Signs of strain are emerging at Ferrari after the marque Italian team issued a rare public response critical of its lead driver Fernando Alonso.

This comes after the Spaniard's manager Luis Garcia Abad was seen holding talks with Red Bull boss Christian Horner in Budapest on Sunday and strong criticism of Ferrari by Alonso after another difficult weekend.

After the race, where Alonso claimed fifth, he was asked what he wanted for his 32nd birthday, which was on Monday, his response: "somebody else's car".

He was then asked what he would do over the August break, he said "I will pray".

Finally Brazil's O Estada de S. Paulo has quoted Alonso making an in-direct jibe at Ferrari's designers after saying "people at the track, the mechanics and the drivers are doing a good job".

So on Monday, Alonso's birthday, Ferrari hit back in a rare public rebuke.

"There is a need to close ranks, without giving in to rash outbursts that, while understandable in the immediate aftermath of a bad result, are no use to anyone," the team said in an online statement on Monday.

"So," the statement added, "when Di Montezemolo (Ferrari's President) called the Spaniard this morning to wish him a happy birthday, he also tweaked his ear, reminding him that all the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own.

"This is the moment to stay calm, avoid polemics and show humility and determination in making one's own contribution, standing alongside the team and its people both at the track and outside it," Ferrari said.

Finally the statement claims Di Montezemolo has also called for greater action by the technical team at Ferrari giving them a knife "to put between their teeth when thinking how to tackle the second half of the season".

What could help Ferrari is the announcement former Lotus Technical Chief James Allison is set to join the Maranello team at the start of September.

But some believe that could be too late for Alonso who despite having a contract until 2016 does have an exit clause.

Even the Italian press admitted: "If Maranello keeps this up, they risk losing the star driver, who four years ago was taken under contract to start a new golden era for Ferrari," said Tuttosport newspaper.

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