Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Fuji, 2007

Alonso says Hamilton is right to leave McLaren

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Fuji, 2007In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says Lewis Hamilton has made a “good change” by leaving McLaren.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Alonso backs Hamilton switch (ESPN)

“For McLaren, [Alain] Prost was going out, [Ayrton] Senna; it was me, now it’s Lewis, and usually for a better life, for good change. McLaren is 14 years not winning the constructors’ championship, most of these years sometimes with the best car, so I’m sure Lewis wants to win as well.”

F1 comeback not to be as Michael Schumacher steps down again (The Guardian)

“Schumacher, in turn, suggested that Hamilton had played a part in the decision making process leading to his retirement. ‘I was in the picture when the negotiation was going on, but I didn’t want to decide; I was not sure,’ he said. ‘Sometimes in life your destiny will develop by itself, without any hard feelings and without any regrets. We all know Lewis is one of the best drivers we have around and I cross fingers that we will have a successful future.'”

No Future Plans Yet, Says Schumacher (Speed)

“There?s no more to say about this. I have options, obviously, and you know some of the options, but whatever that will be, we?ll decide when the time is there.”

Schumacher retirement ‘overdue’ (BBC)

Jackie Stewart: “His reputation has already been affected by his unsuccessful return to the sport,” Stewart told BBC Sport. People will applaud the decision as it should have happened a while ago.”

Lewis: Why I quit McLaren (The Sun)

“It was not about the offer. I had two offers on the table which were very, very similar. It was about Mercedes, a team which has not been that successful over the last couple of years but I know they want to win. Some of the greatest drivers have gone from a good car to not such a great car and have helped to develop a winning team.”

Now that the dust has settled… (The Buxton Blog)

“The wheels were certainly greased by Bernie and, via Bernie, Niki Lauda who we understand managed to convince Hamilton, when the Brit started to have doubts over the move, that it was in fact the right one by appealing to his emotions over his sensibilities. He was sold on the concept of taking the team and doing what the great Michael Schumacher could not. If Hamilton could turn Mercedes into a world championship winning outfit, his reputation and his standing would be immeasurable. He could do what Schumacher did at Ferrari. He could create something magical.”

Grosjean happy to support Raikkonen (Autosport)

“Until Spa we had fair racing, but from now on it’s logical. Kimi is fighting in front of the championship and I don’t have many hopes in terms of position. I could be seventh if I score good points, but Kimi is still at the front.”

FIA tightens up on wing testing (Sky)

“It is understood that all cars inspected at Suzuka on Thursday passed the new check, which is intended to pick up on backward rotation of the front wing about its horizontal axis.”

The Man Behind the Voice of Formula One (The New York Times)

Bob Constanduros: “It was very difficult [to be impartial], for example, in Austria in 2002 when Rubens Barrichello was asked to slow down for Michael Schumacher [to let his team mate win the race]. Because I was pretty incensed about that. But I did change. It was quite a difficult thing to come to terms with. Yes, I had to remember that I must not get involved, just ask straight questions.”


Comment of the day

@Ajokay hopes Schumacher will race on despite leaving F1:

I do hope he doesn?t disappear like last time (aside from the odd sporadic motorcycle race). He?s clearly still incredibly able and fast enough.

There are guys out there 20 years older than him racing and winning in LMP and GT cars. He could (and should) easily become a sportscar legend.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

The last United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen was held on this day in 1980.

Bruno Giacomelli led until an electrical failure sidelined his Alfa Romeo on the 32nd lap. That left the new world champion Alan Jones to end his season with a win.

Team mate Carlos Reutemann made it a Williams one-two ahead of Didier Pironi, in his last race for Ligier.

F1 never returned to Watkins Glen and the circuit reportedly never paid the fee for this last race, having run into financial problems:

Image ?? McLaren

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  • 71 comments on “Alonso says Hamilton is right to leave McLaren”

    1. There’s no more to say about this. I have options, obviously, and you know some of the options, but whatever that will be, we’ll decide when the time is there.

      I cross fingers that we will have a successful future.

      I may be reading too much in this, but it seems he already made up his mind.

      1. I hope so.

    2. Interesting comment from Pastor. Where else would he go? Sauber? Can’t imagine Ferrari would want him.

      The Williams is plenty quick, he’d be better off staying with the team and concentrating on polishing off the rough edges.

      1. Sauber could use his money, if those edges could be polished off. Guess he’s got 6 races left to audition for such a seat. I wonder if he has a choice about staying at Williams.

        1. @scalextric

          Sauber could use his money, if those edges could be polished off.

          If any team can straighten Pastor Maldonado out, it’s Sauber. They raise their drivers on the kind of mental discpiline he lacks.

        2. Pastor is hoping Hugo Chavez doesn’t need his vote on Sunday because Venezuela will vote on the very same day he will be racing in Japan and polls suggest Capriles Radonski has a good chance of upsetting Hugo Chavez, I fear he (Capriles) could scale-down Venezuelan involvement in Formula 1… just saying.

      2. Actually, thinking about it I wonder if Maldonado’s comments perhaps reflect some uncertainty about his ability to continue to pay his way next season.

        There is a presidential election in a couple of days. Although Chavez is favoured to win (thanks to a corrupted electoral system) the opposition candidate is, I understand, still in with a chance given that the opposition to the ruling party has finally united behind a single candidate.

        To be honest I have no idea if the opposition even has a policy on this, but you would have to think there is at least some risk that if they came to power they’d stop the state (through PDVSA) funding a Formula One driver to the tune of GBP 30 million per season, when there are so many more pressing needs back home.

        1. @tdog – It’s probably in Venezuela’s interests to keep supporting Maldonado through PDVSA, whoever is running the show. They’re not a nation known for their sporting prowess, and he’s brought some of the few successes they’ve had on the international sporting stage. He’s managed to have two incident-free races in Italy and Singapore, so maybe he’s started to turn a corner; if he can keep it up, his raw speed certainly justifies a continued career in Formula 1.

          1. You could compare it to the Magny Cours story. Sarkozy wanted it to happen and Hollande didn’t. Look how that turned out. That doesn’t mean you’re wrong, different country, different rules.

        2. Doubt it. If it was on the developed countries, yes. If new candidate is elected, it just means different hands will receive the pay out under the table.

          There is no point of taking something like a Formula 1 driver away from Venezuelian people, to give them spare time to wonder about why on earth their living standards are so poor. And trust me it’s not because of 30mil or even 100mil.

        3. I guess “great minds” think alike, before I read your comment I said something similar :)

        4. Just feel the need to point out that Venezuela actually has one of the least riggable/corruptible election systems in the world (far better than the UK or US, fit example), actually. And the opposition control 80% of the media, giving then a massive advantage…

          1. I doubt opposition has media advantage as you say but I’ve heard great things about their elections system.

          2. Maldonado’s support by PDVSA is highly dependent on who is the president. PDVSA is know for being the piggy bank of the Chavez regime. As a matter of fact, I remember a case of a congressman on the opposition who started an investigation on the sponsorship since PDVSA is, technically at least, under congressional control and any deal should have gone through them.

            On the other hand, as others have pointed, I doubt that even if Capriles wins he will remove the sponsorship since Maldonado is quite popular in Venezuela (there were articles ran after his victory about how he unified the country a little bit and that type of stuff) Of course some people might question using 30 million in F1, but for a 60+ billion government budget thats peanuts :)

            1. Just did some research, make that 100+ billion for government expenditure in Venezuela

      3. Pastor in Ferrari!!! :)

        Now that would be a fast couple!

        1. maldonado will never drive for ferrari. they wouldn’t even take perez, who is all around better. if ferrari wants to pressurize the asian market, kobayashi would be extremely entertaining in a red car

          1. I see what PM is saying, it would be good for Maldonado to go to Sauber, though it would be quite the blow to Williams.

            I’ll go out on a limb here, in two instances. First, I think that this year that Mercedes, Sauber and Williams are actually absurdly close pace wise. Mercedes has more points due to consistency, something Sauber have lacked and Williams have not even come close to achieving.

            Second, I think it is only a matter of a few seasons before Maldonado is given a shot in a top team. He has proven himself with his pole and win in Spain and second on the grid in Singapore when no one else even got close to Hamilton.

            In several ways he reminds me a lot of Juan Pablo Montoya, fast, fearless, but rough around the edges. Smooth those edges out and Maldonado just might bag the first WDC for a Latin American driver since Senna.

            1. After all the comments from LDM about wanting someone who won’t bother Fernando, I wonder if Pastor is on their radar. As well as JPM, he reminds me of Eddie Irvine. And Ferrari, despite being reasonably loaded, would love the money as much as anyone else, even if just to deprive the rest of the field of it.

              The question for me would be whether Pastor would toe the party line like the thankful little puppy they’d like (“It doesn’t get better than this, Pastor, now do what you’re told”) or keep some of that young upstart mentality and start causing them bother by doing too well.

    3. Mr Hamilton is still on Twitter silence since his announcement. I note that the current Mercedes drivers don’t use Twitter. I hope this doesn’t become an issue with his new team as we all enjoy seeing the occasional Instagram of Lewis’s musical entourage.

      1. Rosberg does.

        1. My bad. @britneyspears @nico_rosberg

      2. And…he’s back.

    4. that’s a real bummer to see Schumi retire. I’m sure, the decision to retire was made easy after his collision in Singapore… nevertheless, a crappy day for me after I read this news.

    5. Fernando – he couldn’t help have a pop. Bit of a shame really. He generally plays the media game well. He doesn’t need to give McLaren anymore motivation to beat him.

      1. @brum55 Hah, never thought of it that way!

      2. He has been critical of McLaren with this and the 14 years comment. But both remain facts. Every top driver since Rosberg, bar Berger, who has went on to win in other machinery has had a less than desired parting from them. Button will probably change that, mainly due to the fact he has had a rough time of it elsewhere.

        Prost- went from darling to deliberately acting out against Dennis at Monza
        Senna – Demanded huge funds for 93 and left the team the following season
        Hakkinen – Williams comeback vetoed
        Coulthard – Critical of Dennis and cold atmosphere
        Montoya – sacked
        Alonso – spygate

        Quite an impressive list!

        1. To be fair, being a top team and thus attracting similar driver. Their list can’t be any different :)

        2. yeah, that’s right!! Honestly, I can’t see Perez in that cold corporative team.

        3. Did McLaren really veto a Häkkinen comeback with Williams? I’ve heard the rumour too, but I’ve never seen it substantiated, so I assumed it was nonsense. I don’t think he would have cut it by that point, anyway.

      3. wonder what Hamilton has to say? or maybe his actions have already said it…

    6. Well I’m enjoying this year’s WEC and looking forward to next year already, so if Shumi decides to have a crack at that then I think I might just wet myself a little bit.

    7. Having past years displayed some of the F1 driver petulance, Alonso has been more statesman like in recent times. And you can’t fail to respect him leading the title race driving the 2012 Ferrari which is hardly the best car.

      But it appears the Alonso’s halo is slipping a little, his jibe above at McLaren is rather transparent and reminds us of his acrimonious exit from the team.

      In Singapore Alonso was pontificating on how he and Ferrari should evaluate the qualities of any potential No.2 driver to him for 2013. At the time his use of the “Royal we” appeared fairly frequent and a little presumptuous.

      Luca de Montezemolo appears to have put his No.1 paid employee back in his place, making clear who makes such decisions together with a not too veiled threat.

      First Fernando should win the world title and then we will certainly not put anyone alongside him who would bother him“.

      It begs the question – if Alonso fails to win the WDC – who does Luca have in mind who will ‘bother’ Fernando?

      1. Schummi and Kimi got Ferrari their titles and were paid a lot for it. Alonso is paid like a Champion, but he is not a Champion in Ferrari’s eyes until he gets them one. Don’t forget that Massa is being paid a substantial salary to cope with special Ferrari treatment. It’s good Alonso is enjoying having a big sponsor behind him, but if he does not deliver this year, I doubt he will be able to keep him “irreplaceable” title any longer.

        1. Don’t be ridiculous.

          1. If you wrote, “This is rediculous!”, it would have been so much more funny :)

            Agree, bit far fetched, but still a thought.

        2. You realise that if he’s not able to deliver the WDC this year, it would be entirely and solely Maranello’s fault right? That car has hardly ever been the best this season (or last season or the season before that) but he’s still leading the table with it. To put a driver that’ll bother him or not is a different argument, but to suggest that “if he does not deliver this year, I doubt he will be able to keep him “irreplaceable” title any longer” is beyond ridiculous.

          Personally, I believe Ferrari should put a very good driver alongside Fernando, if they ever want to win a WCC again. Concentrating so hard on one driver will NOT get them the WCC.

          His comments about McLaren are a bit unfounded though.

          1. I understand, but Ferrari won’t get rid of them self, will they? 2009?

            My post it’s not something I have a strong feeling about, but just a suggestion. And we did see plenty of examples where team go on a total random sprees due to frustration. And Ferrari have a lot of tension stored, all the way from the time they decided to sideline Kimi.

            It will be an amazing relief if they manage to secure WDC this year, but if not, you can’t blame them for not acting sensible.

            1. I didn’t get the last sentence. What would not acting sensible get them? They’re not a bunch of 13 yr olds in a summer camp team. They know how to handle pressure and failures. They know how to deal with these things. What needs to change is the car. Something is wrong with their technical team. They’ve had the 3rd best car for almost 3 years now. That’s a bit alarming by their own standards. Alosno is the only one that’s keeping them in the chase. Imagine if it was Massa and a demotivated, uninspired Kimi in that team right now.
              So, for them to take any of that steam out on Alonso would be incredibly dumb and stupid.
              His position is cemented in that team. The other seat is up in the air while they sort out that wind tunnel and get a decent car that can post pole times.

      2. yes it was a shame for Alonso to have a dig at McLaren…open season on Alonso!! xDxD

      3. @thejudge13 Just a little mention here about di Montezemolo’s comment. I searched for it on the Internet but couldn’t find it anywhere except James Allen’s blog or other sources citing his blog. I asked James in his forum about the source but he gave me a very vague answer: “It was reported in Italy, which is where I picked it up. Here it was drowned out by the Hamilton announcement on Friday morning.” When I asked again for a specific name of the source or the link, my comment mysteriously disappeared after awaiting moderation for half a day. So this whole thing look suspicious, and I’m inclined to think it’s more about JA’s imagination rather than Luca’s actual comments – until proven wrong, of course.

        1. Interesting. I’m sure that comment would have appeared on some Italian outlet if it was indeed said. I would call it a curry and give it a rest.

    8. Huh, now Alonso is getting in on the analogies of Prost/Senna to himself/Hamilton. At least that’s what I took by his using the two as examples of drivers leaving McLaren.

      1. As Alonso and Hamilton seem so keen comparing themselves to Prost and Senna, Vettel just rubs his hands with glee and tried to be the next Schumacher :) muhaha

        All silliness aside, it amuses me how much people like to compare drivers of the current era to drivers of the past. I am guilty of it just now, earlier in the comments I compared Maldonado to Montoya.

        1. Muahahaha indeed! :)

          I’m guilty of the same, I think people in general like seeking analogues in things and sports-persons are no exception. I liken it to when a new band comes out, and often people describe what they sound like with reference to other bands. Maldonado reminds me of Montoya as well, driving wise, but with a far less obnoxious personality!

    9. Great stuff from Bob Constanduros, definitely worth the read.

      1. Does answer some of my concerns about horrible questions/behaviour from journalist who asks “questions from the floor”.

    10. @LH comments:

      … Some of the greatest drivers have gone from a good car to not such a great car and have helped to develop a winning team.”

      Good! Now he is thinking like a pro. If Hamilton achieves success with Mercedes, no doubt he will be remembered as one of the greatest.

      1. Its a bit far-fetched to think Hamilton would be able to do that considering how he’s handled himself over the years, but I’m more than willing to be surprised. He’s one of the best drivers I’ve ever seen, absolutely, but to take on the reins and build a winning team from a upper-mid-field one is not something I would associate with him, not yet at least.

        1. It will be interesting to see how people react if the Merc goes fast next year. In my opinion it will have more to do with Rosberg (possibly MSC) and the top technical staff that Brawn brought together than Hamilton, but obviously that is not how it will go down in the media. That is unless Nico beats Lewis, now wouldn’t that be something.

          1. Completely agree regarding the technical staff at Merc playing more of a role in improving the car.
            If the Merc is fast out of the box next year then Hamilton can’t really take any credit. If it’s slow and improves throughout the year then maybe he could claim some responsibility.

        2. Lets wait and see @rits, i remember very clearly how people reacted to Schumacher going for Ferrari at the time.
          However unlikely that that string of success will ever be repeated in the sport, its not impossible to see a Mercedes team with Rossberg and Hamilton achieve a championship or two in the future as well.

          1. @brny666 That would be something indeed! I think the British media would love to write about it in a certain way.

            @mark-hitchcock Agreed. But even if the car improved towards the later half of the season, it wouldn’t really be that surprising or credible on Hamilton’s part. Now, if they start banging out pole positions and wins, that’d be another story!

            @bascb I never suggested that would be impossible. I just said, I can’t see Hamilton doing a Schumacher. Not from what we’ve seen from him over the years. He has to get rid of his pram and toys first, but as you say, lets wait and see, this might very well be the move he needed to be able to do that.

    11. And ‘the new F1F’ is celebrating its 1st birthday today! So a big applause to @KeithCollantine and all of us! What about a new section in the daily round-up: ‘On this day on F1 Fanatic’? :)


      1. @Girts Indeed it is! Thanks for the reminder.

        What’s more, we’ve just passed 10,000 members:


        I don’t think I’ll be adding anything new to the round-up any time soon, it’s already pretty big! “On this day” often has links to archive articles in.

    12. Looks like Alonso’s mind games have worked on Hamilton. For the past 12 months, all Fred has been talking about when asked about Lewis is how great he is, and how he is the only driver who can win in an inferior car. Now this guy actually thinks he can go to another team that hasn’t been a contender since 2009 and immediately start winning with it.

      1. That’s the diabolical genius that is Fernando Alonso. In actual fact, he may have just condemned Hamilton from ever winning a race, let alone the championship again. McLaren have an undesirable record when it comes to championships in the past 10-15 years, but it took a sacrificed season, four wind tunnels and one billion dollars for Ross and Honda to create a winner in 09 – the most expensive car in F1 history. Hamilton may have locked himself in the midfield for 3 years! Now to somehow make Vettel join HRT…

      2. Hamilton falling out with McLaren has little to do with Fernando Alonso’s comments. I think Hamilton is leaving McLaren because he no longer has the full support of the team and needs to be loved (he’s that kind of chap).

        Now this guy actually thinks he can go to another team that hasn’t been a contender since 2009 and immediately start winning with it.

        When has he said this?

      3. That’s a bit too dramatic of a suggestion, almost a joke.

    13. I totally disagree with Jackie Stewart comments.
      The 2nd coming of Schumi defined his previous career, it has shown passion and humanity, the reasons why he has been so succesful before.
      I’m also a big fan of basketball, and the same I can say for Michael Jordan…he came back for passion when his body wasn’t so strong as when he dominated the courts, he has fought younger and more athletic players and still earned his own.
      Coming back to Schumi, I really believe the biggest responsible for his lack of results is Mercedes…after Brawn GP won titles back in 2009, the team has never been competitive again, Nico’s results prove that too.

      1. Indeed. Also next year we’ll have a Nico vs Lewis battle on our hands and the outcome of that will surely give a good indication of how well MSC was driving and how much (if anything) he truly lost due to his age.

      2. The Brawn 2009 car was developed with masses of money from Honda. The 2010 car was ‘designed’ in the Brawn frugal years with half of the staff being let go at the factory. Mercedes have started to invest more in the team but of course it has taken time. They now finally have a solid design team and results should hopefully follow.

    14. The Blade Runner (@)
      5th October 2012, 10:37

      As much as I admire Alonso as a driver, and he really can be magical on occasion, his “soundbites”, both in interviews like this and over the team radio, can really grate! Every racing incident is used to try and gain an advantage (“yes Fernando, we all saw ‘X’ and will speak with the stewards” etc.) and comments like this, which seem a little disrespectful towards McLaren, are probably intended as mind-games. Especially so considering they have had 4 poles and podiums in the last 4 races, 3 of them wins.
      Just let your driving do the talking Fernando! None of the other drivers are talking about the rub of the green that you have had this year (finishing 3rd at Singapore as a result of Hamilton and Maldonado’s DNFs as a for instance)

      1. In the last couple of years, McLaren took every occasion to mention how Lewis BEAT the 2 time World Champion. Why shouldn’t Alonso speak his mind then? After all, all those guys who left McLaren were happy to do so.
        About racing incidents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnJGBjaYc8w
        It’s not only Ferrari who does it, no?

    15. Stewart can shut up about Schumacher. How exactly does a driver go about tarnishing his reputation by trying to make a success of it a second time round? He hasn’t tarnished anything in my mind and I appluad the guy for having the balls to come back and have a go against guys much younger than him and in a car that just wasn’t as good as promised. He could have sat on the sidelines and kept his statistics intact but he chose to take the gamble. It didn’t pay off but that’s certainly through no fault of his own.

      1. The Blade Runner (@)
        5th October 2012, 13:06

        Totally agree. It could also have been a much more successful period for Schumacher if it weren’t for reliability issues and sheer bad luck. A legend is a legend.

        1. Ok so then maybe some people should also shut up about MS being a great car developer, and the hardest working driver in F1. If he is to be touted as having had so much to do with his Ferraris being so good, then should he not also be blamed to some degree for the fact that the Merc is still a distant 5th in the WCC?

          So to me I understand your defence of him in that his return and how it has turned out has not tarnished his reputation, or at least it doesn’t diminish his numbers compiliation at Ferrari, but where’s the genius car developer when you need him?

          Personally I think his reputation has been tarnished in that I think he has shown how different it is to not have all the advantages he had at Ferrari, especially a teammate to not compete against him.

          1. The engineers develop the car, not the driver! Michael’s ability was to give inputs to the engineers. Dont forget that when he was successful, there was no restriction on the testing; now that there is no testing, the inputs might not be as precise as they were during ferrari.

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