Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, Jan 12, 2012 (AFP) - Former world champion Fernando Alonso hit out at Formula One legislators who have chosen to limit testing, claiming it would be like a footballer training without a ball.
In an attempt to reduce spending and shorten the gap between the top teams and less competitive ones, policy-makers in F1 have set stringent limits on the amount of testing drivers can do.
Instead they are expected to drive karts to keep themselves in form for F1 commitments. But that's got the Spaniard all riled up.
"Motorcyclists with motocross, drivers with karting -- these are the nearest things to what we drive but they're still very different and it
doesn't help," moaned Alonso at Ferrari's joint publicity event here alongside Ducati.
"It would be like forcing (Lionel) Messi to train with a racket rather than a ball or Rafael Nadal with a table tennis bat.
"When they then went back to playing they would have the same problems that we have. I race karts because I can't do nothing for four months, rather than to keep in training."
The 30-year-old cut a frustrated figure during the press conference at the ski resort here and also blasted press speculation about his private life, notably his split from pop singer wife Raquel.
"I've never spoken about my private life and I won't do it even this time," he said.
"People say that I spend a lot of time at (Ferrari's training base) Maranello but over Christmas I was in (his home town) Oviedo. Then it was written that I was in Oviedo when in fact I was in Los Angeles, in California.
"But maybe someone got confused with Los Angeles di San Rafael close to Segovia, which isn't far from Madrid. Then they wrote I was in a night-club in Madrid but in that instant whoever did the cutting and pasting hadn't noticed that I was in fact at the Japanese GP."
Alonso wasn't any more forthcoming when it came to racing matters, refusing to make any prediction on his chances next season. Winning isn't an obligation, sport is about sacrifice, team commitment and passion," he added.
"But then results depend on many other things and hence there is no obligation to win. I've seen the new car in the wind tunnel and on the computer but that only gives you numbers and lines.
"We need to understand what can happen on the track. I know that for you (journalists) every test will be like a race upon which to base your verdicts.
"But we only start to understand the real potential of our car from the second or third race. However, on paper I think the team has everything necessary to do well."
Brazilian Felipe Massa was far more upbeat in what could turn out to be his final year at the team. Massa has failed to be truly competitive alongside his team-mate over the last two years.
While both Red Bulls, both McLarens and Alonso have almost always fought for victories and podium finishes, Massa has more often than not ended up in a battle for sixth.
He has regularly been the best of the rest but a long way behind the top five. "I know that this year is important because I have to start being competitive again, as I was in the past," he said.
"I'm the first one who wants to do more, I know that I can win. We have an organisation that is perfectly capable of producing a car that
can start winning from the first race.
"My specific problem of getting heat into the tyres due to having a less aggressive style, is the same as Fernando's, only it's more acute.
"So I know the new car will go in that direction and if that happens I believe I'm able to go as fast as Fernando and also to beat him."
However, Massa admitted the possibility that he will leave at the end of the season. "Obviously the first half of the season will be the most important for me," he said.
"If the conditions aren't right it will become a possibility (that he leaves)."