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In-fighting at Ferrari

FERRARI boss Jean Todt and driver Jean Alesi are not very impressed with one another at the moment. Alesi was upset that Todt hired Michael Schumacher and forced him to move to Benetton after five seasons at Maranello. After the race in Portugal yesterday, Alesi angrily told pressmen that Todt had ordered him to let team mate Gerhard Berger pass - despite the fact that Alesi was ahead in the Drivers' Championship.

"I wasn't born to be a loser," Alesi told the Italian television station RAI. "The team wanted me to let Gerhard through and radioed me. I am not going to be a loser. Todt is breaking my balls. He is the problem at Ferrari. I am not criticizing Ferrari as a whole but Todt's management of the team. I am fed up with it and it is high time that Luca di Montezemolo (the Ferrari president) realizes what is going on."

Todt responded by saying that: "Jean has a generous nature but a temperament that can be too emotional. For the past five years we have given him our maximum support and we will continue to do so for the last four races this season."

He justified his request to Alesi by saying that the two Ferrari drivers had been running different strategies.

"It was in the interest of the team that Alesi allow Berger through because Gerhard's car was performing better," he said.

Todt said that Alesi ignored the order three times but lost out because he made only two pit stops, which allowed Berger to get ahead and stay ahead.

Berger too was unimpressed: "In my career I have often been asked to do this sort of thing and naturally I have always accepted."

In 1991, Alain Prost was fired by Ferrari for much less violent criticism of the Ferrari management at that time, but Jean's volatile nature will probably mean that he will regret his comments in the days ahead.

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