Fernando Alonso: the driver debates

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Fernando Alonso in his Renault R28 at Silverstone

For years F1 fans asked this question: “Who will finally beat Michael Schumacher?” Finally the answer came: Fernando Alonso.

The 2006 season was unquestionably the high point of Fernando Alonso’s career. With a car that, on balance, no more than matched Schumacher’s Ferrari over the year, he beat the seven-times champion at his own game. He made fewer mistakes, he salvaged more points on the days when his car wasn’t up to the fight, and he defeated F1’s most prolific winner.

That dizzying high was followed by an equally stunning fall from grace in 2007’s season of bitterness. So what is our impression of Fernando Alonso now?

You had to be blind to miss Alonso’s latent potential when he drove for Minardi in 2001. His final performance for the team at Suzuka, beating several far better equipped drivers, is probably the greatest thing a driver ever did in one of the Italian cars.

After a year as Renault tester he returned to action in 2003 and in short order became F1’s youngest pole sitter (Malaysia) and race winner (Hungary).

It was a lean season in 2004 but early on the team threw its weight behind the 2005 challenger and the fruit of their labours – the R25 – was perfectly suited to 2005’s one-off rules that banned tyre changes. With Schumacher’s Ferrari mired in a rare patch of uncompetitivity, and Kimi Raikkonen unable to coax his MP4/20 to the finish often enough, Alonso grabbed his first title in style.

The following season would be much tougher. The opposition from Ferrari grew stronger as the year wore on and we began to see glimpses of a sharper edge to Alonso’s character. He fumed when team mate Giancarlo Fisichella beat him at Indianapolis – though Alonso almost always had the upper hand on the Italian. And when an utterly rotten stewards’ decision went against him at Monza, he voiced his anger quite plainly.

That aside, 2006 was a total triumph for Alonso. He scarcely made a mistake all year long, and his tenacity allowed him to profit from even the tiniest chinks in Ferrari’s armour – squeezing ahead of Schumacher at Istanbul, for example.

Then came 2007 and the fateful switch to McLaren.

It may be some time before we fully understand exactly what happened at McLaren last year. In an interview for F1 Racing this month Alonso said he might tell his side of the story one day.

Alonso is certainly not the first driver to have found the atmosphere at McLaren not to his liking – along with Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya he is in good company.

But there was obviously much more to it than just bad chemistry. All manner of explanations have been put forward: Did Alonso underestimate Lewis Hamilton? Did Ron Dennis promise Alonso number one status with the team and rescind it? Or did Alonso presume that’s what he was offered and discover he was mistaken?

At Hungary next weekend it will be one year since the episode that defined the season – Hamilton refusing to cede to Alonso in qualifying, Alonso blocking Hamilton in the pits, Alonso getting the inevitable penalty, and then (according to Ron Dennis) threatening to reveal damning information about the team to the FIA.

What your opinion of Fernando Alonso is is likely to be coloured by whichever interpretation of the events of 2007 you subscribe to. I think he and Hamilton had entirely equal treatment last year, and the bitterness that erupted from Alonso came from his inability to believe that.

He’s now back at Renault and appears to be merely passing time, gunning for a big result when it’s available, fading into obscurity when it slips away from him. The moment at his home race this year when he spun on the formation lap after qualifying second told you everything about how hard he was trying to pull off a big result in front of his adoring fans.

Alonso would surely be winning races tomorrow if he was in a Ferrari or McLaren, or even a BMW. But his temperament took a blow last year and the kind of mistakes have crept in that we never used to see from him before.

Now the rumours are that he’s heading for Ferrari in the future. Could he recapture his title-winning form there? What do you think the future holds for Fernando Alonso?

More on Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso passes his fans at the Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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79 comments on “Fernando Alonso: the driver debates”

  1. I think in a car Alonso is awesome but being an F1 driver especially an undisputed number one is about a lot more than that and Alonso either hasn’t learned that or is unable to do it.

    Last season demonstrated his character perfectly. Out of the car he was a disaster. But in it despite everything that happened and everything he was at the centre of he produced some stunning drives and matched Lewis point for point over the course of the season. My belief is that in a few years team people will see Lewis as comfortably the best driver around and that Alonso will have performed better against him than any of his team mates.

    I have a feeling Raikkonen will retire at the end of the season. I can see no reason other than his lack of motivation for Massa beating him so often and by so much. Logically if this happens Alonso should slot into his seat at Ferrari.

    I struggle to see Fernando ever restoring his reputation to the level it was at at the end of 2006. Then people thought he was the next Schumacher but that he definitely is not. Had he gone to Ferrari with the old guard still in place and the team wrapped round him h could have been a success but the current Ferrari is not going to make him undisputed number one and I don’t see anyone other than Flavio who will. So he either has to cope with a competitive team mate or let his future live or die on the success of Renault.

  2. I think that Alonso is a good driver but for him to go to Ferrari is not a smart thing, because everybody knows that Scmumacher, Todt and Brawn made the result’s. My opinion is that he would be better of in Honda because the new rules might just go in their direction, because everybody is going from ground 0.
    As Lewis and Alonso in Mclaren, i would say that Lewis beat him in his own game, and is probablly a better driver but time will show.

  3. Steve Roy, toyota would make him number 1.
    rumour is they offered him alot of money last year, and offered to sacrifice Trulli.

    Alonso is the most complete driver of the field, right now.

  4. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    24th July 2008, 13:16

    i agree with keiths interpretation of what happend at mclaren last year, i just dont think alonso is capable of accepting someone can out race him. I stopped watching f1 from 2005 and started watching again last year and i started to support alonso thinking he was the underdog in the mclaren against the might of raikkonen in ferrari, but his behaviour last year was juts, to me , childish. rather than dig deep and prove everyone wrong by blowing hamilton away he started making excuses and i ended up wanting hamilton to beat him. im know a strong supporter of hamilton, but with alonso back in the renault this year i thought id see some great drives from him taking the renault higher than it should be, and once again proving to everyone why he is so good. it hasnt happened, hes made piquet look rubbish but rather than collecting points (which if he had done hed probably be 5th in the championship) hes gone3 for the big result when he doesnt need to. monaco a perfect example. if you look back at 2003 #when alonso 1st came to everyone’s attention he was unbelievably consistent he just kept picking up points and podiums and in hunagry he was awesome winning by a mile. I think them 2 championship years have made him unwilling to accept fighting for anythin other than the top 3 places as everytime hes had a choice between gamble or settle for 6th place hes taken a gamble and lost.

    if alonso does go to ferrari i thnik hel win races no problem, hel win tittles no problem, he wont have the same issues as kimi because he is more consistent and although massa will beat him now and then alonso would do a better job than raikkonen.

    i hope he does go to ferrari because i thnik the battles between him and hamilton could be brilliant i think theyre very evenly matched.

    Alosno is still the most complete driver on the grid in my opinion, he just frustrated at driving such a crap car.

  5. MacademiaNut
    24th July 2008, 13:17

    I think the third best constructor who can make one of his drivers get a world championship is BMW (currently). Given that, Alonso should go to BMW to have any reasonable chance of winning.

  6. What I don’t want to see is Alonso slipping into oblivion, even at the moment so that by the time he gets into another championship winning title he’s still on it and hungry for more. It would be a shame, with Kimi’s retirement possibly imminent, to lose another WC on the grid.

    I wonder how much Alonso has in himself to keep on racing – I certainly can see him equalling, maybe even surpassing, Prost (equal Fangio at tops) in his remaining F1 career, given good machinery. If there was any one single driver I could hire in F1, it would be him (at the moment).

    If Alonso does go to Ferrari, and assuming Ferrari will still be competitive come that time, then it’s going to shape up a nice fight between Alonso in the Ferrari vs Hamilton in the McLaren.

  7. I can’t see Ferrari taking Alonso on unless Kimi retires and they have to panic-buy a top driver.

    Sadly Massa’s stock has fallen massively over the last couple of races and I reckon it will take a huge amount from him to convince Maranello that he’s championship material. They’re unlikely to prise Lewis from McLaren in the next 12 months (no matter how much they offer) and anyone else would be a risk (Kubica, etc.).

    I feel sorry for Renault – if Fernando goes who are they going to line up alongside Piquet (if they keep him as well)?

  8. The Hockenheim race once again has shown us how basically flawed Alonso is as a driver. After the pit lane exit incident with Sebastian Vettel, the red mist decended & he went on to make mistake after mistake. I can also imagine Piquet winning went down like a sack o’ spuds.

  9. I think Alonso is an enormously talented driver and certainly one of the best on the grid. I think it’s a great shame to the F1 world that he’s not in a WCC competitive car.

    As for last year: I’ve never been comfortable assigning total blame to any party of the Dennis/Hamilton/Alonso debacle. I believe that were instances of inappropriate behaviour with all three. Though I have to say that I’m definitely not a fan of Big Ron.

    To piggyback onto a couple of Schumacherthegreatestever’s comments: I too would like to see Alonso at Ferrari (I’m a Tifoso). I think he would fit in well there and could accomplish unknown victories.

    I agree that Alonso and Hamilton are similarly matched and I think the whole F1 world would like to see ROUND 2!! They finished pretty much equally last year so neither one really BEAT the other. All we can say is that they’re both fantastically talented.

    Imagine it……..


  10. Imagin Alonso and Hamilton in Ferrari!!!
    Repeat 2007

  11. Alonso has lost too many points for Renault this season. He only thinks of himself and not the team.

  12. I think he is the best driver on the grid these days, and have enjoyed watching him fight at each and every race this year.
    It takes a true racer to stand out in an inferior car, and he has done this several times this season, Alonso and Vettel for me are the drivers of the year thus far!

    2006 BTW I thought lady luck was on his side to win that championship!

  13. Alonso was equally matched with Hamilton in his rookie season when he didn’t know the tracks and had zero experience. Now Lewis would wipe the floor with him. Alonso would never keep up with him now. The best thing about Alonso getting out of McLaren is that he didn’t have to suffer being blown away this season. He only managed to match Lewis over the season because of the problems Lewis had in the last two races and that isn’t going to happen again.

  14. @KB: How exactly has he stood out in a inferior car. And how do we know that Renault is even inferior at all?

    “”I think we’re solidly the fourth quickest car and possibly in there on occasion with the BMWs which is where we expect to be in terms of the progress we’ve been making. ”

    If you mean by his qualifying performances, then he’s either fuelled light, or setup his car just for qualifying. A desperate measure to get some limelight and not something I expect from a 2xWDC.

    Here are Alonso’s result.
    Australia – 4
    Malaysia – 4
    Bahrain – 10 (Altough Hamilton did stupidly crash into him)
    Spain – Engine
    Turkey – 6
    Monaco – 10 (Lost points by crashing and then stupidly driving into Heidfeld)
    Canada – Crashed out, lost points there.
    France – 8 ( Piquet beat him)
    GB- 6 (Not a great result considering both Ferrari’s were having problems and a lot of DNF’s happened)
    Germany – 11 (Not a great result considering Piquet in the same car was keeping the same pace as Massa)

    Alonso hasn’t done anything spectacular. It’s just his lightly fuelled qualifications giving the illusion that he’s doing well.

  15. *Malaysia – 8

  16. He should stay with Renault . Especially with next years new rules , no reason why he can’t at least win a few races , and keep his reputation going. He’s becoming increasingly known as a moaner , and that attitude has to change. He has the talent to kick butt , just needs the car to do it with , and Renault have shown they can deliver. I savour the idea of Alonso in a Renault beating Lewis more than Alonso doing it in a Ferrari – that has already happened to Lewis and may happen again this year. Finally , I’m pleased to notice above how many agree that him and Lewis were evenly matched in 2007 – contrary to PlanetF1 (pro Brit/McLaren/Lewis site)which I occasionally browse – who actually write that Lewis beat him convincingly in ’07 ?

  17. For me its impossible to compare Alonso with Schumacher.

    I don´t remenber the german beeing overtaked by a youngster teammate in race.

  18. I think Alonso’s attitude is no worse then any other driver, he has a fiery personality and doesn’t mind venting in front of the media. I respect that.

    All the drivers probably complain, but they do it behind closed doors. Most of us would like to see drivers speak there mind more often.

    In my mind he was as good as Hamilton in an equal car. Had he not got penalized in Hungary he may very well be a 3 time champion and then people would be remarking about how Hamilton is not quite as good as Alonso. Instead its the other way around.

    I think its interesting that you bring up how few mistakes he made in ’06 to become champion, but in Japan last year, he pushed too hard trying to catch Hamilton, when if he had held his ground (like in ’06) he would have walked away with 3-4 vital points.

  19. He has stood out, he has qualified the car well, and had some great battles in races..

    Your stats….well done
    Watching the race sometimes tells a different story

  20. Chris Johnson
    24th July 2008, 16:10

    A great driver to be sure, but he seems to not be in control of his emotions, especially the last two seasons. He’s blown some opportunities this year that appear to be from overdriving. But it’s that attacking style that has made him achieve so much. I think a more cunning driver would score more points in that Renault. They should be comfortably fourth in the Constructor’s. The rules change so much for 2009, that unless he can get into Ferrari, he’d be better off staying at Renault another year to see which team adapts best. If I were Ferrari, I rather have Kubica.

  21. AmericanTifosi
    24th July 2008, 17:05

    I have great respet for Ferndo’s driving ability, but sometimes his attitude makes him unlikeable.
    2007 was a fall from grace in terms of his public image, but remember he tied Lewis in points and made fewer stupid mistakes.
    A third title is not out of the question for Fernando, but he will have to fight harder than he ever has before to get it.

  22. Alonso is still the best overall driver in F1, because he has the complete package: speed, racing skill, race management, maturity on track, desire and fighting spirit. He is not the most likeable driver, but he is the best … though by just a hair over Kimi.

  23. F1Fan, I agree that Alonso has the complete ON-TRACK package. But when you take into consideration off-track behavior, there you see his weakness. It’s one thing to be apathetic (like what Kimi may be from time to time), but being antagonistic is a completely different matter. (In particular, I’m referring to McLaren 2007, and to a lesser extent, Renault 2008 from France onwards)

  24. @KB: Watching the race does tell a different story.

    A story that goes like “Alonso qualified the car well only because he was fuelled light, and during the race he goes down the order.”

    As for F1Fan’s comment about Alonso’s race management and maturity on track. Did you see how flustered he was when Vettel overtook him once they left the pits? And then he proceeded to spin out in the race while his team mate went on the finish the race.

    Alonso then publicly downplayed his teammates achievement as “lucky”. Well if Piquet had the speed to avoid being closed down by Massa, why didn’t Alonso in the same car finish higher?

    This year has busted two myths about Alonso

    Alonso is a setup expert – Piquet said that Alonso used some of his setup in the press conference.

    Alonso is great at developing the car – The car hasn’t improved a lot relative to their rivals.

  25. Fernando Alonso is a very gifted driver, but his driving style requires a car that is well-suited for it. He is a “reactionary” driver who enters the corner very aggressively and corrects in apex and off with heavy steering and multiple throttle input, a very similar style to Juan Pablo Montoya. The awesome front end of the Renault and the sticky Michelin tires of 2005 and 2006 suited this style very well. If that had been Montoya in the Renault rather than Alonso, he would have won both those championships, too.

    Hamilton and Raikkonen have a very different style. Whereas they do have a pretty aggressive corner entry in which they carry a lot of speed into the corner (relative to someone like Nick Heidfeld, who is very easy on the car into the corner), it’s not as aggressive as Alonso. They have a very “manipulative” style in which they are able to feel the track and manipulate the energies of the car using brakes and transmission. They’re much smoother on the brakes and transmission, with linear braking and linear throttle application on exit. Alonso will often have more speed in the apex, but Hamilton and Raikkonen will beat him off the corner, which critical for a great lap time. In my opinion, this is what sets these two on a level above Alonso and makes them the best two drivers in the field. (With Hamilton getting the nod as the best.)

    Alonso showed himself to be a very poor sport last year. Instead of buckling down to make necessary changes to his driving style in order to fit the McLaren and the Bridgestone control tires, he pouted and moaned and threw his team under the bus in the media. I’m really not sure that Ferrari wants this possible apprehension in their team, and I’m pretty sure that Sebastien Vettel is the guy they are earmarking to take a seat in the near future given Schumacher’s frequent praise of him. If Alonso wants to prove something to the world, he should stay with Renault and work with them to develop the car to competitive form. His car development skills are unique, perhaps even the best in F1.

  26. Alonso is a truly remarkable driver, one who has shown full commitment in every race he has been in, I doubt if there has ever been a race, Alonso ever had an off day.
    The only problem he has, is that he tends to be paranoid. This was evident in his one and only season at Mclaren. Faced with a formidable opposition in the form of a rookie, Alonso failed to rise above the challenge of having a driver matching his pace consistently and even sometimes exceeding it, and the fact the media, were keen on seeking the attention of this new kid and totally ignoring the 2 time world champion, was a bit too much.

    I began to see another Alonso. One who was constantly whining, making up excuses, talking about his setups being copied, his hands being tied, using hand gestures and sagging shoulders to imply mistreatment when asked questions. Then long after peoples opinions have been formed, he then goes out and says, not even 10% of what was reported, even happened yet did nothing to correct the wrong assumptions in the media when it mattered.

    The fact that a rookie could match him was just too much for him to accept, he got affected psychologically and has never been the same since. Perhaps he thought he could rejuvenate a declining Renault team, but it appears he is contending with a situation where the teams he drives for have totally lost the plot, and his old magic cannot lift them out.

    I still believe, Alonso should have remained at Mclaren, although I had no idea Renualt would still keep going backwards as they did in 2007 but I still felt Mclaren would have been a better option, yes there did existed the risk that he may get beaten once in a while, and that the fighting spirit I’ve known him to possess, would have made him rise up to the challenge and still come out ahead..

  27. Fernando is undoubtedly one of the best drivers on the grid. Naturally talented, and an uncanny sense of aggression that borders on violent behavior make him a formidable opponent. 2007 might be the year that you may call ‘fateful’, but only time will tell if that was the year that made him a man. In 2007, when it was suggested that he might be joining Ferrari, several Ferrari fans felt disgusted by the idea. He was the man who beat Michael on tires that were at least two tenths faster.

    But, all Ferrari fans have always disliked McLaren, and his decision to go to McLaren, was for many Ferrari fans, a vindication of the belief that he wasn’t meant for Ferrari. By the time the season ended, it was evident to everyone, he wasn’t going to be at Woking for very long. His sporadic brilliant performances in 2008, have made the same Ferrari fans sit up and notice him, and slowly many of them are warming up to the idea of him being in Ferrari.

    If he should move to Ferrari or not is a separate debate, but, in all honesty, I would like to see him continue at Renault and rebuild the team and win more championships with them. Although, I do think he is too opportunistic to spend another 3-4 years trying to resurrect Renault.

  28. Come on… You forget very quickly Hamilton’s mistakes during this year (very big ones… again!) to blame on Alonso. Just for the record: Hamilton didn’t win on 07 because of his own mistakes, and Alonso didn’t win on 07 because of Ron’s management. I can see it still hurts for the British…

  29. Renault’s biggest issues it its paint scheme, it makes then 2 tenths a lap uglier.

    They cant seem to cope with the Bridgestones, you would think that after being at Mclaren he would have learned a thing or two… They did pretty decent with the new tires last year.

  30. Arturo – Did Alonso not make mistakes at Canada last year? Or Japan? Without those errors he probably would have been champion.

    Let’s keep the xenophobia out of this. You may believe Alonso was hard done by at McLaren, but you can’t seriously argue he drove a faultless season last year.

  31. If Alonso was in a Mclaren or a Ferrari this season, odds on there wouldn’t have been a 3 way tie at the halfway point. Yes he likes to be the undisputed number one of the team, but I still think he can outrace anyone in the sister car. He’s gettin ticked off during th races because the car is crud.
    When he does end up in a ferrari, we’ll see the old Fernando with his immaculate, consistent driving which is always great to watch. And I do hope we see Hamilton Vs Alonso Round 2. Because I think even though Alonso says he has no beef with lewis, he can’t wait to be able to stick it to him on the track.
    Who knows if Fernando gets the seat by 2010 and Lewis is also a 2 times WDC, things will get very tasty.

  32. Alonso is really a very skilled and good, winning driver. However he is a very bad looser :-) He simply can’t accept he’s been beaten from time to time and acts erratically, especially off-track. But this seems to be a trait of the greats: remember Senna and Schumacher – both used to resort to unsporty actions when challenged or in a weak position.

  33. Sometimes winning is not everything. As a Ferrari fan, I’d prefer losing 3 championships in a row rather than having Alonso in Ferrari. He’s just too “antischumacher”. People complains that he’s been whining for the whole 2007. That’s because he was on McLaren and most of you are UK people are more affected by that (I don’t blame you, it’s logical), but he’s been whining since he got a drive for Renault.

    Being spanish and being from Ferrari has been a hell for the last years. It just seemed that Schumi was the devil, doing some things which would show Max Mosley as an angel. “Fortunately” all the hatred here now goes for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, which of course are guilty of conspiracy against Fernando (yeah, sure)

    After all he said about Ferrari and Schumi, I’d hate to have him in the team. Secure Vettel or Kubica. They’re cheaper, better and less polemic.
    Put Trulli as a second driver (can I say second driver in the media?), a good reliable driver and italian.

  34. I reckon ALonso is the most complete driver of the grid. Kimi lacks motivation, Massa consistency and Hamilton a bit of experience. I raally like him as a driver, I do not as a person (at least his public image) BUT that is the case for most sportmans. Re 2007, we don’t know what happen inside there but I have nothing but respect to a guy that (in my view) was unfairly penalized and whose team admited to be racing him and still manages to end 1 point from WC.

  35. One thing to consider about the possibility of Alonso staying at Renault, which I do think is a very slim possibility, is the reason why he left Renault in the first place, which is the declining commitment of Renault to competing for championships in F1. Their new CEO, Carlos Ghosn, has a history of not being very favorable to motorsport investments, and Renault has significantly scaled back their F1 budget the last two seasons. Alonso, or someone close to him, saw this and advised him to make a move to another team, and McLaren was the best with a ride available (since Raikkonen had been earmarked already for a Ferrari seat).

    Things don’t appear to have changed at Renault with regard to their commitment. If you want to compete with McLaren and Ferrari, you have to spend like them to do it. Because of this, I think it’s a damned good bet that Alonso won’t be sticking around Renault for very long, definitely not beyond next year.

    Will he end up at Ferrari? I don’t think so. I’m almost convinced that Vettel has been earmarked to take a seat in the next three years, and I’m pretty sure he’s the guy that will be tapped to replace Kimi in 2010 if he retires next year. The only situation in which I can see Alonso getting a Ferrari drive is if they dump Massa after this year, but they simply don’t have a reason to do it right now as he’s second in the world championship and is, at worst, a qualified #2 driver at Ferrari to Kimi. And as I said, I’m pretty sure that Ferrari will not want to take on a driver who has a history of stirring up political drama.

    Where will Alonso end up? Difficult to say. BMW is a very good candidate if they decide to dump Heidfeld, which is a possibility. I wouldn’t do it if I was them, as he’s shown he can get the job done in the past and is improving his performances this season of late. Honda is another possibility, and I can see this as an option that’s very attractive to Alonso, with Ross Brawn at the head of the team and a revamp that’s coming. Furthermore, a seat will probably opening there in the near future, as Barrichello is near retirement. He’s already rebuffed Toyota, so I don’t think that will happen, and Red Bull has already stated that his demands were too much for them. So if I was a betting man at this stage, I would say BMW and Honda are the top prospects for Alonso.

  36. Internet,

    you need to digest the fact that Alonso is the best driver in F1, still. The facts remain that he is the youngest driver in history to get pole, win a race and a championship. And he is the only active driver to have beaten Michael over a season … twice. The arguments you provide about how disturbed he may be after being passed are petty. In fact, this shows his competitive spirit and distaste to losing.

  37. I have massive respect for his driving skills,he is a smart racer,has technical skills and he is freakin’ fast.(to echo Sush,he is the most complete driver in the field).However,I lost alot of respect for him last year at McLaren,that was no way for a world champion to act.If he underestimated Hamilton (and he did) he should have got to business and put Hammy away while he had a car he could do that with. If anyone could have it was Alonso.But,he lost his focus to race and wanted to whine instead.

    That said,I still love to watch the man drive,It is a thing of beauty.He can wring every ounce of performance from any car.

  38. Il Tifosi “aa” made a good point.

    I almost can see Alonso, if he were driving the red car instead of Kimi or Felipe, complaining about any red pit wall´s mistakes. The red guys, Saint Luca, been more exactly, would fire him if he would moan a half of he does at Renault.

    These guys fired a driver called ALAIN PROST, a three word champion whom had in his past time, much more prestigious than Alonso today and complain less than the Spaniard…

    If the “aficionados” (Alonso fans!) think that the brit press is very biased or something they really do not understand this business. The Italian press is the most influent press in Europe in terms of motor sport, the “capos”, Ferraris Bosses, really care about the Italian press opinion. They don’t care if Alonso have two or three titles under his belt, if Fernando put a finger out of the route they will turn his life in a hell…

    And as we see above, despite his race craft or driver qualities, emotional intelligence is not one of the Fernando´s strengths.

    Looking under that perspective, stay at Renault and build a team around his will and temperament, is not a bad idea…

  39. F1Fan,

    Do remember – Alonso was also beaten by a ROOKIE Lewis Hamilton. Let’s not even look at Hamilton, the mere fact that a rookie beat him is quite something.

  40. Alonso is IMO the best driver out there. The one chink in his armour is that he does not cope well with frustration – as we saw last year and this.

    If he can work on that area and improve himself mentally, then I think he will be untouchable – even in a not so great car.

    I certainly hope that Nando doesn’t end up at Ferrari ‘cos I hate them and that would put me in a *very* awkward position, but I do have to admit that the battles between himself and Hamilton would be amazing to watch.

    But the Scuderia do seem to have lost some of their magic, and as some others have said, Fernando may not fit in all that well at the team. 2010 at Ferrari is no longer looking like such a sure bet.

    If I were Nando, I’d stick it out at Renault for 2009, and cast my eye over all the teams to see who has adapted to the rules changes best, and then make my move. Probably in the direction of BMW-Sauber, but Honda and Red Bull could be possibilities.

  41. Journeyer,

    when was Alonso beaten by Lewis ? Last I checked they finished w/ the same points last year. And, Lewis was schooled in the McLaren system for almost 9 years before getting in F1. Not your average rookie education. Granted, Lewis is a top driver, but even w/ his schooling and skill he still was not the youngest ever when he got his first pole, or race win.

    Until Lewis wins back-to-back championships, like Alonso did, Fernando will remain the best.

  42. I wonder if F1Fan would be saying that the WDC should be hared between Kimi and Hamilton, had Kimi finished #1 in WDC but with equal points to Hamilton. I bet not. Same difference here with Hamilton and Alonso.

  43. There are many different ways to spin Fernando’s saga, and it’s interesting to hear it from so many different perspectives…

    In my opinion, he’s still got the skills, but the car he’s driving dose indeed limit what he can do this season. While I don’t think he’s having a meltdown, he may very well be frustrated by the team’s inability to compete for podiums and wins. If he were in a McLaren, ferrari or BMW, he’d be winnign races and in the championship chase.

    With last season, I think Fernando had no idea when he came to Woking that Lewis would transition to F1 anywhere near as quickly as he did. As a result, he probably thought he’d have No. 1 status simply because Lewis would simply never be able to challenge him for it. Well, he was in for quite a suprise, and looking back it was starting to crack him early in the season- anyone remember his father-son chat with Ron at Bahrain?

    As for his future, Ferrari is a real possibility, but i’m thinking more and more that he gose to Honda in 2009 or 2010. It would be a major boost in PR/Marketing for them- perhaps even bringing a title sponsor?- and he would obviously give them a real race-winning threat on the grid. I’m waiting to hear what he has to say at Monza this year, and for two reasons. First, if he gose somewhere else next season, it will throw the 2009 driver market into a tailspin. Second, the new regs will open things up a great deal, and whatever team he is with- including Renault- may be competitive right off the bat.

  44. I hope I do not look like a copycat as I had very similar post lined up for today :-)

    I think Alonso has again a big decision to make. He can always go to Kimi, bring him a barrel of vodka and beg him to retire, but unless that happens, he has to make a choice – stay in Renault for one more year and hope for Ferrari in 2010, or take a gamble again and sign up long term deal with team like Honda or BMW. But before signing for Honda he would sure look at what happened to Button’s career there. BMW also might have won a race this year, but so did Honda in 2006 … And what happened to Honda in 2007 … Success today means nothing tomorrow and not only in F1 …

    If Alonso does not get a race winning car soon (no matter if it is Renault or Honda or Ferrari or BMW) I kind of feel his career make take a downturn quickly. He does not seem to be the kind of guy who takes not winning well. His growing frustration is getting obvious …

  45. Agree with Milos – Alonso needs a winning car ASAP, or else he may crash mentally and become yet another Button, Fisi, DC, etc – you know the lot.

    His biggest mistake was leaving McLaren.
    His even bigger mistake will be joining Ferrari. I’d see them in 2009 and on back where they were before the magic four (Schumi, Ross, Jean and Rory) took over.

    (btw, what do you think – Ferrari on a downturn or flat-spot or …?)

  46. F1Fan,

    “When was Alonso beaten by Lewis ? Last I checked they finished w/ the same points last year.”

    True, but remember that Lewis is ranked higher in the championship because he had more 2nd places. In other words, he was getting better results.

    “And, Lewis was schooled in the McLaren system for almost 9 years before getting in F1. Not your average rookie education.”

    Well, that’s true. But he made the most out of that opportunity. And the bottom line is still the results.

    “Granted, Lewis is a top driver, but even w/ his schooling and skill he still was not the youngest ever when he got his first pole, or race win.”

    True. I think Alonso started younger than Lewis though, so Lewis didn’t have much of a chance to take either of those.

    “Until Lewis wins back-to-back championships, like Alonso did, Fernando will remain the best.”

    There’s this quote that goes, “You’re only as good as your last race.” Last 2 races, Lewis won both, Alonso finished 5th and 10th. Not much else to say there.

    I’m not saying Alonso is no good – in fact, he’s VERY good. But if Alonso couldn’t beat rookie Lewis when he was at the peak of his competitiveness, what more when Lewis improves?

  47. I just love the idea that people think Alonso is the best driver out there. He couldn’t beat a rookie team mate. Hamilton is a massively better driver this year than last and he has experience of dealing with all the race weekend technical issues and the pressure of his position. If Alonso couldn’t beat him last year there is no way he could have beat him this year or in the future.

    Whether or not someone was the youngest driver to do something does not affect their ability today. That is like saying Senna wasn’t much good because he was never the youngest driver to win a championship. What matters is current performance and ability not what happened three years ago. Last season Alonso had a competitive car and a rookie team mate and the rookie drove him out of the team and into a Renault. Doesn’t sound like the best driver around to me. Whether you think Hamilton beat him or only matched him last season is not important. Either proves that Alonso is not the best on the grid.

  48. Quite clear to see the Lewis fans dont rate Alonso!

  49. Alonso had to leave Mclaren because he knew he would never be given preferential Number 1 status there and he knew he couldn’t beat Hamilton without it. If the first test of a driver is that they must beat their teammate then the first time Alonso was (properly) tested, he failed. To a rookie as well.

    I’ve always had more respect for drivers who allow anybody to race in the other car and still emerge victorious. You either have to have the natural speed to beat your teammate OR the brains to realise that and insist on favourite status. In 2007 Alonso showed he had neither.

  50. Phil – “Alonso had to leave Mclaren because he knew he would never be given preferential Number 1 status there.” Perhaps he should have studied McLaren’s past form before he signed for them, and realised he would never get preferential number one status there because no-one ever does?

  51. @ Keith (50) – I disagree, Mika did get the number 1 status… I think what he should have studied is that McLaren is really bad at managing two equally fast drivers who are team mates (Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna). The day I had seen Lewis being as fast as Fernando, I knew there was going to be a lot of acrimony in McLaren for that season.

  52. “You either have to have the natural speed to beat your teammate OR the brains to realise that and insist on favourite status. In 2007 Alonso showed he had neither.”

    I just love that quote. I think that that best describes Alonso’s ultimate weakness. And while he may still win titles in future, this will always be his Achilles Heel.

  53. diseased rat
    25th July 2008, 12:22

    KB – “Quite clear to see the Lewis fans dont rate Alonso!”

    I really would not say that. I am a Lewis fan and an Alonso fan. Alonso back in the Schumacher days was awesome, an incredible racer and without doubt one of the best I have ever seen. We has some real flashes of brilliance in the Mclaren as well, although he ultimately let himself down by getting caught up in mind games of his own making.

    It will be immensely disappointing if we don’t see Alonso battling for the top spots again, he is certainly a deeply impressive racer on track.

  54. Nick Caulfield
    25th July 2008, 12:31

    Some people posting here have said that Fernando’s mistake was leaving McLaren but the way I remember it was Fernando was very surprised to leave McLaren. It seemed that he believed he had done nothing different than he had previously at Renault (News articles from April 2006 seem a little tricky to search but one blog I found had a comment “There seems to be some bad blood between Briatore and Alonso for some criticism the champion made of the Renault team.” which seems to match my memory – actually here’s an example http://breakingnews.iol.ie/sport/?jp=cwqlsngbkfoj).

    As the 2007 season ended, Alonso behaved as though he expected that he would stay at McLaren and they would all knuckle down to winter testing and the forthcoming year. He pretty much stated publicly that the reason McLaren had not won the driver’s title was because they had neglected to give him number one status and if that mistake was rectified then all would be OK the following year.

    He only appeared to look for another seat after his McLaren contract was terminated.

  55. I think saying that Alonso cannot be the best driver on the grid because he got beaten by Hamilton in ONE season is far from the best argument someone could use to state their case.

    Alonso beat Michael Schumacher in 2005/2006 (admittedly in a different car) and Schumacher has 10 years of experience on Alonso. But we don’t go around saying Alonso is better than Schumacher, as Schumacher is the greatest F1 driver in history (though some would say Senna but that’s beside the point).

    Last year, if anything proved how much of a great talent Hamilton is. This year he’s continuing to prove this also. But who’s to say that if Alonso was still at McLaren and everything was relatively calm that Alonso wouldn’t be ahead of Hamilton?? He might be, then again, he might not be. The point being it’s all speculative. Both drivers have an abundance of talent and last year, Hamilton made more of his than Alonso did.

    I’m not saying Alonso is the best driver on the grid. But if you don’t believe he is, don’t use the ‘he lost to Hamilton last year: this proves he isn’t’ argument as alone this is a potentially flawed argument.

  56. There is a big difference between saying Lewis is better than Fernando and saying you don’t rate Alonso. Alonso is very, very good but not as good as Lewis. Last season proved that.

    In a car that suits him he will get more out of it than practically anyone else but it is time he grew up a bit and learned to do all the other things that make a driver a winner.

  57. “I’m not saying Alonso is the best driver on the grid. But if you don’t believe he is, don’t use the ‘he lost to Hamilton last year: this proves he isn’t’ argument as alone this is a potentially flawed argument.”

    Well, I guess the better question is: who is the best driver RIGHT NOW? I honestly think Alonso WAS the BEST in 2005/2006. But in 2007/2008, who is the best? Hamilton beat Alonso last year, that plus the fact he was a rookie made me think he is better than Alonso RIGHT NOW.

    Sorry for the caps, but I want to put emphasis. :)

  58. @ Journeyer: No bother mate, semantics count for a lot don’t they ;-)

  59. Throughout Alonso’s F1 career, I never really paid much attention to him or really developed much of an opinion of him even after all his accomplishments, that is until the 2007 season. I’ll make my position quite clear right now: I am in no way looking forward to seeing Lewis Hamilton winning the 2008 championship. But here’s the thing, my sentiments did not arise from anything Lewis, the McLaren team or Ron Dennis may or may not have done. The truth behind the 2007 “McLaren debacle” is something I suspect we’ll never know about…not for some time anyway.

    Alonso handled his time at McLaren badly I think we can all agree: as a reigning F1 world champion you would expect his conduct to have been more sporting. However, are you really all that surprised? No one at that level of competition takes losing well and Alonso’s no different. What I really don’t want to see after the most exciting F1 season in a very long time is Alonso taking the Piquet/Prost route of whining and excuses following their more troubled days but I guess he’s done that already. Still, he can always do worse.

    As for Ron Dennis and McLaren: fortune favours those who prove that they can deliver. Alonso couldn’t do that convincingly and his behaviour certainly didn’t help. I think that’s a fair statement and it’s happened before: Senna and Prost. Prost must have sensed how quickly the winds change off-track. Though he couldn’t match Senna’s pace, he had to seek cleverer alternatives, and he managed to pull out another championship before he left McLaren on a bitter note. Oh yeah, he did all this while he whinged as well…so why couldn’t Alonso have taken that lesson to heart? He would have made it to the 3-time world champions’ circle, become “one of the immortals” and had the last laugh…at least for a while. Understandably, Ron is all too well aware of what transpires when you have 2 “no.1” drivers in your team on that part of the grid.

    I said earlier that I don’t want to see Lewis Hamilton win the championship. And it’s not because I don’t like him. Nothing that he or Ron Dennis did or didn’t do contributes in anyway to my desire to see him fail this year. What really got my blood boiling was what was being said around the paddock. Maybe I’m just getting emotional about it all, but I got the impression that people were just voicing the opinions that others had come up with and had done little or no thinking themselves. In all fairness, I think the British media is quite merciless when it comes to seeing its athletes succeeding and it’s reflected in their writing. However, they’re no different from any other country’s sports journalists and it’s fair enough that they’re hungry to see another British F1 champion after so many years. Of course for journalists, every struggle needs the oldest trick in theatre: conflict. And who better to accommodate for that than Alonso. He’s demonstrated just how unsporting and silly he can be. Actually, I’d be more nervous being Hamilton this season than if I was Alonso; what’s going to happen to Hamilton if he doesn’t win it in the face of so much expectation? After all, Alonso’s not the only one who has demonstrated ungraceful acceptance of disappointment.

    This season we’re finally seeing what happens when Alonso fights an uphill battle amidst so much hostile public opinion and when he has everything to lose. His excessively aggressive driving style is costly him dearly when he clearly cannot match other drivers and their cars in a contest of technical strength. We’ve seen it all too clearly in races like Monaco this year. He needs to be not only fast but clever now.

    Will his relationship with the British media ever be the same again? I doubt it. If you’re still puzzled as to what my major malfunction is, I’ll give an example: accusations of Alonso brake-testing Hamilton at Bahrain this year. Even Ron and Lewis didn’t lay blame on Alonso. It’s because of idiots like them that I’d love to see someone (preferably Alonso) take them down a notch. Maybe it’s just because I’m Australian and therefore I have to be a nuisance to the English, but I’m really looking forward to seeing him piss on their chips a bit.

  60. Okay, I’m not UK citizen and not a great Lewis fan either (or therefore ;-)), although I respect his talent alot.
    Yet, remember 2007 – Lewis was actually the bigger whiner than Alonso. He was the first who started complaining and whining “oh, I’m in the #2 car you know”, “ohm he blocked me” etc, etc. When comparing Alonso and Lewis this has to be taken into account.
    And also remember – Lewis actually managed to loose the 2007 championship which was really in his hands ;-)

  61. I guess that’s the thing about Lewis – he was a lot more subtle than Alonso. Yes, he whined, but he did it in such a way that it didn’t seem like a whine. In other words, he outmaneuvered Alonso. But Alonso whined too, so they cancel each other out there.

    The bottom line is their results – as well as how they matched up to expectations before the season started.

  62. Keith #50: “Perhaps he should have studied McLaren’s past form before he signed for them”

    I agree, I can think of 8 teams that are more likely to give a driver such preferential treatment. Williams is the other one.

    journeyer #52: Thank you, you made me realise though that I’d omitted something. I meant to say: “OR the brains to realise that YOU DON’T and insist on favourite status”

  63. Many would argue Kimi got preferential treatment at McLaren. I am sure F1Fan would deny that though.

  64. About Alonzo and Lewis.

    Mark Hughes has made last year one of the most interesting insights about the way Alonzo approach Lewis when arrived at Woking.

    Hughes tells that in pre season tests in Valencia, after Lewis crash trying to beat Alonso´s pace, Alonso confess to his fellas from Spanish press that he can’t understand why Mclaren had signed Lewis as he wasn´t “especially” fast.

    In a interview after the race in Australia/2007, Fernando answered on this mood about the thread that Lewis could be:

    “I have in the past had Fisichella have a more successful start to the season than me but he was not close by the end of the season and this is all we are seeing here.”

    This kind of Alonso´s mentality, underestimating Lewis, is the same one that still makes he speaks his mind about Nelson´s podium. At this moment, the most popular F1blog from Brazil has a bunch of Brazilian F1 fans disliking Alonzo because of his recent words…

    He didn´t learn anything from the last year…

    About Lewis trying to match Alonso´s pace in Valencia in early 2007: for me is very significant learn that Lewis has Alonzo at his target in the first beginning. Shows the kind of driver Lewis is: very, very killer.

    Without Alonzo in the team, pressure him and the team, playing mind games with him and with the team, gives me the feeling that Lewis is going to win the championship this year.

  65. We really don’t know what Alonso’s legacy will be because hopefully he still has a very long career ahead of him and its on the totallity of a driver’s career that we judge them. I for one and looking forward to seeing what he will do in the future whether it be in a Renault, a Honda or a Ferrari.

    With regards to his character, Journeyer hit the nail on the head, Lewis last year was more subtle in his mother tongue that Alonso was in a second language. Furthermore public personalities tend to create or have created for them an public image/stereotype and Alonso’s has been clearly established as a whiner, poor looser regardless of whether that is true or not. And I don’t claim to know whether it is true or not but I did read this today:

    “Ojalá haga podios de aquí a final de año Piquet y hagamos cuartos en Constructores”

    – I hope Piquet makes it to the podium every race until the end of the year and we finish fourth in the constructors championship.

    “He tenido muy buena suerte en 2005, 2006 y 2007, este año estoy teniendo muy mala”

    – I had very good luck in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and this year I’m having bad luck


  66. cs: could you please translate this? :)

    ” Y luego con Vettel, que iba por el pitlane, y le levantaron la paleta, y salió, supongo que en caso normal es penalización, esta vez no la hubo”

    He keeps bashing the team about traction and insisting that nelson had a lot of luck, because that’s only way to get a podium with renault. Let’s see if he says the same when he actually gets a podium.

    well, I said I didn’t want Alonso @ Ferrari… well, I must say that I’ve been thinking and maybe Luca Badoer & Marc Gene should get a good deserved rest :)

  67. aa, that’s my point exactly. Your quote is the typical Alonso quote that we read all the time and it supports the whinning stereotype. But he says a lot of other things that suggest a more rational and rounded personality. Its just that they don’t tend to get focussed on.

    And we will see what he says when (if)he gets a podium but I translated a quote where he says he had a lot of good luck in the two years he won the championship, which sort of answers your question.

  68. Before the qualifying, Alonso said that about Nelson:

    “But there is a clear target for the rest of the season: to finish fourth in the constructors’ championship. So we need points from both drivers. I will do my best and Nelsinho will do his best, but today it will be difficult for him to score any points.”

    Considering how bad and poor is Piquet´s Job, isn´t this clearly pressure?

    Ok, someone will say that he speaks his mind, that were true bla, bla, etc

    After the Race Alonso said about HIS own race:

    “People like my teammate, who had some problems during the weekend, who could not find the pace, suddenly get a safety car period and found himself on the podium. So that was basically it.

    Ok, very true, end of history. But is Alonzo a team leader or not? He cannot congratulate the guy who shares the box with him after the race. And About the PACE, Nelson said that “Fernando even used a bit of our set-up as I think they went the wrong way a bit.” Someone is not saying the true and I´m still waiting Alonso deny what Piquet has said.

    James Allen in ITV site made an interesting statement about Piquet in Renault this weekend:

    “…Others including Ferrari did a lot of laps because the conditions were tricky and they wanted to be sure and a rookie like Piquet needed a little bit more care than Renault gave him.

    When he did not make it through to Q2 the team did not support him very well in their press statement about qualifying – saying that his result was disappointing, when in fact it was a lot to do with pressure they had put on him.

    His performance in the second half of this race shows that he’s a better driver than he’s been allowed to demonstrate so far…”

    When Allen says “the team did not support him [PIQUET] very well” I included Alonzo on it.

  69. Keith,

    maybe you should run another column on Heidfeld. If the championship had started 4 races ago, he would be leading it.

  70. F1 fan: There is no doubt that Heidfeld is a very good racer and an average/bad qualifier which of course if the bad qualifying streak continues might finally take its toll on his racing performance as well. Coupled with his age he might go down the Coulthard road, which is not too shabby although not that good either.

    The opposite can almost be said for Heikki, good qualifier, average racer, so I’d much prefer a debate on him instead;)

  71. Keith
    After seing all the comments, its preety clear that the majority of the readers of this site are Lewis/Ron fan. And undoubtedly they love to see good words about Lewis and bad ones about Alonso/Kimi/Massa..
    Undoubtedly Lewis is a very good driver, but I do beleive had Kimi/Alonso been in McLaren Drivers seat, the no 1 position in WDC would still have been McLaren’s. And by a better margin.

  72. Probably not, Nirupam. They would still have taken lots of points off each other. Now Massa paired with Alonso, Raikkonen or Hamilton would have been another matter entirely…

  73. @Nirupam: You couldn’t be far from the truth. Just go read the comments in this article

    to see how many here dislike Hamilton.

  74. @Alianora
    Last year Mclaren was enjoying 1-2 in WDC with Alonso/Hamilton till the last two races and then spoiled their chance of finishing 1-2 themselves by getting involved in controversies rather on racing.All they needed todo was to get both their drivers in podium, and at least in one occassion deny Kimi a race win! So there is no reason actually why a Kimi/Alonso or Lewis/Kimi pairing cannot provide lead in WDC.
    We all know how big difference Kubica created between him and 2nd placed driver at the best driver’s voting. Does that really mean he is so much ahead of the rest of the guys? If you go through all the comments you will find yourself the number of readers who are Lewis-Fanatic and cannot even accept his mistakes

  75. In a recent magazine interview, former champion Damon Hill was asked quite bluntly, on how it felt to be sacked by Williams back in the 1990’s?
    Hill, in typical fashion, suggested that he felt at the time, that as he was the defending world champion for Williams, that he thought his position was solid within the team.
    That assumption would prove to be totally, and utterly wrong. In Alonso’s case concerning last year, there are some simular instances to the situation that Hill found himself in. In fact, I believe Alonso’s case was far worse.
    Alonso was a defending, double world champion on joining McLaren. He had beaten Michael Schumacher two years in a row, something nobody had achieved since Mika Hakkinen.
    The big point, and one that nobody seems to mention, is that Michael Schumacher by 2007, was no longer in the fight. Fernando Alonso, without question, with Schumacher no longer racing, was out and out the number one man on the grid.
    He was a proven race winner, a proven champion. There was no way, no way at all, that Ron Dennis would not give him number one status at McLaren.
    What happened afterwards, taking into account the conditions at the time, was always going to happen.
    No one knows for sure what really happened, but for me, the seeds were sewn with the retirement of Michael Schumacher.
    The main threat to Alonso’s third title, was removed.
    Sure, there was Raikkonen, Massa, but Schumacher was always the barometer for Alonso’s success up until now.
    In my eyes, Alonso still deserves his acclaim. He shows emotion, if sometimes negative, but indeed emotion. Alonso in a race winning car is something F1 needs.
    I defy anybody, who wouldn’t want, to see Alonso and Hamilton go toe to toe again for the championship? I am pretty certain Raikkonen would, thats for sure.

  76. Fernando Alonso has a tremendous talent, he is more like Alain Prost than Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher of today. He is a thinking driver much more like Prost. He does not have that sheer speed like Senna does, which Kimi or Lewis does. Alonso is quite quick, but he is not that quick like Kimi can be. See 2005 Monaco GP Qualifying. Kimi did was Senna would do to Prost.

    Now, he is quick of course. You got to be quick to beat Michael Schumacher! But, the brute speed that he has is not there… Schumacher had it all. Senna had it all. Alonso does not have that kind of speed that makes you say, “Sweet Lou, that was darn fast!” Senna and Schumacher did. Kimi does.

    Alonso is much more of a thinker than Kimi.

    He will be back… I think he can win two more titles just like Prost.

    But 7 titles? That is a record that will not be broken by Fernando or anyone, not even Lewis will do that…

    It will be a long, long time before anyone will approach Michael Schumacher’s record.

  77. Nirupam.

    ‘Cannot even except his mistakes’.

    Following the Bahrain, Canadian, and French Grand Prixs, I think quite alot of people excepted that Hamilton is not flawless. He recieved plenty of flak for what happened in Canada, so I can’t buy into your argument on that.
    Would a Kimi/Fernando lineup at McLaren worked? That is a good question, and hard to guage. Raikkonen/Montoya certainly did not succeed as well as one would have imagined, and I suspect that Alonso and Raikkonen would have probably cancelled each other out.
    Also, you must remember that Alonso has history racing with Raikkonen. They both entered Formula One back in 2001, and both emerged quickly as potential champions. Mentally, Alonso has always excepted Raikkonen as one of his main rivals.
    It came as no surprise to him that Raikkonen would be fighting for last years championship. The surprise was that his team mate was competiting also, and he was not prepared for that. No one was!!
    That is not bias, just simple fact. If Alonso can get his hands on a real motorcar, then he will be back where he belongs.
    I am no fan of Hamilton, but I would much rather watch a championship fought between three or four top drivers than just one, year in year out.

  78. I am not a Hamilton fan, but I think Alonso is a bit overated.

    This season, we have seen Trulli, Piquet, Couthard, Barrechello, and Glock, drivers debatably having inferior equipment got on the podium. On the other hand, in spite of the aggressive strategy that Alonso often used, he has still not achieved anything spectacular.

    I am not denying that he had defeated Schumacher before, but I think Shumacher at the time had already passed his prime, and we look at Massa’s performance back then, maybe Ferrari at that time was not as closely matched with Renault as we thought.

    Last year with Hamilton as a teammate, Alonso enjoyed some strategy benefits at the begining, and if Hamilton had not made a series of rookie mistakes at the end, Alonso would have finished behind a rookie.

    IMHO, Alonso will be ranked in the history close to other 2 time wolrd champions like Hakkinen, but lower than the like of Stuart and Lauda.

  79. Fernando is the best driver in F1 at the minute and 2007 didn’t change anything for me at all, if anything I like him even more now. I think he should be at Ferrari next year and I would love to see him back to winning again.

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