There is no great lesson, to be honest.
“I also had teammates like Nelsinho (Piquet), Felipe (Massa) who was already part of Ferrari, and Kimi (Raikkonen), who was the last Ferrari champion.
“In 2007 it was only because Lewis was very protected by McLaren, and we had a very competitive car and fought for the title which nobody expected. Importantly, Lewis is also British, and Stoffel is not,” Alonso added.