Alonso warns unpredictable F1 could lose credibility

2012 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso warned F1 is in danger of losing credibility because results have been so unpredictable this year.

Speaking to CNN Alonso said “It’s a fantastic season, it’s so unpredictable. I think people stand in front of the TV with some surprises every race and it’s good for the audience, it’s good for the sport to bring attention to the races.”

“On the other hand we can lose credibility. We cannot lose that the best teams, the best drivers, the best strategies or whatever, they win the races. Because at the moment from the outside it seems that in every race [anyone] can win and it doesn’t matter the talent, it doesn’t matter the team, the performance – it’s like a lottery.

Alonso, who is leading the world championship by three points ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, said that what a driver achieves in Formula 1 is “not by chance”.

He added: “We need to make clear that if you win a race, it’s because you did something better. And at the moment I don’t know if this is clear for everybody.”

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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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121 comments on “Alonso warns unpredictable F1 could lose credibility”

  1. I don’t know about that. The last two lines don’t seem to apply in 2012 – Button was the best in Melbourne, Alonso by far the best in Malaysia, Rosberg the best in China, etc. I don’t think we’ve seen a race win where the winner doesn’t deserve it.
    If anything, it’s down to driver talent that decides races these days, and isn’t that what everybody was looking for? I sure as hell was.
    The fact that the world championship leader is doubtful about the season speaks volumes, but I still don’t think it’s anything to worry about.

    1. jimscreechy (@)
      1st June 2012, 12:27

      I disagree completely, and agree with Alonso. Ciaran you say you don’t think you have seen a winnner who doesn’t deserver it but by his own admission Alonso was lucky to win the first race… and then some. I am not by any means saying he isn’t deserving, we all know he one of the best on the grid, but in that particular race it very clearly came down to the tyres, the same for Perez’s second place. All the drivers on the grid are deserving so that argument doesn’t really stand. Its been very clear that the race winner in any event will be the car with the best characteristics to suit the tyre on that particular track. I wouldn’t mind so much if we saw them racing each other wheel to wheel, instead we get an 50+ lap excercise in tyre management.

      1. Its been very clear that the race winner in any event will be the car with the best characteristics to suit the tyre on that particular track.

        And what is wrong with this? Last year it was very clear that the race winner will be Vettel.
        Every season there are more and less suitable tracks, weather for a car. Now the teams are closer to each other and tyres could decide a race. As they decided 2, 5, 10 years ago…

        Wheel to wheel racing cannot even be seen in feeder series…

        1. jimscreechy (@)
          1st June 2012, 17:53

          What’s wrong with that is exactly what is stated in the article by Alonso, it makes the outcome a lottery. Not the best car the best driver or the best team, just a convergence of random characteristics surrounding the tyres. Last year I didn’t mind Vettel winning because he had the best car, and for me at least is one of the best drivers. I was also able to see proper racing. If you want a racing classification where the outcome has nothing to do with performance or driver ability… I suggest Scalextrix.

          1. I still don’t see this lottery people speak of. Ferrari and Alonso capitalised on a wet track when their car was poor because their rivals simply weren’t driving or following a strategy that was up scratch. Maldonado was a true surprise. That aside, which of the successful drivers and teams didn’t you think were likely to win races this year? Button, after his best season last year and in a car that testing indicated would be good? Vettel and Webber, also in a car tipped to to be one of the two best cars? Rosberg, in a team that has been expected to eventually to come for a while, particularly with its innovative DRS?

            5 teams have won races so far. It’s unlikely that more than 6 will by the end of the year, which isn’t any kind of record. 4 of those teams have all variously been tipped to have good years.

            “If you want a racing classification where the outcome has nothing to do with performance or driver ability”
            Other than Maldonado, which of the wins, and which of the podiums even, have appeared to be atypical? If it was a lottery I imagine we’d have had several new winners, rather than 1 (almost 2)? And one of the new teams would have lucked into the points. Force India and Toro Rosso wouldn’t look to be the consistently weaker midfield teams.

          2. Just realised the glaring obvious point that Rosberg was of course another new race winner, but I don’t think that detracts much from anything I’ve said seeing as he was tipped to be the best win-less driver who was just waiting for slightly better consistency.

          3. I don’t agree, this year isn’t a lottery, every race the fast cars and drivers are up the front, and the slower ones are down the back.

            What’s different, is that certain cars are performing better than others on certain tracks. The Mclaren was the star of the field in Melbourne, and the results reflected this. However, more recently, the car is visibly not as competitive, and the results show that.

            The Ferrari has good race pace, that’s why Alonso is making ground in the races. Rosberg was going to win sooner or later, and the Mercedes is very quick this year, especially in qualifying.

            It’s far from random.

    2. xeroxpt (@)
      1st June 2012, 18:56

      I’m sorry if my comment is a bit of topic but I’m pretty sure that Alonso unlike Surtees simply says “F1 cannot lose credibility” rather than implying that F1 is loosing credibility he is just hoping that that aint gonna happen.

      1. xeroxpt (@)
        1st June 2012, 19:00

        Finally, he’s english is rubbish but he is trying to say that in F1 talent, tactics, quality still matters although he belives that that isnt being evident enough from the TV screens.

        1. xeroxpt (@)
          1st June 2012, 23:13

          bad piece of journalism here both by CNN and unfortunately by F1 fanatic, Im sure this assumptions are going to be denied by Ferrari, they were just trying to praise themselves but they failed miserably.

          1. Not really, just people not reading properly.

            When Alonso says, from the outside. He clearly means that, it may appear random. and thus lose credibility. Not that it actually is random. But I’m not seeing people pick up on that.

          2. I think FA is correct in what he is saying, and at the same time I think the days are numbered before we see a repeat winner and some patterns developing as the season goes along and the tires become less of an unknown. So I agree completely with what FA is saying, and I also don’t think F1 losing it’s credibility due to a ‘lottery phenomenon’ is a concern…that will go away before the half-season mark.

    3. Cyril Rutgers
      2nd June 2012, 18:47

      This is the usual stuff from Alonso. By which I mean his utter conviction that some drivers are ‘premier’ (guess who?) and that results should reflect this ‘natural order’. Message to rest of field: ‘Fernando is faster than you’.

      1. That’s was a thought after reading the piece. Alonso didn’t seem worried about F1’s credibility when Piquet Jr smashed his car into the wall so he could win a race. But now, when you can have a race winner that is not the best driver on the grid, he is worried.
        Well, to me that sounds like complete, utter rubbish.
        What destroys F1’s credibility are toy tyres, DRS and the PlayStation-style KERS button. And drivers who speak rubbish like this, even if they are very good drivers.

  2. Agreed. Who could predict that a Ferrari driver would lead the world championship 6 races after the winter tests? I really doubt if it has anything to do with the driver’s qualities or the team’s strategy and pit stops, obviously it was just pure luck and both Alonso and Ferrari don’t really deserve that.

    1. Assuming sarcasm has been correctly detected, I think you’re missing the point completely – especially because the important quote is from Alonso himself:

      …at the moment from the outside it seems that in every race [anyone] can win and it doesn’t matter the talent, it doesn’t matter the team, the performance – it’s like a lottery.

      Of course Alonso has been great, the Ferrari pitstops have been fast and the strategy has been well thought out – but if you’re telling me that you could have predicted that the same nervous Ferrari we saw at Melbourne would handle well in the wet at Malaysia (as well as the Sauber) then you are a genius. It wasn’t all down to Alonso’s undoubted driving abilities and he knows it.

      1. So, racing drivers graduate to formula 1 so they can retire from racing on an equal footing and hopefuly drive for the dominant team and take all the spoils without really trying?

        1. It’s a mixture! It’s not a black and white issue, it’s just that at the moment it feels like too much of a lottery and Alonso thinks so too.

          Don’t just think about the drivers, think about all the hundreds of talented engineers back at the factory doing hard work only to find that it means absolutely nothing because the track temperature is 1 degree outside of the tyre operating temperature.

      2. I think the irony of it is that Alonso diminishes the worth of his own and his team’s achievements this year without providing credible arguments that F1 has really turned into a lottery. Of course, there was some luck involved but luck has always played some role in F1 and there have been enough surprises in the history of the sport, too. You need to use the opportunities when they come and Alonso has done exactly that this year so, in my view, it doesn’t make sense to belittle his own success, unless this was a clumsy attempt to play down expectations for the upcoming races.

        1. Watch the video. You have lost his message.

        2. without providing credible arguments

          Are not the arguments plain for everyone to see? Rosberg untouchable at Malaysia, Williams with a pole to flag victory, Ferrari fast in the wet, McLaren advantage at Melbourne vanishing, Sauber almost winning, Webber pole and win at Monaco having not been on the podium before.

          There’s nothing wrong with luck and unpredictability, not knowing what’s going to happen makes things exciting of course – but too much of it and there is no stability for a healthy competition.

          It’s a mixture that needs balancing – Alonso coming out and saying these things is a good thing for F1 in a dialectical sense. Don’t worry, I’m sure he doesn’t want a return to the Schumacher dominant years either.

          Of course, there was some luck involved but luck has always played some role in F1 and there have been enough surprises in the history of the sport, too

          Indeed, but not every race. Think about having Christmas every week. Sure it would be great for the first month, but it would start to get pretty tedious – so much so that come December 25th you just wouldn’t care anymore.

          1. I think you have lost the point, he is not saying that 2012 is a lottery, he is saying that F1 needs to explain to the casual viewer a bit better WHY it is not a lottery.

            The cars are so closely matched now, the top six or seven teams covered by fractions of a second that it is not surprising that how each car uses it’s tyres and the track temperature affects each team differently at each race. It is not Pirelli’s fault. The tyres are consistent at each race. It is each teams operating window that is dependant on the weather/track conditions/car set-up.

            We have seen very close seasons before where these conditions can determine the championship. 2008 is a prime example. If it was hot, the Ferrari would win, if it rained or was particularly cooler, the McLaren would win. The same happened during the Tyre War years, One race would suit a particular make of Tyre and another would suit the other.

            In the past, there was only 2 or maybe 3 teams that were competitive enough for the victory no matter what the conditions, now that there is a more competitive grid, it is the small things that can make the difference, including the miniscule differences in pitstop times that we are now seeing.

          2. I quote his comment:

            providing credible arguments that F1 has really turned into a lottery

            Of course WHY it has turned into a lottery (if indeed it has) is a completely different question, and one that your comment explains very well I think – but I take issue with your calling a close grid necessarily a competitive one. Competition should rely on luck, but not this much IMHO.

          3. @John-h, what I understood to be @asanator‘s point, is that its not about luck as such as small margins making a relatively large difference in the results because of close margins, combined with having track specific and temperature related characteristics that suit different cars.

    2. that Ferrari driver is a double world champion probably the best driver on the grid & one of the all time greats Fernando is world class driver that doesn’t depend on what car he drove whatever car he drive he will squeeze it 100% & now he’s driving like Niki Lauda & Alain Prost

      Pure Luck

      i understand your frustration but this isn’t the right word please change it
      Pure talent

    3. Exactly, it’s a complete lottery. Like picking names out of a hat. That’s why Pic, De La Rosa and Petrov have been the highest point scorers over the last two races.

      1. The season is still young and I predict the lottery factor will go away in the next handful of races as teams improve their abilities to understand the tires, and as the odds diminish that we will keep seeing different winners winning races. We’re soon going to see some repeat winners and some patterns emerge imho.

  3. If you really are the best team, the ebst driver etc. then you will grasp any opportunity no matter what happens.

    From another side – if Alonso whants to be trully tested as the best driver then F1 needs to go to spec-cars – so every single parameter (except the driver) is the same for all. But in reality this sounds like a bit of whining. I have nothing against this randomness and i seriously doubt this 6-win-streak will go on forever, thou it would be sad to leave Pedro, Narain, Timo and Charles without a win.

    1. Too much randomness and F1 may as well become a single spec series. Why bother with each team investing millions in engineering research and development if F1 becomes too much of a ‘lottery’ (Alonso’s words not mine).

      I believe some are missing the point that F1 has never been about having an even playing field, and that is what makes it special. I seem to be agreeing with Alonso more and more these days, never would have thought it but he is speaking a lot of sense in my opinion.

      1. Well maybe i misunderstood the original topic, but i had the feeling that it is something of “we spend so much money (Ferrari), but in the end we get a lottery” type of attitude.

        The winner in F1 is not the one who spends the most money (in this category winners would be those crazy people who build islands in see or bu the 40th Lamborghini), but the one who can handle the surronding parameters (as changing they are this season) and use to their advantage – so it seems that so far noone has hit the “sweet-spot” and we have the situation at hand.

        Would it be better if Vettel dominated the field as 2011? Or maybe Alonso finished 6of6 wins with his wingman Massa covering everyone else? I choose lottery – and in my eyes it isn’t any credibilty concern.

        1. Your last paragraph reveals my frustration with a lot of the comments:

          Would it be better if Vettel dominated the field as 2011

          I choose lottery – and in my eyes it isn’t any credibilty concern

          These are the two extremes. Of course 2011 is not great, but neither for me is 2012.

          Something in the middle of the two would be nice, but you seem to have your lottery at the moment so enjoy it I guess.

        2. I think you’ve hit at the real crux of the issue, which is thatif the big teams/drivers feel this way it is because they are spending lots of money and not winning. That’s it.

          If Caterham had come up with some development and were dominating the field on a miniscule budget (a la Brawn GP in 2009), the big teams would not be saying, “Hooray, consistency!!” They’d either be complaining about the legality of the Caterham, or they’d be hard at work developing their car to respond.

          And that is exactly what they should be doing now. I understand that the tires are a bit of a mystery but if Ferrari found out the secret to using the tires tomorrow they would fall silent immediately on the whole “lottery” issue. They would tout their engineers abilities to develop the car and get on top of the tires.

          So my response to Alonso and everyone else in F1 who is complaining is get back to work. You are paid quite handsomely to do nothing important. Quit whining about the unpredictability. (I’m not saying that they have no right to complain about anything, but this makes them look sad and pathetic.)

          1. Formatting/spacing of italics leaves something to be desired.. it is too unpredictable. :P

          2. He’s not complaining at all! Have another look at the video, or his words. He points out that the unpredictability may look like results are just chance (and if that were the case, that would make f1 lose credibility), but instead, results are due to the hard work of the teams and he wants the audience to understand that. It doesn’t sound like he is shying away from any of the hard work at all.

          3. Just how are the engineers supposed to “get on top of the tyres” when there are multiple combinations of S.soft, soft, medium and hard and each will behave differently depending on the temperature of the track from minute to minute, that truly is a lottery.
            Of course the top teams will still have an advantage over the bottom teams so don’t expect to see an HRT winning but we could see a Caterham beating a top team/driver, oh wait! we already have.

  4. Third person so far, after Button and Prost.

    Starting to see a bit of a pattern emerge.

    1. And I love how mad Keith seems to be on Twitter. Just because he was involved in Singapore 2008 and Germany 2010 (he wasn’t even the one coordinating those two) doesn’t detract from his credibility, especially as, with something that isn’t anywhere near the best car, he leads the championship.

      1. Well, but its the drives championship isn’t it? And I would say its pretty clear that the best drivers are on top of the championship standings. That is not really unpredictable at all @pamphlet! And in the team standings, I would say its pretty much the teams that have the fast cars, and made less mistakes, that are topping the standings too.

        I know that Alonso is not saying it ruins the sport yet, but really its a tad rich for him to be saying much about bringing down the credibility of the sport after having been at the thick of some things that hurt it quite badly.

        1. I don’t even think that it’s that unpredictable. After all, the only person who hasn’t won from pole yet is Hamilton. Every other polesitter won the very race that they qualified first in.

          And it’s not rich at all – saying that Alonso fully coordinated those two events is like saying that Schumacher was the one who forced Benetton to fit his car with illegal aids in 1994.

          1. I do not for a moment imply anything close to this

            saying that Alonso fully coordinated those two events

            @pamphlet, Its just that Alonso of all people should know what hurts the credibility of the sport or not.
            If you would ask just about anyone now in the Paddock, I am not sure they would see a better example of something that did hurt F1’s credibility than the Singapore 2008 race (with Germany 2010, Spygate, the Flexiwing and blown exhaust debacle etc. ranking behind that, I guess.)

          2. After all, the only person who hasn’t won from pole yet is Hamilton. Every other polesitter won the very race that they qualified first in.

            Well then it’s who qualifies first then that is so unpredictable. In fact, the qualifying unpredictability is what we should be concentrating on.

            No one is retiring in the races because they don’t push at all and drive to a delta time, hence the order pretty much remains as is in the race.

      2. @pamphlet I better explain what you’re referring to for the benefit of those not on Twitter. What I said was:

        I would say Singapore 2008 and Hockenheim 2010 did rather more damage to F1’s credibility.

        First, it’s a bit of a leap to go from a single tweet to talking about how “mad” I seem to be, don’t you agree?

        Second, I think you can state quite objectively that those two incidents did damage’s F1’s credibility.

        In the first, a driver won a race after his team mate was instructed to crash on purpose to help him. Despite this serious act of cheating being proved, the driver and team were allowed to keep the win. Over 70% of this site’s readers said the FIA’s punishment was too soft.

        In the second, a team clearly contravened the rules forbidding team orders by instructing one driver to move over and let the other win. Again, there was no meaningful punishment. Three-quarters of this site’s readers said the FIA were too lenient.

        Failing to adequately punish someone who has benefitted from flagrant violations of the rules is, to me, a far more serious blot on F1’s credibility than the fairly unpredictable start we’ve had to the season (six winners in as many races is not unprecedented, after all).

        In both those situations Alonso was the benefactor. And now Alonso is the one presuming to lecture everyone on “F1’s credibility”? I find that a bit rich, hence the tweet.

        1. +1.

          I can’t link the so called “lottery” with loss of credibility.

        2. I was a bit confused about “mad” too – are we talking “annoyed” (US usage) or “insane” (UK usage)? If it’s the former, then yes, @keithcollantine has good reason to be annoyed!

          1. @TribalTalker F1F certainly needs a linguistics department :)

        3. I don’t think you see the big picture here. You are referring to 2 individual cases which indeed hurt F1. But thats exactly not more than that: 2 individual cases. It was no trend. So it has really nothing to do with what Alonso is pointing out (and there was really no need to bring this up now IMHO).

          Alonso’s point is that where F1 nowadays is heading to, is a mediocre racing-class where no longer the teams with the best cars and the best drivers win. If this trend keeps going, teams will start to invest less and less to get the best car, because it will not longer guarantee wins. And drivers only busy with looking after the tires, will bring a different breed of drivers into F1.

          So in the long term this will change F1, because is not about the best cars and the best drivers anymore. Just another racing class.

          1. teams will start to invest less and less to get the best car, because it will not longer guarantee wins.

            Money has never been a guarantee of success in F1. Just remember Toyota’s struggles or how BMW failed in 2009 that was supposed to be their championship year.

        4. Alonso is the one presuming to lecture everyone on “F1′s credibility”? I find that a bit rich

          He still has a good point though. Ok you’d expect him to say something like this if he was floundering at the bottom of the championship, but he’s leading it. His comments are also completely on the money in my opinion.

          Also remember he has been on the receiving end of these things as well: remember Monza 2006?

          1. Alonso might be the best racing driver in the world but he’s known as extremely egocentric (even compared to other egocentric F1 drivers), too. I think that we need to be reminded of Singapore 2008 not to remember how evil Alonso was but just to see the lack of logic in his concerns about the F1 ‘lottery’. He has always said that there was nothing wrong with his Singapore 2008 victory so it’s hard to believe that he is now truly concerned about F1’s ‘credibility’.

        5. I just don’t understand everybody’s complaints. Didn’t 2009 and 2008 see as many different winners through the season? And 2003 more? Obviously it looks as though the total number of winners this year will surpass those, but I doubt it will be by a whole lot. There is even a vague chance that there will be no new winners and that coincidence means we’ve seen all the different winners right at the beginning.

          2008 and 2003 both saw 5 different teams winning. That’s what we’ve had so far. Are we actually likely to have more than 1 new team (Lotus) winning? If only 6 different teams win races this year, is that 1 team the difference between a classic season and non-credible season?

          Most of all the idea that anybody can win is nonsense. 7 teams have so far either won or been in contention. That is not every car! Of those teams, 2 have only looked competitive enough to win once. So there are 5 team in ‘regular contention.’ Is that excessive? Not in my view.

          1. Also, why are these complaints coming out just after the race which was the first of the season where a different constructor didn’t win? If Schumacher wins in Montreal (as Mercedes are tipped to be good) will people go on about the 7th different winner being a sign that anybody can win, when what it’s actually proving is that certain cars are doing better than others?

            All of this being said, if Massa wins a race I will backtrack and completely agree with Alonso.

          2. In 1997, 6 different drivers won races (and Damon Hill would have made it 7 if he had won in Hungary where his Arrows broke down during the very last lap) and 15 different drivers stood on the podium (Trulli had a chance to become the lucky 16th but, again, the car didn’t hold together until the end of the Austrian GP). So it’s not like we see something very exceptional this year.

          3. People making assumptions out of 6 races is ridiculous. Like you point out I don’t see more than 1 new team winning (Lotus) or 2 if Sauber has another great day. The fact is, none of the outsiders will be title contender by the time we reach Japan.

        6. I don’t twitter because I’m not a twit, so maybe don’t understand how to write 170 characters and make sense. But if I read the comment correctly “Alonso was the benefactor” and “the FIA’s punishment was too soft.”

          To the best of my recollection on team orders Alonso was unaware of “instructions” to his team mate, and for Singapore, Alonso was totally exonerated, so where does “punishment” come into the equation at all? Briatore lost his F1 career over the second matter, others were penalized, but I do not see Alonso’s credibility affected. Conspiracy theories and conjecture are not facts.

          As to what Alonso says today about it being too much of a lottery, I fully agree. Every press article and piece of commentary this season is tyres, tyres and more tyres; temperature windows and teams not knowing how to get on top of one single element; engineers, drivers and team managers saying that they don’t understand, maybe they will by the end of the season. Then add Ecclestone and Hembury warbling on about the “show.” Anyone want to compare this to Professional Wrestling as it was before the WWE came along?

          For goodness sake, F1 is a true, “unfixed”, competition involving man and machine. Putting unreliable, single-sourced tyres into the mix so that the “show” is better and Ecclestone doubles his personal fortune is not my idea of the F1 that I’ve been watching every year for sixty two years now.

        7. @keithcollantine, agreed as to severity, does not mean Alonso is wrong though.

    2. Five in total, if you include Shumacher and Red Bull boss Mateschitz. The latest says tyres have turned F1 into a lottery for teams.

  5. Oh shut up Alonso, you’re just scared the fact that you’re having to actually compete with lesser teams than Ferrari, and have to actually overtake them instead of looking for the blue flags to pass. No one has a ‘right’ to be at the top. Just because Ferrari spend more money on your salary, car, and have some form of dodgy/corrupt relationship with the FIA and Bernie, doesn’t mean you should be winning every race weekend. Nobody gives a damn if Ferrari’s been in the sport since the dawn of time- it is ubsurd of them to think they have a greater precedence over other teams. And anyways, the lesser teams are still in the same place in the constructors championship – all behind McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari. So stop moaning Alonso- you are first in the driver’s championship for crying out loud!

    Yes, the racing has been fantastic, and I’m glad Alonso acknowledged that.

    Then again, who am I kidding, this is F1 were everyone complains about everything when it’s not going their own way.

    Anyways, rant over. Time to watch some Hamilton fan boy videos ;)

    1. Then again, who am I kidding, this is F1 were everyone complains about everything when it’s not going their own way.

      He’s leading the championship? If anything its surprising that he’s the one coming out and saying these things now and not the other drivers.

  6. I agree… F1 is starting to look like one of these party games where everyone gets it’s shot.

  7. With the cars being a little bit more equal this season, the results are a reflection of drivers’ talent. I’m not buying this idea that unpredictability is bad, it’s producing excitement which will hopefully get MORE people watching on television. We could perhaps go back to last year’s setup where Vettel was winning everything, then we’ll see what Alonso, Button and Prost say about that?

    1. Except, barring that, last season was genuinely great, and a much better reflection of one’s talent. This, on the other hand, completely devalues the work of the non-driver team members.

      1. Why, when Red Bull now lead the constructors championship (have a relatively quick car, not many mistakes, teamwork OK) from McLaren (fastest, but too many errors made) and then we have the pack of Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes, with Sauber and Williams behind that. All teams who have done things right, and less well (be it either the car itself, organising of the weekend or errors made by either team or driver).

        In reality this year’s championship might well be giving us a far clearer picture of both the best team and the best driver in their own right.

        1. Exactly. Ferrari and Alonso performed well as a team, even with a bad car, to maximise their position. Hamilton started steady, but even with later speed is squandered by the team. Red Bull and both drivers have been consistent with flashes of speed. The championship positions and positions in each race perfectly reflect the pace and performance of each driver and their team.

    2. @robk23 Exactly.

      I actually don’t understand why Alonso had to talk such nonsense (maybe it’s just a poor choice of wording). A fierce competition has never killed any championship’s credibility. The 2011 GP3 series season saw 10 different winners in the first 10 races (and two more in the remaining six), yet I didn’t hear people doubt the ‘credibility’ of the race results. Some WTCC races this year have been won by outsiders like Stefano d’Aste and Norbert Michelisz. What is more, they were clearly helped by the rules like reverse grids and / or success balast, something that F1 doesn’t have. Yet noone says: They didn’t deserve to win, they were just lucky.

      All F1 races in 2012 so far have been won by great F1 drivers that fully deserved every drop of the champagne. Even Maldonado did as he has always been quick and unbeatable from time to time, just too inconsistent and too wild.

      1. The teams don’t have a clue from one circuit to the next whether they’ll be 1st or 10th. This seems to be down to the random tyre/track/car combination which means that they can’t gain a good understanding of how they’re truely performing and how they need to react to improve the car – even Martin Whitmarsh recently said that McLaren do not fully understand why they’re quick at some places and not at others.

        Given the technical excellence of everyone within the Formula 1 teams, I find it hard to believe that they’re not smart enough to work out what’s going on, unless there is no logic to the situation and it’s just pot luck (i.e. the tyre issues).

        1. A small ‘correction’; …tyre/track-temperature/car/

    3. if it wasnt a lottery then the cars would have relatively consistent performance. Mclaren would not be qualifying second one race and 12th the next, red bull would not be winning one race and getting lapped by a williams the next. That is a lottery. And the argument of “the best engineers will figure it out” is rubbish because team priniples have repeatedly stated they have no idea how to make the tyres work

      1. Your money is on Glock for a win next time out then presumably? Great odds and it’s a lottery so everyone has even chance right?

  8. Not sure its just for me @keithcollantine, but the embedded video shows only part of the view (about a 3rd is somehow cut off!) – see screen capure here

  9. Button, Alonso, Webber, Vettel, these are some of the best drivers in F1 and they are the ones who have won races. Rosberg is highly deserving of an F1 victory, as are Mercedes, so really the only unpredictable result has been Maldonado, and a shock win like that is hardly damaging to the credibility of F1.

    Also, the fact that Alonso and Vettel head the drivers championship, along with Hamilton and Raikkonen, among others, in close proximity, we still have the “best” drivers at the top, so this arguement that unpredictablity is bad for F1 is, in my opinion, unfounded.

  10. If you look at the top of standings tables, constructors and drivers, comparing to last season you will not see major differences in terms of names. Vettel, Hamilton, Webber, Alonso, Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari. Not having Button up there and seeing Rosberg or Kimi is not the end of the world.

    The difference lies on a much tighter table with 6-7 drivers capable of winning WDC at this stage, this number will certainly fall to 4 or 5 and it’s not different from 2010. We do not have a dominant car (or driver) but we still have top drivers and top teams, and those top drivers all drive top cars, so F1 2012 is everything but a lottery. Don’t get it twisted, neither Maldonado nor Williams will win it.

    1. Don’t get it twisted, neither Maldonado nor Williams will win it.

      And even if they did @Jcost, It would just mean they get added back to the top! But that would be a visible and consistent improvement over the whole season from the Williams team that would be there to see for everyone, not something unpredictable!

    2. @JCost I think that 2009 raised far more eyebrows “from the outside” when Red Bull and Brawn were suddenly fighting for the title instead of McLaren and Ferrari. As you say, there are no big surprises in the overall 2012 standings, it’s quite similar to 2010.

  11. The only result that stands out so far this year is really that Maldonado’s win. The rest of the wins are in the hands of frontrunners (Red Bull, McLaren) or to be frontrunners (Mercedes, some strong results from Lotus and improved Ferrari) with one wet race, which is always a little gamble (bad Ferrari, Sauber). If you look at the tables there are expected faces and teams on top, arguably these that really performed the best, but weren’t necessarily the fastest. Afterall F1 is not only about pure speed, but also about converting this speed to some strong result at the end of the race, accomplished by effort from whole team. And we should be thankful for these small gaps, because now we have action on track and in the championship as-well.

  12. What is up with these drivers are they all angry because they are in the top team and are getting beaten by the mid teams? I think Button wouldn’t be complaining if he was able to win when he was at Bar-Honda! This season has had the highest rating of any season so far! This is close racing and a very good season!

    Sure nobody wants an other 2004, 2010 or 2011 season with 1 or 2 teams dominating almost all the race weekends!

    1. @deurmat, spot on. Button did not complain when Brawn GP dominated the field, and they were not a top team back then.

    2. Sure nobody wants an other 2004, 2010 or 2011 season with 1 or 2 teams dominating almost all the race weekends!

      I do.

      2010 was the best season of the last decade.

    3. Button did won with Honda (2006 Hungary)

  13. I think I’m going to have to disagree with Alonso on this one. I think we’re going to see an abrupt tonal shift in the season once somebody wins a race for the second time. When that happens, everyone is going to respond to it straight away, and the championship will be less about playing the strengths of the car and minimising the weaknesses, and will become more about chasing whoever is in front, kind of like in cycling, when one rider breaks away from the peloton. Looking at recent runs of results, I think Alonso or Webber will be the first ones to break away, because a good result will give them a buffer to the rest of the grid. Rosberg, too, but a win won’t put him clear of the field without a few other results going his way.

    In short, whoever becomes the first person to win their second race will really control the tone of the next phase of the championship.

  14. I’m getting fed up with the talk of unpredictability of F1 at the moment, it’s NOT. Look at the championship table, who is in the top 6? Who is in the bottom 6? Who is in the middle? With a couple of minor exceptions, which occur every year, it’s the people you would expect at the top who are at the top, and the people who you would expect at the bottom who are at the bottom, how is that unpredictable?
    What we have got, which we haven’t had for many years, is drivers and teams having to deal with things that are not 100% reliable. That was the norm when I started watching F1 in the early 70’s, breakdowns, frequent punctures, general unreliability, made it normal for the best driver in the fastest car NOT to finish first. But the best drivers over the season came out on top, and you saw fantastic drives as great drivers tried to salvage something from a troubled race.
    That’s exactly what is happening this year, except it’s the tyres that are doing it. Who has driven consistently the best all season? Alonso, he has been in the frame for driver of the weekend every race this year. Who is at the top of the table? Alonso. Why should we or him be so surprised?
    I think it’s a great season, and I for one am glad that at the start of the weekend I have no idea who is going to win…… but I’ve a good idea of who will be in the top 6 at the end of the year. Fantastic!

    1. That was the norm when I started watching F1 in the early 70′s, breakdowns, frequent punctures, general unreliability, made it normal for the best driver in the fastest car NOT to finish first. But the best drivers over the season came out on top, and you saw fantastic drives as great drivers tried to salvage something from a troubled race.

      My thoughts exactly. There was a time when new teams had more opportunities to get points and surprise winners weren’t so far fetched.

      1. I agree with this as well, @joey-poey, well said @jimn, its one of the aspect that have made life relatively easy for the top teams in the past decade or so, but it was sorely missed by many fans.

        Just think about the day of a Minardi, Footwork or a Prost, or an Osella, or whateever suddenly getting into the points and even on the podium, wasn’t it great to see those surprise results? I for one am glad we have a bit more of this than we have had lately.

  15. Alonso is just covering his rear, expecting to slide down the table in the next few races. He’s managing expectations within Ferrari, saying “the car’s not right – don’t pop out for a long lunch just because I’m on top today – we’ve got work to do!”. Or maybe I have an overactive imagination.

  16. This is the best season I have witnessed in my thirty years of following Formula 1. I can’t believe all the driver’s from the top teams complaining that this season’s unpredictability is ruining the sport.

    It’s fantastic because the driver’s in the top teams now day’s have to work harder to obtain result’s, they can no longer be in a dominant car and go on a sunday afternoon cruise to claim the title.

    1. I don’t believe racing drivers of F1’s calibre want a cruise to victory. In most cases they get a buzz from beating others, and doing that in a dominant car won’t feel quite as sweet as it would if it was hard-fought.

      Also, can you imagine how frustrating it would be as a driver (and this relates to Button quite nicely at this moment in time) to be on form one race, then, without any creditable explanation your car is 4th quickest when nothing much has changed? The top F1 drivers thrive on knowledge, understanding and progression – if the pieces of the puzzle don’t come together they feel out of control and seemingly exasperated.

      The above said, I haven’t missed a race this year and I can’t tear myself away.

    2. Denis68, he’s not complaining at all. He is saying basically the same as you are, that teams have to work harder, smarter, to win the race. He is saying if it were just chance the sport would lose credibility. Sounds to me like he wants the competition in all its aspects just as fans do.

  17. Who cares if it’s the highest rated, it’s not a popularity contest it’s motorsport. You don’t hear this of any other sport football, golf or cricket it’s the highest rated than any other time in our sport… why is that?

    The ratings are irrelevant to me as I’m a spectator, what I care about? the racing. F1 today is designed for the lowest common denominator and people love it now more than before. You have tyres that fall apart and drivers cannot show their talent like previous years pre-2009, the aero on these cars prevent real racing where as previous years you could get in the slipstream from more than 35ft.

    The tyres aren’t even conforming to the regs, which state they should be performance tyres and durable, 10 laps and pit stops isn’t really racing tyres is it? All of this was based off the knee jerk reaction from Canada 2010 because tyre wear was so great, it lacked objectivity and tried to apply it to every track without taking into variables such as mechanical grip aero levels track length.. etc etc

    Then you have DRS which makes F1 passes look like they’re driving on the autobahn, it’s so bad you have brundle screaming! “That’s a pure overtake!” sorry Martin it’s not, regardless if DRS was open at the time of the overtake, if it was still used before it’s still DRS affected it put the car into a position it would not of had been in if not used.

    I used to watch F1 a heck of a lot, I would get up early to watch but the sport as a whole it is broken. TV director doesn’t do his job properly you rarely see a full lap onboard but drivers like di resta drinking fluids is more important. You have practice sessions that don’t have cars out on track because they want the peasants to rubber in the track for them and refer to this as “thier program”.

    You also have qualifying which is so broken some teams don’t even run because the regulations, why they changed these from 2009 which worked fine I have no idea.

    Suffice to say the racing has turned me off for many reasons, I now follow V8 supercars which has had more racing this year then F1 the rules and regs are stable the formats are fun and it’s what real racing should be, F1 is the pinnacle? Only in technology, in actual on track racing it’s prehistoric.

  18. Alonso admits the season is being fantastic. He´s only saying there´s another way to see it. In another interview in Spain he admited that the tyres aren´t the most important thing.

    1. He’s playing dialectics with his own mind.

  19. What’s the deal with F1 and knee-jerk reactions?!

    Is this not what more people wanted after 2011, a more open playing field? It is the teams job to rise above the rest of the field but after only 6 races following a major overhaul of aero rules (I’m thinking EBD) how much can you reasonably expect? Some team and driver combination will soon enough ‘switch on’ to all the variables in F1 and start to put in some real, championship threatening consistent results but until that point let’s enjoy not having any idea who it will be!

  20. I don’t get all these “F1 is a lottery” complaints from people in F1 (Alonso, Button, Mateschitz). In every weekend, the driver and team combination that have done the best job have won the race. The fact that every weekend that combination has been different is fascinating to me.

    The kind of unpredictability that I could understand would put people off is what you might see in Indycar, where the combination of re-fueling and frequent full-course yellows can lead to some drivers lucking into a good position. We haven’t seen anything like that in F1 2012, which I think so far is great.

  21. I think the moaning over unpredictability is getting to be a bit much now. While I obviously don’t want a lottery either, I haven’t seen anything to indicate it is such. If it was, we’d see HRT’s and Marussia’s leading. But we don’t. The car and the driver still count for something. This year is simply very closely matched between teams and the strategy is proving a little harder to nail down. I consider this to be more back to the days of the early 80’s when they didn’t have computers in the pits processing every single eventuality and spitting out an answer of what’s the best way to do things.

    Besides, why oh WHY are people complaining over a close championship? I’m pretty sure the only ones F1 is losing credibility with are the ones who are used to a single team dominating or a usual two horse race. When they add restrictor plates and head for Talladega, then I’ll grant you it’s lost credibility.

    1. Alonso, who is leading the world championship by three points ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, said that what a driver achieves in Formula 1 is “not by chance”.

      He added: “We need to make clear that if you win a race, it’s because you did something better. And at the moment I don’t know if this is clear for everybody.”

      He doesn’t say unpredictability will ruin F1’s credibility. Not making people understand that each race is actually won by a deserving driver/team this year – that, according to him MIGHT ruin F1’s credibility.

  22. I think that unpredictability seen this year is more related to the ban of blown diffuser and only then to the tyres. There´s no doubt that for this reason the pack is much together wich highlights any errors, less well balanced car or worst setup. When a driver/team as a perfect weekend (excluding 4 or 5 teams) it has a real shot to the win.
    And my question is: isn´t this just fantastic for the F1 fans? Doesn´t it create enthusiasm? Doesn´t this bring new fans to the sport?
    And at the end the best team/driver will still gonna get it!

    1. Problem is that there is so many definitions of “the best team/driver” in people heads and thats why we have such situation a hand.

  23. I wouldn’t say it was that unpredictable at the very front. Over the last two years whoever has been leading into the first corner has pretty much gone on to win the race. (as long as it was a dry race).

    It’s been a fun season, but a win has lost a little bit of impact. It does appear to have lost merit, but with such a large calendar now it was already starting to anyway.

    It’s been better than what we had with Bridgestone though. I still love the sport. :D

  24. antonyob (@)
    1st June 2012, 15:21

    Hes not covering anything and its not because a team is improving. Im not even sure its totally the slightly hit or miss nature of zoning in on the tyres sweet spot though it undoubtedly is a factor. The most notable change is the bunching up of qualifying times. If you’re less than half a second off 3rd place in qually you dont necessarily expect to line up 12th. Maybe front to back its not so much different but the midfield pack is so close now, add that to teams not finding the narrow sweet spot on the tyres and you get random winners.

    Its not ideal but theres not alot wrong with F1 when you cant guess who is going to win. It is the holy grail for spectator sport. However as a committed petrol head i do kinda want to know who has the best package of driver and car and Alonso has a valid point regarding this.

  25. F1 has already lost credibility for me, With gimmicks like DRS & these silly Pirelli tyres I no longer see it as the pinnacle of MotorSport.

    F1 has become nothing but an artificial, Open wheel version of Nascar!

    1. Except that it’s nothing like NASCAR. They rely on aero and slipstream just as much as F1, if not more regarding the slipstream.

  26. honestly if i know one driver is going win every race, thats boring and i would`nt watching as much

  27. What he has said makes sense – if winning were just by chance, then the sport would have no credibility.

    He wants the audience to understand that results come from the hard work of teams to do a better job in all the various aspects, even if the results so far appear unpredictable (presumably because teams are having difficulty in understanding tire behaviour).

    1. well in that case it`s on cause for concern yet , a this point in the season only the top 5 teams is wining apart from williams and they`ve been there in the past

  28. Alonso means that F1 may look like a lottery, but in truth its because the driver was better than the rest.
    I think.

    1. +1
      Thank you, for being among the very few in this thread to have understood what Alonso said, instead of jumping the gun.

      Alonso says no driver has won by chance, but this fact might not be clear to everybody, and it needs to be clarified so that F1 retains its credibility. Whew!

  29. why couldn’t Pirelli have continued with the same compounds as 2011? That season was just the right mix of tyre degredation for an exciting season, barring the fact that Red Bull had a better car by miles but the new regs have neatralised that advantage.
    Instead we’re getting these fast deteriorating tyres with this full-on-unpredictability feature..

  30. Tbh i dont know why hes complaining, the driver is leading the WDC for god sake, F1 isnt that predictable this season, eg the top teams are still leading the WCC and the usual drivers are leading the WDC, if say Caterham was in the top 3 of the WCC then it would be unpredictable
    Everyone seems to forget that theres a championshio going on and fan are basing it on race by race… were the drivers complaining this much in 1983 where it was similiar with race results, first Jenson and now Fernando…As Kimi would say ‘its racing’
    Been following F1 since 2005 and this season is without a doubt the best.

  31. Nonsense. Yes, the tire behavior is unpredictable and none of the teams have locked it down yet, but the main reason for the unpredictability is just that the field is so competitive now that teams have to raise their game in every single aspect of competition. A slow pit stop, or trouble navigating traffic on an in lap, or a minor oversight in car setup, or a lost opportunity to overtake will simply punish teams and drivers so much more this year than in the past.

    In fact, I would argue that this kind of season lends F1 more credibility. We’ve had way too many seasons in recent years where the team with the highest budget or star designer is able to design a car that is just superior to the rest of the field from the word go, and other teams have essentially no chance of mounting a challenge against them, no matter how well they execute on strategy/setup/team operations. How is that more credible than today, where a team has to make the most out of every single opportunity and execute on every single menial task at the highest possible level, or risk being eclipsed by scrappier teams who simply do a better job on that day?

    I’d put it this way… what could be more accurately described as a “sport”?
    a) A championship where the car design accounts for the vast majority of a team’s ability to compete, or
    b) A championship where car design can truly be balanced-out by operational effectiveness and driver excellence?

    1. well written
      some people have very short memory and quickly forgot how dull and boring most of the races were in the past years…
      but anything you do there always will be some who will not be satisfied

  32. This stuff gives me a headache. Last season Seb won the title with 4 to go, now 6 races down and suddenly people think the sport on the verge of becoming a joke because Maldonado won a race?

    Then again, the team principles don’t seem to mind. Maybe the drivers just whine too much…

  33. Alonso makes some good points, but in the end the three big teams of Ferrari/Red Bull/McLaren will leave the others behind because of the vast sums of money at their disposal.
    This season is very un F1. It is unpredicatable, one team is not dominating the field for all to forlornly follow. For us fans it is paradise on earth, for the teams and drivers it must be a nightmare.
    I buy into earlier comments that Fernando is playing down his title hopes so that Ferrari don’t ‘relax’ on developing their car. He knows, as do they, that the championship is too close and the margins are too narrow for complacency. Seeing how quickly McLaren went from having a strong car in Australia to where they are now proves this, and how costly it can be!

  34. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    1st June 2012, 21:22

    Since Alonso is so intrigued by drivel quotes (que his Monaco helmet)….

    “The [driver] doth protest too much, methinks.”

  35. Are you hearing this Pirelli? In my opinion the tyres are just destroying the sport. The Red Bull won the race in Bahrain and the next race it was being lapped by the Williams. Tyres should not make that much of a difference! And I know people are going to say that “the best engineers will figure out how the tyres work and it is fair” but the team bosses like ross brawn and co have said that it is a complete guessing game- a lottery. The teams that get the tyres right just got lucky, it has nothing to do with understanding them better than the other teams. In my opinion, the best car/driver combo should win the race. If that means that one driver completely dominates an entire season, so be it, he deserves to. Anyone who thinks Maldonado in the Williams was the best car/driver combination in Spain is just kidding themselves. Same goes for Alonso in Malaysia for that matter, he drove supremely but that car should not have been able to win a race. Furthermore the whole idea of winning a race by seeing who can nurse the tyres around the track the fastest is just rubbish in my opinion. I will take watching world class drivers pushing 100% over a few extra overtakes any day.

    If Formula 1 wants to see more unpredictable results, I don’t think they should give the teams crap tyres and drs in order to try to produce that. They should open up the technical regulations. The regualtions are so strict now that all of the cars have essentially the same characteristics on every track, and as a result, the best car will win on pretty much any type of track. Give the teams more freedom in design. why not Let them have different types of engines, with some suiting high speed better and some low speed better if that helps. The current fomula is not the answer everyone is looking for

  36. Bas Weijers (@)
    2nd June 2012, 0:55

    Hi people, I’m relatively new to this site, but think it’s great.
    Mature comments of truly f1-fanatic people, who think before they write. Awesome :)

    Anyhow, to the point, I’ve been scratching my head over various discussions so far.
    Just the fact there are this many discussions over tires, a lottery etc, makes this F1 season the most discussable since quite a while I think.
    Though since the start of this season I’ve been thinking, in the end one team (or maybe two) really get the hang of it all, and render all these discussions useless.
    F1 will set itself straight I’m sure. Teams are working like mad to get things solved and predictable. At the end of the season the racing will be most likely a bit boring again (or maybe some new scandal/’gate’ will get out again).

    Nursing tires as dramatically as today is new, but hey, since no refuelling is allowed it’s also a bit about nursing fuel. No real limit-seeking until just around the pitstops where they could set their mixture ultrahigh for a couple of laps to do an ‘undercut’ and the last stint sometimes gave some special action.
    Some decades ago they were probably nursing their engines against blow-ups, or their brakes depending on the track – there are always limits that they would push towards, but ofcourse nursing their car all the way through a 2 hour race.

    It’s always been like this I think. Now we’re just at the start of a season with a really tight field. And no team has really got their ‘shit together’. YET.

    Personally I think that’s the beauty of F1! :)
    I hope not to offend anyone ;) Respect!

    1. @kdesser…I think that is well said and I agree completely.

  37. Ohm (@attakorn)
    2nd June 2012, 8:19

    Random or not I’m loving it!! Much prefer this unpredictability to last season! I think the reason why it’s like a lottery for teams at the moment is because they have yet to fully understand the tyres. That doesn’t mean the best team isn’t winning and it’s up to luck..if they are the best team then they’ll win because they’ll understand the tyres and get it to work better than others!

  38. For how many laps do these tires have a sweet spot 4? and how may laps does to take to get there? What’s the point of having a “FORMULA 1” if it’s all a half assed tire and pit strategy crap shoot. Pirelli FAIL!

  39. I have been a loyal fan for many years, I dont miss a session, but I really don’t understand how anyone can think the new tyres are making things exciting, all it is doing is making the drivers drive slow to look after the tyres, that isn’t racing. We all want real racing back, when the best drivers, the hamiltons, the alonsos and the rest push to the limit and show us what racing is all about, not all this tiptoe rubbish. Theres one way to bring real racing back, stop them from being forced to look after tyres, and there is only 2 ways of doing this, either make them have a minimum amount of pit stops to make sure tyres don’t fall apart, this way there is no need to drive slow to look after them, or my personal favourite choice, BRING BACK REFUELING!! Getting rid of refueling was the worst decision in F1, it wasnt needed in the past, but for the cars the way they are now with all the downforce making it so hard to overtake, we need the variations which refueling gave, and also the variations in tactics which made things so exciting. Please FIA, take note before people get bored, as I am a true F1 fanatic, and for the first time in my life, I am truley getting bored, I never thought F1 would ever see the days where driving slower and looking after the tyres would win you a race instead of pushing and getting every tength out of the car.


  40. Yes, he’s right, however I don’t think most people believe that luck can be, by itself, the only factor to win a race. You may be lucky to finish 2nd rather than 3rd, but not much more, and there’s always something you do better to finish ahead, like Alonso said.

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