Being in the right place at the right time

You do not need to be a rocket scientist to work out that Fernando Alonso is frustrated. He joined Ferrari in 2010 and in his four seasons with the Italian team to date he has scored 11 victories in 68 races. He has been runner-up in the World Championship twice.

Interestingly, when he was with Renault he won 17 races out of 106, which is pretty much the same percentage figure (16.1 percent compared to 16.0 percent) so the problem with Ferrari is more to do with expectations rather than reality.

However, Fernando is a guy who likes to win and so watching Sebastian Vettel racking up 29 wins in his 85 races with Red Bull Racing (34 percent), might have convinced the Spaniard that he should be off to Red Bull Racing.

The clock is ticking. Fernando is 32 and has only two titles to his name. Vettel has three and looks to be on his way to a fourth, yet he is still only 26. In other words, unless Alonso gets things moving soon he will not be the star of his generation when the history books are written. He needs to up his win rate.

Ferrari is struggling to compete with Red Bull and the obvious reason for this is Adrian Newey. Using racer logic, the best thing for Alonso to do is to try to get hooked up with Newey. The bad news is that Newey does not want to join Ferrari.

If the mountain won’t come to Mohammad, then Mohammad must go to the mountain. So, one might surmise that the next step for Alonso has to be to give up every boy’s dream of being a Ferrari World Champion and move to the team that will win races for him.

The problem with this theory is that Vettel has no obvious reason to leave, while Fernando has a contract to stay at Maranello until the end of 2016.

The one hope that Alonso might have is that Vettel may want to go to another team to show that he can win titles with someone else. There was a tiny hint of that when Vettel agreed recently to extend with Red Bull only for one year.

That was a chink in the Red Bull armour.

And one can imagine that Alonso could see this as the opportunity he needs to get a shovel under Vettel and sew seeds of mistrust.

It is highly unlikely that Red Bull will be mad enough to blow itself up by putting two Supermen in the same telephone box, particularly when everyone knows that Alonso did not cover himself in glory in 2007 when he found the going tough with Hamilton at McLaren.

Vettel knows that he is the big banana at the moment and so he will get first pick of the big teams for 2016, even if we are not quite sure who will be where in the performance pecking order once the new generation of engines arrives in 2014.

If Red Bull thinks Vettel might leave after 2015 then it would be good for them to get Alonso sorted out in advance – and logic then dictates that there is not much point in waiting. If a plan exists, why not do it earlier rather than later?

So how is the level of trust between Red Bull and Vettel? And is there any tiny chance that the team will get worried about Sebastian walking? Hmm… A one year contract extension and breaking team orders in Malaysia might not seem like much to go on, but one can imagine Fernando and his people trying to fan these tiny sparks of trouble.

Getting out of a Ferrari contract early is not that hard, as Alain Prost showed back in 1991 when he said that “a truck would be easier to drive than this car” and was duly fired by outraged Italians.

He came back to win the 1993 championship with Williams, the employer of Adrian Newey at the time.

233 thoughts on “Being in the right place at the right time

        1. It may be wise to take Joe’s word over Alonso’s here – it is likely that Fernando would have talking in the context of the best-case-scenario length, including options, performance clauses, etc. rather than the earliest time he can escape the contract.

    1. Indeed a good read.

      Not sure on the whole Newey demi-god thing though, was the RB3 or RB4 a title winning car? No. Did either win a race? No. It took Neweys team a full two seasons to develop a car that could win races. Even then the RB5 was beaten by Brawn. So 3 full seasons to develop a championship winning car, and heck, really it was 5 seasons before he came up with a car that dominanted in 2011.

      Sure Newey designs good cars, but last seasons best car was the McLaren. So in Neweys 7 years of car design for RBR pre this season how many of his cars have had a clear pace advantage over everyone else? 1 certianly (2011), 2 perhaps (2010, although Ferrari & McLaren were also very evenly matched that year).

      I guess that doesn’t play to the spoon fed Sunday afternoon ‘believe everything BBC/Sky say’ sofa viewers though.

      1. I have noticed a trend among Vettel fans lately to try and down play the role of Adrain Newey in the success of Red Bull.

        Not quite sure why this should be.

        My guess is that its a reaction to the fact that Vettel is not universally liked, especially lately after Malaysia.

        They feel the need to try and bolster his reputation to a ridiculous level that if it wasn’t for him Red Bull would be nowhere.

        Nine constructors championships with three different teams is an unrivalled pedigree and frankly to say Newey designs merely “good” cars is a poor attempt at damning with faint praise.

  1. Does it not seem resonable that there is a clause in Alonzo’s contract that he can get out if he does not win the championship in 4 or 5 years? If said clause was in the contract it makes sense that Alonzo would look around to see if he should stay or go.

    1. I was wondering along the same lines too. Joe do you know if Ferrari have allowed drivers to put performance clauses for the team in their contracts in the past?

        1. This might be totally out there but you might know. What do you think of the following rumours (at least to me they are just rumours):

          1) Alonso and Pat Fry aren’t on speaking terms
          2) Alonso wanted Pat Symmonds to come to Ferrari and they said no

            1. ok, well looking at F1 history….you never know how the chips may fall sometimes.

              Have fun on your time off!

  2. Had the FIA done their job diligently for Fred’s dodgy Singapore result, the ratio for Renault would be below the Ferrari %. I’m sure Fred would chill a little on recognising that.

      1. Well then how about his McLaren spell – the ratio there was 23%, not yet up there with Seb but not bad for a one trick effort; cause to consider he should never have left McLaren? 😉

    1. Moreover, had justice not been perverted by plea bargain on Sept. 13th, 2007, both FAD and PDLR would have been banned for life from motorsport, (see pages 50 through 64 of the WMSC transcript at fia.com).

  3. Think it is a little simpler than you siniste plot suggests. Alonso would sell far more red bull cans and you only have to see how Vettel gets boooed around the world to believe that. Vettel might be a 4 time champ but universally popular he ain’t. In addition I can imagine that Horner, Newey and Mischnitzel all believe Alonso Is the better and more complete driver and perhaps certainly better at dealing with the changes ahead next season.

    1. I am not saying anything. I am merely illustrating the possible. What you need to understand is that selling drink cans is irrelevant.

      1. I agree following money normally works in f1, but not this time. Red bull know winning gives them what they need, selling drinks isn’t what this is about. The don’t need santanders cash either. I am not vettels biggest fan but he is clearly an outstanding driver and gives them pretty much everything alonso would give. Only other thing I could think is red bull driver programme best graduate beating alonso in equal machinery would be the ultimate achievement.

      2. I respectfully disagree that the Red Bull Management think Alonso is a better, more complete driver than Vettel. There is simply no way Red Bull looks at Vettel driving their race car, and wish someone else was piloting it.

      3. I’m amazed you think that.

        Everything Red Bull do is about promoting the brand. That’s why they have Red Bull Media House and the various racing series. So, yes it is about selling drinks, even it that is indirectly.

        I attended a superb presentation by Ogilvy and Mather last year – Red Bull were identified as strategic geniuses in terms of how they do their marketing and the depth of thought behind it. Signing Alonso, or not, will be part of that.

        1. When it comes to choosing drivers I honestly don’t think it matters. What is needed is speed (but not of the Scott variety).

          1. Very true! For Red Bull to make it work they need to be in the FOM broadcast and in the world media first. As long as they earn their advertising value equivalent they can continue to do what they are doing. It is not so important who wins in a Red Bull car. It is far more important that the package is winning races and championships. Vettel/Newey are obviously doing the job. Would you upset the apple cart to help Alonso out of a pinch? Not very likely unless they knew Vettel wants out, which he has no reason for ATM. It makes much more sense to get Kimi.

          2. totally agree, Red Bull needs to be cool as a brand and then it will sell…the importance of who is their F1 driver is of little importance…

          3. Hey!! Vettel beginings in the F1 were thanks to Scott Speed being ejected form Toro Rosso in 2007…So he had the right kind of “Speed” for that occasion!….

            Joe, I agree with you on “selling cans” being irrelevant, but how about Ferrari’s sales numbers being hit by the current situation, comments, rumours, facts and everything…I heard Felipe was a very valuable asset regarding car sales but is Ferrari’s Scuderia in need of winning a Championship to mantain o improve sales for the company?

            1. Look at the sales figures (of course in context with total ‘super’ car sales) between 1980 and 2000….were they relatively lower then? The drought hasn’t lasted near as long yet. I don’t think Ferrari is really in the business of selling racing cars but more in the business of selling exclusive toys. Most amateur racing drivers won’t choose a Ferrari. Don’t get me wrong they’re epic machines and I would love to have one….but it isn’t my first choice if it was my own money

      4. I understand that a team chooses whoever is fastest if they can. But you can’t seriously suggest money has nothing to do with it. You also failed to read on to the second argument which is based on driver ability.

        1. I can. And I did. As to the second comment I don’t disagree so there is no need to make any comment.

    2. Sure, Vettel’s penchant for being petulant and entitiled is what rubs people the wrong way (that and the use of the finger with his hand spun the wrong way around singalling ‘up yours’), and I can only imagine that Infinity is far more concerned with his growing legion of haters than Red Bull is.

      But don’t forget that ‘Teflonso’ has shown himself to be a less than ideal marketing icon over the years. Think his behaviour towards a rookie Lewis and his own team during 2008, when he attempted to blackmail McLaren. Or the supposedly innocent affair in Singapore? Then there’s the mass-damper equipped Renault…

      I doubt Red Bull are concerned with selling drink when it comes to choosing racing drivers.

          1. Don’t think they did.

            What was banned in 2005 was a earlier attempt, a tuned-mass damper of the type you get on building to tune the structure for resisting eathquakes. The J-damper was a different beast.

            The banning of the Renault Mass damper was a bit spurious, I think. it was banned as a moveable aerodynamic device, despite it being totally enclosed and no “licked by the open airstream” as the rules used (?) to say.

      1. Infinity do not seem to be concerned about Vettel, since they are calling him their “Director of Performance” in their TV ads in the US.

    3. Maybe Alonso is the better and complete driver at the moment but he reached his peak.
      Vettel is 26 and has room for improvement and gets better year after year.

      1. I’m not sure I agree. He just made the biggest mistake of his career (Malaysia)… He still needs to understand that history works on more than just statistics.

        1. Maybe Malaysia was his biggest mistake in the public view, but seeing and hearing how RB (Horner) talk about the Malaysia incident it seems to me that they are more on the side of Vettel then Webber, because of Webber not being that helpfull to Vettel in previous races.

          What people think of you personally is out of your hands, and personally I don’t know why some people don’t like Vettel. He has his flaws but so have all the other drivers, maybe they all fear a repeat of the Schumacher dominance, but that is not his fault. Most haters are just acting childish.

          1. Some people have ethics and believe in them. Some don’t. The reason ethics exist is so that there is some order in society. That is a very grown up concept.

            1. Ofcourse that is true, some people have ethics some don’t.
              It is just funny the Malaysia incident is a bigger deal for the general public then for RB. And they are the only ones who know the real reason and circumstances why Vettel did what he did. People condemned Vettel for disobeying teamorders while the team itself didnt really make much about it as they knew the reason why he did it.

            2. I can’t think of anyone of the top Drivers having ethics with the possible exception of Kimi and Jenson.

            3. Speaking of ethics, as much as I like Mark Webber, I remember back in Silverstone when he desobeyed team orders, he gave is reasons as to why he did it in a BBC column and I agreed with them, and so did most pundits. In Malaysia Vettel just did the same thing Webber did to him, when Mark Webber himself had said it was ok to do so. If I defended Mark Webber then, I canot acuse Vettel now. I’m not implying you did Joe, because I do not know where you stood, but a lot of people did defend Webber. I think Vettel is wise not to read the press because he would not understand why when somebody else does it is ok and when he does it it is not.

              1. The Point is People usually love the Underdog, hence they praise the Underdog for the same Thing they would criticize the dominater for because people loathe the dominator. Dominator makes racing boring, undersdog makes racing interesting, hence people’s Feelings.

        2. And in addition to that Alonso has proven he can drive the wheels of any car in any team. With Vettel it remains to be seen if it is man or machine to and extend and without me trying to take too much away from a clear talent and champion. I think that will be key to driver choice considering the rule changes are most significant once for along time.

          1. I don’t agree Jeroen. In my view you could argue that Alonso is a better driver than Vettel but the difference would be fractions. Vettel has dominated Webber who is a respected bench mark. I feel that the difference particulary in light of Alonso’s poor qualifying and always playing catch up could actually mean that Vettel could be the stronger driver. I don’t believe the case is that strong for Alonso and in light of his age I think Vettel or a Hamilton could now be the desired driver in the future.

            1. Actually you should look more closely at that. On paper that is right but there is more to the story.

              1. Please tell us more to the Story, would appreciate it. Am always here to learn. Thanks in advance.

              2. Hi Joe. As I presume we’re talking about his year at McLaren would you care to elaborate on that?

          2. Only time will tell.

            But in Vettel’s defence he has shown his racecraft already in the BMW Sauber scoring 1 point in his first F1-race and scoring more points in the 7 races he drove for Torro Rosso then Liuzzi and Speed the whole season combined.
            Then in the 2008 beating a 4-time Champ Car champion by 31 points and win a race and finishing the championship with the STR Ferrari 10 points more then RBR Renault.

            Since his first laps in an F1 car he has shown his speed and ability in the same matter like Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen and so there is little to no doubt he will be quick in any car.

          3. Is it short memory?! 2006, tested a BMW for the 1st time and topped the time sheets, 2007 stood in for Robert Kubica and scored a point in his debut race, stood in for 7 races at Toro Rosso and scored 5 more points, 2008 his 1st full season for Toro Rosso, pole & win at Monza in what happens to be the ONLY win for Toro Rosso before & after, 2009 finishes runner up and the next 3 years.. history. And so many of you guys think that Alonso is a more capable driver! Super capable “whiner” for sure.. Guess its jealousy what this now 26 year old has achieved in less than 6 years of F1. If Alonso is supposedly that good, he is in a Ferrari than the carts they made back in 2007 when Kimi won the WC crown, how come Alonso could not emulate that feat? Truly, I’m tired of this ever so over rated Alonso talk and to think that he did not have a part to play in Crash Gate along side the super villain Flavio would not only be naive, but at the very least, stupid!

        3. Malaysia was only a mistake if you use the criteria of the media. For the championship in a year with a tight pecking order it was just the right thing to do. All the great men have to make difficult choices and sometimes they do not win the popularity contest. But they get to their goal. And that may be true for Vettel this year as well.

        4. I’ll disagree with that. The move on Webber was one of the best of his career. Sure the team said not to race, but look at little Nico Rosberg. He may as well have ‘Hamiltons B***h’ stamped on his head now – even though he’s gone very well this season (bar the car failures). If a driver lacks the killer instinct (Alonso obviously has it, just look at the stunts he’s pulled!) then they’re never going to as successful as Prost, Schumacher, Senna etc. You need that killer instinct – Vettels got it.

          It really tickles me how some F1 fans claim to be such big fans of Senna, yet hate Vettel. They both share many of the same traits as I’m sure you know Joe, and you’ll also know that Senna wasn’t loved anywhere but Brazil until that terrible day in Imola. If you want to be the best in F1 you’ve got to be selfish, nice guys rarely finish first in this sport.

          1. Your argument is flawed. Senna had ‘honour’. Yes, he would do everything to get him self in a winning car and a winning position but not at the expense of his self respect. He certainly, once he was in F1, didn’t orchestrate his team mates. He just beat them on the track.

            1. Tosh. He refused to have Warwick in the same team… But that us not ethics. That is good sense. If the team agreed it is their fault.

  4. By now I see Kimi way closer. he does the same job and only wants people to “leave him alone” as he “know what he does.” Then, in one or two years time, one of the current line-up of young racers (either from RB’s Young driver programme or elsewhere) may have improved enough to be reliable, affordable and a long-term (or at least medium-term) first driver for the team…

  5. Hi joe

    Excellent piece. I would think Ferrari would be more than just a little keen to hold on to alonso. How do you replace him? Vettel is the only natural fit. Team leader style driver. Depending in how merc goes will decide if Hamilton comes back On the market. Although this does smell of bernie knowing there is 4 weeks without f1 ensuring it will be in the news, and Horner using the alonso rumours to force kimi’s hand.

  6. Not that I think Mr. Newey is so inclined… but if he wanted to start “Newey F1” (thus removing any doubt about where to place one’s bets), I’d think it would be easy for him to raise several whomptillion dollars to enable such a thing.

    What is that man’s longest non-championship streak?

    If you were Ron Dennis, would you consider renaming the company in return for Newey’s lifetime commitment?

    1. Not so inclined is correct. I should think Newey wants his own F1 team as much as Raikkonen covets a career in media relations!

  7. Alonso’s final chance to become ‘the best of his generation’ will be in 2016 when he can “allow” Vettel to become his teammate at Ferrari and then beat him with equal arms. Not sure though it will be for the WDC and not sure he will succeed as by then Vettel will be at his peak while Alonso will be 35…

    1. Aged 35 Schumacher won 13 races from 18. It’s still a good Age. Mansell won a titel aged 39. Last year Schumacher was the fastest of the crop at the most daunting track. Aged 43. Age is not a Problem when the fire still burns.

        1. Not necessarily. It is correct for Lauda, take 84 for example, speedwise he was not at Prost level, he beat him in the title race on experience. However Lauda is a bit of a special case. He scored 18 poles in 2 years prior to the Nürburgring race, so maybe he lost some speed after the accident.

          Prost: no match for Senna speed wise, he beat him 89 in the title race on experience though.

          However Schumacher still showed flashes of raw speed occasionally despite his high age, as proven in Monaco last year when he was the fastest driver on track, faster than Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Räikkönen, Button and even Webber in the Red Bull, who used to be very fast around Monaco.

  8. RB will stick with Vettel, surely. He’s shown how clever a driver he is – the way he drives the RB on-throttle (compared to Webber) strongly suggests he will handle the new engine well. Alonso’s quick, but a bit dramatic for RB, I think.

    Naturally Vettel is considering a switch like Hamilton did, but I don’t see Alonso going there.

  9. Interesting to note your observations about drivers wanting to secure their place in the history. There are examples of drivers with firmly secure legacies and reputations who persisted with a team or technical figure(s). Stewart/Tyrell, Clark/Lotus and Chapman, Schumacher/Brawn+Byrne plus Senna won all his titles with McLaren. So that makes it seem unlikely that Vettel would consider that to be a factor in leaving Red Bull. He doesn’t seem like he’s tiring of winning yet either. But then again I never figured him to be foolish enough to make that “ghurkin” remark or pull the ‘multi 21’ stunt either!

    1. Alonso is undisputed #1 at his Team, he won’t even come into a Situation where multi21 calls would be even considred. No Chance of that happening. At least not at Ferrari. Would he switch to RBR that would be a complete different matter alltogether, though.

  10. I see RB hiring kimi, much better fit. I wonder who invented the rocket scientist term. to my understanding no such thing exists. aerospace engineer maybe?

  11. It’s fantastic marketing – if Red Bull still have one of the strongest cars come 2014, and IF (big if) Alonso secured a move there alongside Vettel, then they could conceivably sweep both Championships whilst creating a compelling human drama at the same time, keeping Red Bull Racing in the headlines at all times.

    I just cannot see it happening. I’m pretty sure this is nothing but a stunt to put a rocket up Ferrari’s backside; di Montezemolo knows it, or he would not have responded in such a way. He even concurred that the current car is not up to scratch, before ensuring Alonso knew his place.

    What are the chances in your mind, Joe? Still Ricciardo v Raikkonen shoot out?

    1. This is a better idea than you realize: a Newey spec-series… everybody and his brother vs. whatever Ferrari chose to put out there… it would be like the Ford DFV era but with chassis rather than engines…better racing and lower costs…

  12. Hi Joe, Alonso entered 70 races for Renault prior to moving to McLaren, and won 14, which is 20% If you include only the team’s competitive years, it’s 13 from 37, which is 35%, after which he probably didn’t expect to be in an noncompetitive team ever again.
    After he returned to Renault in 2008, there were articles in the press during the Monaco weekend that he signed for Ferrari during that weekend. Raikkonen was leading the WDC until then, and Renault had poor form that year and the one previously, and so I’m wondering if you think that after being ‘released’ from McLaren, Alonso ever considered the second period at Renault to be a permanent move (or one which would be successful,) rather than a stepping stone or waiting room.

    1. The point I was trying to prove was that the situation now is not very different to the past and the problem is FA’s expectations. I’m not getting into statistical analysis beyond that.

      1. Absolutely. He expected to win championships at Ferrari and it hasn’t happened. This year, when the car looked good at the beginning, unlike the other years, must be the biggest let-down of all. It seems extraordinary that they’re still struggling with their wind-tunnel.

        I could see a swap between FA and SV at some point – perhaps 2015 – once everyone sees who’s top-dog in the new formula, but SV would have to initiate it for the sake of his “legacy”. I wouldn’t have thought RB would ever want to let him go.

        It certainly gives us stuff to talk about, n’est-ce pas ? 🙂

        And while we’re “whiling away” the break, there is one thing I’d be interested to have your view on Joe at some point :

        – how much input Ron has on the race team at McL these days ?

        (and follow-up question ; if very little, would Fernando consider going back there one day if Ferrari keep on under-performing and RB is closed to him)

      2. is it really just his expectations? i can’t remember alonso not complaining about his team. he even complained about renault in 2006 when he won the championship with them.

  13. With the popularity point, would Red Bull ever consider a swap deal? Alonso to Red Bull with Ricardo and Vettel to Ferrari with DI Resta or Bianchi as his team mate to do over. The only others I can think of to add to the silly-go-round is if Rosberg is near the end of his contract and Kimi and Hulkenberg and….

  14. there seems to me to be a flaw in the alonso to RBR argument [ other than existing contracts]
    the RBR success is based on qualifying at the front and running in clean air …alonso may be one of the very best drivers , but his weakest point is in qualifying , so would he really be the best fit in the team ?

    1. Where do people get the opinion that Alonso is a bad qualifier??
      How can a driver who is by many considered the best driver be a weak qualifier. F1 is a combination of man and machine. The Ferrari of lately is not pole material.

      1. Even Alonso himself has said quite candidly that he is not the fastest driver over a lap and has never been a great qualifier. And this isn’t the racing adage that as drivers age they lose speed but gain cunning, even the young Alonso has rarely been much of a daredevil pole position resident.

        I think his most outstanding talent is just an ability to adapt his driving style to different cars and tracks. He simply doesn’t have a signature style – like hamiltons aggression, Vettels counter-intuitive slow corner precision or Buttons silky smooth style. As the engineers at Ferrari have said Alonso completes two or three laps in a car and understands how to change every aspect of his driving to keep it running fast. That’s a skill that is certainly suited to racing rather than qualifying.

  15. Alonso at this moment should be thinking about how to take the team forward not an exit plan. Remember by 2015 he could be 3rd or 4th in line as by then Hamilton and Vettel will be at their peak and probably another young gun will have emerged.

    This whole episode only highlights how Schumacher got what he deserved at Ferrari. Remember this was the guy who went back to the team in Suzuka in 06 and shook everyone’s hand. This was also the guy that waited 5 years to get a title and never wanted a Newey car just concentrated on working with Brawn.

    1. Drivers are different. Schumacher was happy with what he had at Ferrari and was trying to go from there. But others like Prost or Senna always wanted Newey cars. Senna even drove them for free. It seems Alonso is of the same category. And Hamilton too. He didn’t get a Newey car because Mateschitz was loyal to Webber. There would be no Alonso talk if RBR were racing a Vettel/Hamilton Pairing now.

  16. Interesting that Ferrari seem to be backtracking from yesterday’s rather trenchant LdM’s statement. Today’s spin is that LdM is still best buddies with Alonso, supports his call for urgent car improvements (who wouldn’t?), and that LdM’s sole purpose was to galvanise the team to progress during the summer break.

    Sounds like bridge rebuilding is well under way. Ferrari can’t afford to lose their biggest asset – at least not for a while….

        1. More likely “drivers are like light bulbs, you take one out and put another one in…” Which as far as I remember was the view of one Bernard Charles Ecclestone when he ran Brabham…

  17. I suspect that talk about Alonso may just be a way to lower kimi’s asking price, supply and demand and all that. Personally I would prefer a torro rosso driver in a red bull but I am not a self made billionaire F1 team owner

    1. I agree with you, all this talk about Alonso to Red Bull, and recently Kimi to Ferrari, just appears to me to be negotiating tactics from both Red Bull and Kimi’s management. If Red Bull really wanted Ricciardo, I see no reason why the deal wasn’t done already. I also don’t quite see Alonso as a Vettel replacement in the long term, I’d assume Lewis or Nico are much more attractive options for Red Bull when that time comes.

  18. The stats are skewed by Alonso’s second stint at Renault, which was nothing but a stop gap for Ferrari. Their immediate upturn upon Kubica’s arrival proved the team remained competent but needed an extremely fast and committed driver to push them in the right direction.

    My guess is that this whole story was played out and and spread simply as means to get Raikkonen and his crew to see they were not alone in interest at the seat, thus having them sign the deal without making anymore complicated demands. Alonso saw fit to remind people Ferrari have lost ground in car development and his greatest commitment is to winning. Then it gathered speed just as naturally as tifosi overreact and anything Ferrari-related becomes overblown.

    Alonso selling cans? LOL. Horner and Newey must be extremely concerned with that.

    As a side thought, not only is it easy to get out of a Ferrari contract (Prost and Kimi), Fernando seems naturally apt at that as well (McLaren 2007 and Renault 2009)…

    1. I’m not sure Alonso had ot get out of a contract in 2009, I think it just expired. A different interesting stat about Alonso is that he only won the championship when he was not calling the shots. It might just be a coincidence but he sure didn’t leave McLaren in the best possible terms and I don’t think he was particularly missed at Renault after his second stint there. Since he arrived to Ferrari, the story has been about how good he is and how mediocre the car is and, one way or another, that story cannot have a happy ending.

  19. the possible plots and sub plots being floated are almost endless. without any intimate knowledge of contracts currently in force, possible ’14 engine/car outcomes etc etc etc it is all conjecture.

    whilst i do believe that there is some serious positioning taking place much of the innuendo is simply that, nothing more and nothing less. despite what actually happens on the track there is nothing more effective than clever placement of destabilisation theories. sowing the seeds of mistrust causes a great deal of angst internally and when better to do it than precisely mid season when the championship is not yet decided. yes, vettel seems to have the WDC well within his grasp it is not set in concrete.

    in F1 terms neither alonso or raikonnen are on the ‘youthful’ side of the equation and i am sure that teams are looking towards the future given the development that lies ahead. with that in mind then the possible combinations of drivers takes on an almost different hue altogether.

    nothing is ever as it seems.

  20. “Ferrari is struggling to compete with Red Bull and the obvious reason for this is Adrian Newey”

    That seems less than obvious, considering that Webber has just three wins in the last 55 GP’s in an Adrian Newey car. (And one of those was probably a gift from Vettel) In the sixteen race 1993 season alone Damon Hill had three wins as Prosts wingman. So the endless suggestions that every single “Newey car” is automatically another FW14B, FW15C, FW18, or FW19 seem obviously false. The current era of F1 is one of unprecedented car parity. I realize that’s an unpalatable fact to face if you dislike Vettel, but it’s a fact all the same.

    1. I’m sorry but if you don’t think Adrian Newey is important in F1 in the last 25 years, you need to visit your home event: the Grand Prix of Cloudcuckooland.

          1. Newey cars don’t win without the right driver, then? After Kimi left Newey cars he won a title in the first year without Newey car beating the Newey cars along the way? What does this say about Newey? His cars can’t win without the right driver like Mika or Sebastian.

            1. Sorry? You think some of the drivers who titles would have done do without a huge advantage…,

        1. Arguably he could have had either the 2003 or 2005 titles… I think Montoya would have been right there for 2003 as well if not for having had more retirements.

        2. Many would argue Kimi was at his best in Newey cars, the 2005 title escaped him because of the Mercedes engines. It is true that the 2004 and 2006 cars were quite bad, though.

            1. 2004 (first half) was kind of a Newey car. 2004 (second half) and 2005 cars were. The blame for Kimi losing the 2005 WDC and Mclaren losing the 2005 WCC can’t all be laid at Mercedes door. There were numerous minor failures of things like gearbox hydraulics fittings and driveshaft components. There was also the suspension failure as a result of tyre failure at the German GP (no tyre changes rules that year).

              The best analogy I can give is that the MP4-20 was like having 2 RB9’s to race, but both of them being Webber’s.

    2. Surely, the key issue is how many of the last 55 races Red Bull has won or, better still, the number of races the team has won since Newey’s arrival.

      Using the selective periods and second drivers methodology, I can categorically say that Colin Chapman was of little significance!

    3. You’re spot on! The way its portrayed by ever so many is “Adrian Newey’s 2 RBRs win every race”!!! Does Webber’s RBR get built at Williams ?! And for Joe Saward to respond to your comment shows his clear dislike.. facts Joe.. thats all John has done in here. Good luck in your cuckooland!

  21. Anyone read today Obituaries in the Daily Telegraph? Fernando Alonso, who has died aged 98, was the architect of Cuba’s emergence as a world power in classical ballet and played a crucial part in saving the career of his superstar ballerina wife, Alicia Alonso, after she became blind when young. You just can’t make this stuff up

  22. Newey is obviously the man of the moment but not every car he ever built was championship material. It is quite possible that RB will slip a little down the grid next year with the new regs. Also quite possible they’ll be way up front as he does has a good record in new reg cars though :s

  23. People seem to be reading far too much into Vettel’s extending to “only” the end of 2015. It’s not a signal that he plans on leaving at that point. Alonso is paying the price at the moment for committing to a long term contact with a team which is struggling a bit. Vettel does not want to fall into the same trap. But if things look good at RB in 2015 he would have no reason not to extend his contract again.

    1. You have defeated your own argument. He has not committed because he wants to keep his options open. Thus he lacks commitment in the eyes if his employer. As I said it is a tiny chink in the armour, but it there nonetheless.

      1. Forgive me if I missed this earlier, Joe, but do we know whether it was Vettel or Red Bull that wanted just the one year? On the face of it, tying Vettel in for as long as possible seems like a no brainer but, on the other hand, with so many other deals expiring at the same time Red Bull is also keeping its options open; and could one year be viewed as a kind of probationary extension following his self-centred disobedience of team orders?

        1. Yes, I can see why you would say that. It is very simple to explain. When one trusts someone it is easy to look at the positive. If one distrusts someone then one pays more attention to the negatives. Ethics are important in Formula 1, as they are in life. You can be unethical and perhaps make a bigger fortune but the downside of this is that people do not trust you. Sebastian has shown that his ethics are negotiable. When one understands that, one naturally judges all his actions in the light of that information, whereas one does not have to waste time questioning the motives of someone one considers to be honest and ethical. As I have said many times: before Malaysia we all thought Sebastian was bright, smart, honest and a good bloke. That one action broke illusions that can never be repaired. Sad, but true.

          1. Joe, Vettel’s racing heart simply got the better of him in Malaysia. Not a big deal. Get over it. Others have done the same in the past. Notably Webber. Arnoux. Reuteman. If you’re looking for perfect ethics you have to look outside of F1. Simple.

          2. Joe:

            Does that same ‘one-chance’ criteria apply to:
            -Senna (crashing into Prost)
            -Schumacher (Villeneuve incident, parking it in Monaco)
            -Hamilton (lying to stewards)
            -McLaren (spygate)
            -Renault (Singapore crashgate)
            -Alonso (holding Hamilton in pits + McLaren clashes)
            -Webber (Silverstone 2011, Brazil 2012)
            -Button (reneging on Williams contract) etc…

            You seem to be placing a lot of weight on that incident when it is by no means the worst a driver/team has done.
            These are super-competitive people who want to win – they pretty much all have incidents. I don’t necessarily agree with what VET did, but that seems somewhat harsh.

            1. Senna crashing into Prost was revenge. I think that in principle Senna was very sporting. I’m sure lots of people outside F1 will get excited by that view but I am off on holiday tomorrow so I’ll not have to deal with it! That is my view and I’m not going to change it. I don’t think Hamilton is unethical at all.

              1. So the lying was OK then? Not that I think Hamilton is unethical… actually I think he is just human… as it Vettel. I know you disagree, but I see great bias.

  24. Silly season with a Red Bull seat going spare…it’s going to be fun to watch, difficult to predict. Happy summer musings Joe! Please take a road trip somewhere fascinating and tell us all about it 😉

  25. Vettel and (potentially) Hamilton are in the pound seats right now, and that must be making Alonso’s samurai head spin, as he feels entitled to the best car, like Senna did before him. Too bad he blew it at McLaren — the Honda package might be another good place to land in a year or so. Vettel and Hamilton are both entering their prime, while Alonso is possibly past his and has shown plenty of emotional weaknesses in the past. I just don’t see a scenario where he is desirable for Red Bull, and the sort of macho argument that Vettel needs to prove himself in another team is just plain silly.

    1. Who said he feels “entitled”? He’s a racing driver. He goes after the best. That’s how they are.

  26. I really hope something changes for Alonso. It’s difficult to forget that scene at the end of last year’s Brazilian GP as he stood there wide eyed watching Vettel celebrate the world championship. It’s likely meaningless but Fernando posted a picture of his birthday cake with the numbers ‘3’ & ‘2’ for his age swapped around to form ’23’: is the passage of time praying on his mind?

  27. this is the best and only reason to have a useful virtual presence at all in my experience so far as a contributor to this form of publishing. well done JS.
    because another virtual service which is based on a limited number of characters ( 140 ) or less to be excact…,
    yours truly is enjoying the possibilities that the ‘ silly season ‘ in the circus of speed branded as Formula One ( F 1 ) is indeed a travel and tourism entertainment platform that dates back to 1979 now.
    any city should seriously consider that the noise levels alone are a significant risk factor for public heath and welfare in my professional opinion. one must be over 18 year’s of age and a responsible adult to enjoy this creative outlet in the 21st century of entertainment.
    please share your contributions like me and let’s simply get along okay?

  28. The other element that makes this all just so much sillier is the new technical regulations next year. Imagine having a big driver move happen, only to go to a team that misses on the new tech. Heck, I thought Hamilton’s move to Mercedes was crazy, but he’s looking pretty smart now with McLaren’s struggles, even with minimal changes. Next year could be much more drastic. So much to look forward to in 2014… But, I’ll continue to enjoy 2013 first.

  29. personally it is becoming painfully unbearable to watch vettel win again and again, or finish in just the right position to extend his lead (if ever so slightly) over alonso. i cant imagine the heartache this causes fernando.

    equally frustrating is webber’s inability (for whatever reason) to be right there with vettel at the front, taking points away from vettel and compressing the title fight.

    i for one believe fernando deserves to be partnered with the world class designer of his generation, befitting his status. but alas, f1 is not a fair world, and one could argue this the other way, saying that michael was the driver of his generation, and had byrne, and now vettel has this mantle and thus deserves newey.

    but what happeed in between? alonso beat michael twice in a row, fair and square. so perhaps fernando has missed his chance to reap the rewards of his laurels at the time by imploding at mclaren and this is just harsh f1 justice….

  30. It is a very interesting view – observation and well lay out, as usual in your reporting Joe. One other thing maybe to add to your take, is the engine data for the 2014 period, seem to so far, from the data that the teams are getting is that the Mercedes Engine is out front, with the Renault engine a very close second, but very worryingly is the Ferrari engine in a distance third place.

    If this “alleged” data is correct for the engines, and Alonso knows this, even with James Allison working his magic on the new Ferrari chassis design, the whole package could be let down by the engine – power unit. This also could be a serious reason to look elsewhere, to get those wins.

    Of course the big risk to a move to Red Bull is that Adrian Newey designs on new regulation, first attempt, aren’t that promising, but yes they do get a lot better. So what is to say that the new 2014 Red Bull is an of the box winner?
    Look at what happen to McLaren this year. Winner of last race in 2012, and lots of people talking about how quick the car was, and that it would be between Red Bull and McLaren this year, and what did McLaren do, but drop the ball, pretty big time. Hero to Zero within months. Of course the Mercedes car has gone the opposite direction to McLaren.

    On a final note, I am sure that Alonso has made mention of his car before when asked, so I don’t think this is the first time, he has said such, about the car. Therefore a little strange that Ferrari Management has decided to step in and make such a comment, again not that common, so maybe something is going on in the background that we don’t know about yet, but then again, Alonso is a past master in the black arts of manipulations, as he has proved or “Alleged” in the past with Spy gate & Crash gate. Of course these sorts of things don’t go completely unnoticed by the true F1 fans, or people like you.

      1. Joe & Gould

        I have two very good friends from days at Uni, going back more than 25 years, and both are very senior engineers at different teams. They have had new engine data for some time now. One is working with the Mercedes Engine and the other with Renault power.
        James Allen on his blog has given the position as to where, in his option the power plants are at, within their current development schedule.
        The two friends have also both confirm, in separate talks about where they think there engines are within the development cycle, right now. Hence the ranking I gave in my statement.

        Therefore, given that it is been talked about within Teams, and also on blogs, then one would think that Alonso and his management people would also know about it.

        I am just repeating something that is already out in the public domain, with regards to performance figures on the engines – power plant.

      1. Power in a fuel mass flow regulated formula is directly dependent of brake thermal efficiency. According to Luca Marmorini Ferrari expect BTE between 35 and 38%. The target at Merc is 40% according to the BBC. The reported price differences for customers are an indirect indication of the power ranking. Teams would pay more for a more powerful unit.

    1. They’re turbos, power can be forgotten unless the thing’s very driveable. Then that’s all mixed up by having the mario kart style KERS mega boost.

      Nobody will know any of this until at least they start popping in the January tests but more likely Melbourne. Then there’s how well the drivers adapt to the torque/boost gradient nature of the engines.

      Frankly, with his style of driving, the Renault engine team in Paris, the team’s money and Newey, I can’t see how Vettel won’t be winning next year. In contrast, a more throttle friendly driver like Hamilton, Kimi or Massa may well struggle to adapt. Alonso’s more understeery style is a bit unknown!

    2. Way back when the 2.5 litre F1 rules were introduced, Coventry Climax had a V8 engine under development. A number of British chassis manufacturers were counting on that engine.

      Maserati published the power figures for their new engine (the one in the 250F) and Coventry Climax backed out because the measured figures for their engines didn’t match the numbers from Maserati. A year or so later, Coventry Climax ran a Maserati engine on the bench and determined that their own would have equalled it. But it was too late to do anything — Coventry Climax got their revenge under the 1.5 litre rules.

      Whatever the engine manufacturers for 2014 say today is being treated with a bigger dose of salt than 60 years ago. Drivers and chassis constructors will be forming their judgements on a wider basis — past magic from the engine design team, packaging of the power train etc. Ferrari and Mercedes are in strong positions to determine that the power train and chassis are a match for each other. Hamilton is thus confident. Alonso has to find confidence in Ferrari or take a walk.

  31. You would think that Alonso would be cautious committing too far in advance after his experience with McLaren, who he had a contract with for 2007 even before he won his first world championship in 2005. We all know how well that turned out.

    Who knows what the running order is going to be like in 2015/2016. Next year’s regulation changes are massive and Red Bull (or Ferrari) could be nowhere. I think the smart thing for Alonso and any other driver would be to wait it out and see how the start of 2014 goes, especially if they already have a contract with a “top” team. The smart thing for Ferrari to do, if they cannot improve their car dramatically in the next few races, would be to abandon 2013 and focus purely on 2014 in the hope of “pulling a BrawnGP” and using that as a base for success in 2015, onwards. Their performance in 2014 will make or break their chances of keeping Alonso.

  32. The question I’m interested in is, who is going to be the ace driver for the McLaren/Honda revival? Somehow I feel that Checo ain’t really anything special. They need to reacquire a little ‘magic.’

  33. This is why I visit you Joe! Your opinion written from facts attained mixed with real on the ground experience. Beautiful.

  34. How does the switch to a new engine formula impact these decisions? Seems like next season could be a real crapshoot among the top teams.

  35. Do you read anything into Montezemolo’s statement? One can only imagine what he said behind closed doors if he said that publicy.

    Schui took 5 years to win a title, then won 5 in a row … so why would Alonso think now, on the verge of the rules changing so dramatically, is a good time to look elsewhere?

      1. What did you make of the present of knives to all the team – allegedly to put it between their teeth ? That’s not what I’d conclude from a present like that !!

        1. My conclusion is that Luca wants them all to dress up like pirates and say “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle rum”

            1. If you are a technical director and someone else is appointed technical director in your place…

  36. “we are not quite sure who will be where in the performance pecking order once the new generation of engines arrives in 2014”

    Surely this is the big unknown for all the driver moves for next year. With such a big reset in the rules, the pecking order could be quite mixed up, although it is true that the cream (and the money) usually rises to the top. But perhaps more than any other year since 2009, there’s no guarantee that Red Bull will be top of the pile. I am sure Kimi, Fernando and any others perhaps looking to move must have this at the back of their minds when making decisions. My personal (and logical?) feeling is that when things are a little foggy, it is best to stay where you are until everything becomes a little clearer. But then I am not a Formula 1 racing driver!

  37. interesting that one poster here seems to have access to ’14 engine data? where on earth does that come from? none of the technical sources that i visit have anything at all by way of comparison. i would dearly like to be able to see what is being suggested so please post your source….that is if there is one.

    1. Hi Kenneth,

      I read it on James Allen’s blog. His explanation is that the data flows down to the supplier teams (sauber, FI, Mclaren etc) as to what to expect. This has then been discussed between rival engineers etc and is the expected pecking order.

      What it doesn’t include is expected reliability! Ie history tells me the Merc’s are more likely to go pop!

  38. “…and was duly fired by outraged Italians.”

    That’s a great line 🙂

    Reminds me of the amusing behaviour of an African or Middle East man when you accuse them of lying. It’s not the act of lying that they take most offence to, it’s the accusation!

  39. Joe,
    Great article.
    Slightly off topic but curious on your views on why Red Bull still has a Young Driver Development Programme. They can now attract established top talent as a leading team, i.e. it’s realistic that the likes of Raikkonen and Alonso sign with them.

    Is the Young Driver Programme about making sure they have an option on the next big thing in F1 – ensuring they don’t miss the next Vettel? Even if it means supporting and then dumping a high number of other drivers?

    1. If you were a young driver who was sure of his talent and his ability to get into F1 you would not touch the Red Bull scheme with a barge pole. It has far too many victims and not enough successes… However, most drivers don’t have the choice. If they find someone willing to pay for them to go racing and climb the ladder, they take the risk.

  40. Do you think it’s time Ferrari thought about getting a stronger no2 to spur Alonso on given the gossip that Ferrari don’t think Fernando’s getting the best out of the car in qualy? I know Webber came close, but maybe another challenge for Jenson…

    1. How anyone can criticize what Alonzo has done with the Ferrari’s he’s had is beyond me.

      Personally, I was very un-fond of the guy in light of his escapades at McLaren, and after the planned crash of Piquet’s kid (which I think had Alonzo’s fingerprints all over it)… but what he’s done in the red cars has rehabbed his rep in my book. I think he’s made his Ferrari’s finish a lot higher than they’ve deserved.

      1. Would be interesting to hear the paddock opinion of whether FA or LM has brought more value to the team.

        1. Luca was deputy to Enzo in the early seventies and they regained the Constructors Crown in ’75, ’76 and 77′ that had last been won in ’64 I believe. He came back as president in the early nineties to try and regain it. Last time it happened was ’83. It took him longer, but he managed the team to do so, six times in a row from ’99 onwards (and then a couple more in ’07 and ’08 just to show). What was your question again?

  41. One of the most recent changes to next year’s tech regs is the exhaust exit, now reduced to a single tube. Cars will be very different next year. Reliability may become a big issue with the MGUH unit (Turbo plus motor/generator) spinning at huge revs, think of a router then times ten. Whilst turbos have run at these speeds before they did not have generator units on the shaft. Tyres are a huge mystery for next year, they need to be quite different from what the regs currently say they must be, there is an explosion coming. Possibly a mid year very major change. (This is very important it involves different suspension designs, the rules/contracts combination do not make sense)

    There is no point in making decisions about next year until we know what the cars are like, Ferrari could be 2 seconds quicker, who knows. I was one of those who said that Lewis’s move to Merc did not make sense and that he was better off staying with a solid proven team. I was wrong, and would be equally so now to predict what is best for Alonso.

  42. The only way I can see this happening is if Vettel who, lets face it, is probably going to win a 4th championship, decides he has nothing left to prove at Red Bull and straight swaps Alonso at Ferrari – a position he has indicated he covets. I’ve often thought that the way Red Bull has been run has sometimes made Vettel more protected than he needs to be. He needs no special favours – that much is clear. Perhaps he thinks that too?

    Alonso probably gets a more competitive car, and gets time to add a championship or two before his retirement.

    Everyone wins at the start of a new F1 technical era. From that point of view it makes sense.

    I still doubt it is likely though.

  43. Joe, other than Vettel, have you heard any whisperings as to who Ferrari’s next favourite son might be, post-Alonso?

  44. I think that the driver market at the end of 2014 will be all important.

    There is the potential for a switch away from chassis towards engine performance, primarily fuel efficiency. Jumping before then would be a bit dumb in my view.

    I thought LH made a good decision moving to Merc. on a 2 year deal on that basis.

  45. Brilliant and well analyzed Joe! There’s always the factor of Bernie to be included in anything happening in the world of F1. Also, where is Kimi coming into this equation? Kimi has shown an amazing ability to remain quiet amidst unpaid retainers while at Lotus and still get on with the job! This display of commitment must surely be seen as an asset to any team entering uncharted territory next year.

      1. True… but also remember his next season there, when he left all the racing to Massa while he cruised around with his elbow out the window with a load of children in the back seat… until there were 5 laps left… then he’d tell the kids to get out so he could go fast for a bit…

        Don’t misunderstand: I like the guy, and am amazed at his very stout comeback… but painting his time at Ferrari as some kind of glory period is a bit much…

    1. They will sack Alonso and hire Raik. Alo sits out the next three years while being fully paid by Santander. Or goes rallying. Brilliamt. Kimi’s revenge written all over it.

  46. The thing is if I were a team owner I would not let alonso drive for me for free, something about him screams sulky child. I hate what he did to Ron Dennis.

    Joe do the bosses of the team forgive and forget about drivers past behaviour or is it about the best driver. And would you employ him if you were a team boss.

        1. Dear me, this again? Surely the core blame for that lies with Mike Coughlan and a number of others? Mosley contended at the time that there was a welter of other evidence indicating much more extensive knowledge of the whole thing in the McLaren hierarchy than just the Alonso-de la Rosa-Coughlan email exchange alone – simply that the FIA chose to use that email evidence to pursue the case, but that even if that particular evidence had never come to light then there was a load of other material (emials, text messages) that would have produced the same outcome.

        2. I don’t think Mclaren will be making Alonso an offer any time soon, but you seem to be laying the whole Spygate incident at his feet. He wasn’t the one with another team’s blueprints.

          1. And McLaren was not the only team that had all kinds of information about other teams. If you look at the evidence you will see that Renault had far more stuff from McLaren in their computers than McLaren had from Ferrari. This is fact. Information and espionage has gone on the sport since the very start. The McLaren punishment was outrageous when compared to Renault. It was all about people settling scores. One day the story will all come out properly but I am not saying more than that at the moment.

    1. Darren – I hate what Ron Dennis did to FA, but we all have our own opinions on the matter.

      But then McLaren have always had an amazing ability to shoot themselves in the foot.

        1. Joe – In terms of how poorly RD handled the FA/LH rivalry, once it became apparent that LH was no Kovalianen-esque driver. FA was hired on the back of 2 WDC’s and could fully have expected No1 status within the team.

          I have no doubts whatsoever, that FA also was responsible for unspeakably machiavellian plotting and action against RD as a result.

          But in hindsight, one has to ask – would McLaren have won more than one driver’s title since 2008 had Alonso been given absolute no1 status in the team..?

        2. Joe – In terms of how poorly RD handled the FA/LH rivalry, once it became apparent that LH was no Kovalianen-esque driver. FA was hired on the back of 2 WDC’s and could fully have expected No1 status within the team.

          I have no doubts whatsoever, that FA also was responsible for unspeakably machiavellian plotting and action against RD as a result.

          But in hindsight, one has to ask – would McLaren have won more than one driver’s title since 2008 had Alonso been given absolute no1 status in the team..?

        3. Joe – In terms of how poorly RD handled the FA/LH rivalry, once it became apparent that LH was no Kovalianen-esque driver. FA was hired on the back of 2 WDC’s and could fully have expected No1 status within the team.

          I have no doubts whatsoever, that FA also was responsible for unspeakably machiavellian plotting and action against RD as a result.

          But in hindsight, one has to ask – would McLaren have won more than one driver’s title since 2008 had Alonso been given absolute no1 status in the team..?

            1. and that is the only thing which matters in this case.. FA cracked under pressure of a rookie. Joe, 100% spot on!

        4. Joe, if Vettel is unethical, where does that put Alonso? One would think teams would be avoiding like the plague, considering his history.

  47. In my opinion Ferrari made a mistake when they re-signed Massa following what was essentially two miserable seasons. To reward this kind of performance is sending the wrong signal from top to bottom of the entire organization.

    Maybe if Alonso had a more challenging teammate he would spend more time self-criticizing instead of acting like he’s the centre of the universe.

  48. I wouldn’t imagine McLaren would be letting Perez go anytime soon since the Peso’s have started to head their way from Mexico.

    But seriously, would McLaren really consider having Alonso again? I seem to remember when Fernando joined them originally he talked about Senna and McLaren and how he followed the team when he was younger – probably all nonsense mind, having obtained a big contract with them he was hardly going to say anything else.

    I shouldn’t imagine Vettel would want Alonso anywhere near RB whilst he was there, good for the team as the constructors championship would be assured by mid season i suspect – bad for SV as his win ratio would drop considerably. Personally i’d like to see him in another car, nothing to do with legacy or any of that nonsense, purely to see how he’d go with another team.

    The kids fast. Period.

    Kimi to RB, Alonso to stay where he is. Whose up for the Lotus seat then?

  49. I actually think that Alonso has been rather unlucky in his career to date. He worked hard to be a 2 x WDC with Renault, but he is undoubtedly a much finer driver now than he was then. To have still won ‘only’ 2 titles and ‘only’ 32 races thus far is pretty staggering given his talent.

    It must be pretty gauling for the lights of Alonso and Hamilton to have to have watched Vettel clean up in the manner that he done.

    I can imagine a scenario in which Alonso goes to RB with Vettel for 2014, only for them to produce a dud, which would not be such a problem for 4 x champion Vettel who can afford one or two barren seasons.

    This would be a bitter pill indeed for Alonso. It will be a travesty in my opinion if he is regarded by the history books as anything other than the best driver of this generation and one of the top 5 drivers of all time.

  50. I tend to think actually it was Ron Dennis who shot himself in the foot, he didnt manage the Alonso- Hamilton rivalry in the correct way i firmly believe that it could have all been avoided if it had been handled right.
    Also at some point in the season im sure Hamilton started getting favored and that it was ultimately led to Alonso getting frustrated and angry after all he was a 2 time world champ and was being played by Dennis.
    Ron Dennis also runied Montoyas career which ill never forget easily.

    Id love to see Alonso go to Red Bull. Bring it on.
    Ferrari are almost there for years, but almost is not enough.

  51. Teams seem to treat driver contracts with as much worth as toilet paper when they want to drop a contracted driver, so surely Alonso could do the same if he wanted out at Ferrari?

  52. BREAKING NEWS: You are all wrong. Newey doesn’t gaurantee titles. Ask Kimi, who should be a triple World Champion. Lotus is the fastest “racing car” (obviously not in one lap) and who developed the car? That man is now working for the prouncing horse. So Alonso should rather stay because he has got a better chance to winning the title since he arrived at Maranello.

    1. Breaking news? What a silly expression. Newey does not guarantee titles. True. No-one does. However, look at the statistics:

      Adrian Newey: World Championship cars (Drivers’ and Constructors’)

      1992 – Williams FW14B
      1993 – Williams FW15C
      1994 – Williams FW16
      1996 – Williams FW18
      1997 – Williams FW19
      1998 – McLaren MP4/13
      1999 – McLaren MP4/14
      2010 – Red Bull RB6
      2011 – Red Bull RB7
      2012 – Red Bull RB8

      That is a might record and it is extremely silly to suggest, given the importance of aerodynamics in the current era that Newey is not important in this process.

      1. Drivers who put Newey into perspective:

        1994 – Michael Schumacher
        1995 – Michael Schumacher
        2000 – Michael Schumacher
        2001 – Michael Schumacher
        2002 – Michael Schumacher
        2003 – Michael Schumacher
        2004 – Michael Schumacher
        2005 – Fernando Alonso
        2006 – Fernando Alonso
        2007 – Kimi Räikkönen
        2008 – Lewis Hamilton
        2009 – Jenson Button

        Imagine Michael Schumacher driving Newey cars. The outcome would have been a complete massacre of the opposition.

    1. And an excellent time for Joe to take a break from all this… before some of the knuckleheads trigger another shutdown of the comments. (Speaking as a knucklehead myself, of course…)

  53. Hi Joe,
    Do you think Fernando’s frustration is because the Ferrari technical department aren’t doing a good enough job or because Newey makes them look ordinary?

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